Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson
Release Date: November 21st, 2017
The sequel to The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You, inspired by The Importance of Being Earnest.
Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn’t going to do this summer.
1. She isn’t going to stay home in Sacramento, where she’d have to sit through her stepmother’s sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. She isn’t going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
3. And she certainly isn’t going to the Air Force summer program on her mother’s base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender’s Game, Ellie’s seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it’s much less Luke/Yoda/”feel the force,” and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn’t appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she’d be able to defeat afterwards.
What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she’s going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?
This summer’s going to be great.
*I was provided an e-ARC of this book from the publisher – thanks so much for sending me over a copy!!*
I absolutely loved Anderson’s prior novel, The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You, which was a contemporary, geeky retelling of Much Ado About Nothing, one of my favorite classics ever. It featured a geeky Beatrice and Benedict in a genius school. It was so much fun and for a while, it hung out on my favorites shelf…until I kind of forgot everything about it? Well, good thing, I went and bought it after finishing this one because now I can refresh and perhaps get more excited with all the wonderful cameos from the other characters from the first.
What has not changed from the first book to the second is Anderson’s ability to write. She has showcased herself to be a retelling and contemporary genius with these two books, and I can’t wait to see what she does next (um, her new book slated for 2018 sounds amazing and is already chilling on my give it to me nowwwwwwwwww shelf). She’s witty, easy to read, and adds her retelling elements in so nicely and brilliantly.
Obviously, what I loved about this the most was the Importance of Being Earnest inclusion. Anderson did a wonderful job with including a lot of the elements infused in the novel with and without the reader knowing it. The Bunburying of Ever and her “new brother” was brilliant, and the first few chapters had me cracking up with all the little remarks about it. I was fangirling hardddddd.
I also loveddddd Ellie. She was so much fun, she was funny, and she was the perfect heroine for this story. The rest of the characters were a lot of fun, but Ellie was the brightest star of the bunch.
I did have two gripes in this book that did take away a bit of the enjoyment. The first was there was kind of two many characters? I kept getting lost with the characters and I’m like, ah, I have no clue who is supposed to be who. I kept getting lost, which is a pitfall of the camp setting.
The other issue was the pacing, which I thought went a bit too slow. And because it was going so slow, I kept getting confused. I felt this book was a bit too smart for me at times? I would just sit there going, but wait, I’m confused? And I’m not even sure why. I’m not even sure how to explain it. But the pacing really threw me off.
Overall, though, there were a lot of fun contemporary goodness in this book. Anderson does such a good job with the retelling, and she is a fantastic writer. However, there were just a few issues I had with this book to make it from being great. And if you’re going to read this one, I definitely recommend reading the first book because the cameos would make far more sense and I mean, it’s really good. 😉 And thank you, thank you, thank you for creating an Importance retelling, and I so hope that more of these will show up in YA in the future. Three crowns for this book, and a Belle rating!