ARC Review: What Happens Now by Jennifer Castle

Book Blurb

"I know what it is to want something so badly, you feel like your cells aren’t properly bonded together without it.
I also know what it’s like to get that something.
And honestly, I’m still not sure which is worse..."

Ari Logan is battling to win her war against depression and the dark night she hurt herself on purpose. It’s not easy: her best friend is drifting away, her mom’s emotionally checked out, and she spends her days playing caregiver to her handful of a half-sister, Danielle. But it’s summer, and anything is possible...

That’s when Camden Armstrong steps onto the beach of Ari’s local swimming lake.

At first, Ari quietly longs for Camden from afar, seeing in him everything she wants to be. When the two discover a true connection the following summer, Ari lets herself fall not just for the quirky and self-assured Camden but also his friends, tumbling into their world of independence, adventure, and shared sci-fi fandom. As Ari’s romantic dreams come true, she must unlock the mysteries of the very real and troubled boy behind her infatuation, while also struggling with her own demons, obligations, and loyalties.

From the award-winning author of "The Beginning of After" and "You Look Different in Real Life," "What Happens Now" is a touching, insightful novel about learning to heal, learning to love, and what happens when fantasy becomes reality.

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Toot's Review by Stacy Sabala

Arianna is trying to heal from her incident.  Her physical scars are healed but she is finding her way.  So when she sees Camden that first summer and crushes but never speaks to him, she gets angry with herself.    The following summer she is determined to take the Possible idea and run with it.  She and her friend Kendall are determined to have fun this summer.
Ari has to fight her role in her family and the expectations.  She also has to build the courage to talk to Camden.  Of course that ends up being the most embarrassing way possible.  However it works and Ari is pulled into his circle of friends as she realizes they are fans of the same old sci-fi show she loves.  They decide to dress as the characters and recreate scenes of the show.
Ari grows closer to Camden.  He makes her braver and she starts taking more risks for the happiness she wants.  Of course nothing goes as planned and when reality sets in nothing is as it seems.  The summer turns to fall and life goes on.
I liked this book.  Ari was trying to make it through.  I wish she continued with the therapy.  She needed it to deal with her family life more than her depression.  In fact her mother needed it more than Ari did at several points in the book.  I have never wanted to strangle someone more.  Her mother made me angry more than anyone.  I hated her character.  I also didn’t like Camden’s mom.  They were both pretty selfish people.  The parents in this book pretty much sucked, even Richard to some extent.  No wonder these kids are messed up.

The summer romance was sweet at first, even when the sci-fi show aspect was not necessary to make the story but an okay part.  The group of friends seem to be exactly what she needs.  Then when things started falling apart I felt Ari’s frustration toward her mother.  I felt my own frustration toward her mother.  Then the situation between her and Camden literally made me cry.  I was surprised it felt this way toward this character.  I really bonded with Ari and felt strong emotions for her.  I give the author major props for this accomplishment.  I give this book a 4.5 out of 5.

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