Thursday, July 23, 2015

All We Have Is Now (2015)

All We Have Is Now. Lisa Schroeder. 2015. Scholastic. 272 pages. [Source: Review copy]

No one saw it coming. Because this particular cosmic death star came from the direction of the sun, we were blind.

Did I love All We Have Is Now? Yes and no. If you're asking if it is a perfect read, then the answer is no. Yet there was something about it that kept me reading. Here's the premise, Emerson and Vince are two homeless teens on the streets getting by--barely--when the news comes in that the world is ending. Now everyone--including our two teens--are having to deal with life issues in a hurry. How will they spend their last two days? What will they learn about themselves? about each other? about humanity? life?

If you only give the book a few chapters--or a few pages--then you'll come to the wrong conclusion about what kind of book this is. For the simple reason that at first, these two decide they do not want to wait to die, that waiting would be torturous, that it would be better to decide when and where and how they'll die. So they make a plan to commit suicide together. This doesn't happen. For the two meet Carl, an older man, who has spent the past few days helping others and making other people's dreams come true. Inspired, Emerson and Vince take on a new mission: how many people can they meet in their last days? how many dreams can they help come true?

Emerson and Vince are best, best friends. Vince is in love with Emerson, though she does have some issues. And Emerson is beginning to think that she's been wrong to keep Vince as only a friend. He is so much more than her best friend. But now time is against her. She's brave enough to face the end of the world perhaps so long as he is with her. But one of Vince's dreams is to make sure Emerson doesn't have any regrets at all before she dies...

The book is emotional and compelling. It is very sweet at times, very romantic. But I'm just not sure about the ending--the epilogue. I'm not sure it fits with the rest of the book and what it all means. But I thought there were some beautifully written scenes in this one. Most of this one is written in prose, but, some chapters are in verse.

It's like a song that
pulls you in and
fills you up
and gives you what
you didn't even know
you needed until
the sounds, the melody,
and the voices
wash away the pain.
They have each other,
and it's all they need.
A new single,
headed for the top
of the charts. (129)

The best kind of days
are the ones that make
you feel like you are living
inside a kaleidoscope,
twirling and swirling
with dazzling joy.
It doesn't happen often.
But when it does,
you hold on tight and
wish for the delight to
go on
and on
and on.
Forever. (156)

What I really appreciated about this one was the characterization. I loved getting to know Emerson and Vince. And I love following Carl's story as well.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Ms. Yingling said...

Just sounded too sad. I prefer Schroeder's middle grade books to her YA, I think.

Jordan's Red Pen said...

I didn't even know this book existed but now I think I need to read it! The varying between prose and poetry sounds really interesting, and the samples you posted are just beautiful. This is going on my "to read" list on Goodreads for sure.