Book Review: What Happens Now by Jennifer Castle

what happens now

What Happens Now

3 stars

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.

I went into this book thinking it would be a good choice for a heading into summer type of book. I wasn’t expecting it to be a complete fluffy read but still an easy read that would touch upon some heavier issues. In those ways, it was what I was expecting. What I wasn’t, was my lack of connection to the characters and the main romance of the book. There wasn’t a whole lot about any of it that pulled me right into the story. It was just happening.

I thought Ari was interesting at first. She was relied upon heavily by her parents to watch her little sister, to work at her step-father’s store, to help out around the house. She was also dealing with depression and trying to find a way to fit back into her life before the night she hurt herself. Her crush on Camden was a welcome distraction from everything but it felt like once Camden came into her life as a love interest instead of a crush, her story became more about hanging out with him and getting his friends to like her than it was about her overcoming her past.

There were some great relationship dynamics that were fun to read and I wish we’d gotten more of. The relationship between Ari and her step-father was one of my favourite things about this book. He seemed to get her in a way her mother didn’t and was willing to listen to Ari and give her chances to be a teenager. I mostly liked the friendship between Camden and his two best friends. They were fun together and I could see why they were friends. I did like that Ari’s best friend Kendall and Camden’s best friends, Eliza and Max, didn’t become forgotten the second Ari and Camden got together. The threesome and twosome melted into a fivesome that had problems and I was sure it wouldn’t work out but at least no one was getting shoved aside for the romance.

The ending seemed to be really fast. There were a lot of things to wrap up in not too many pages left to go so it felt like some things were a little glossed over so the major issues would have an ending. Overall, I’m sure I would have enjoyed it more if I’d gotten into the romance of the book but I enjoyed the dynamics and supporting characters.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Filed under book-related, books, reviews, talking books, ya books

2 responses to “Book Review: What Happens Now by Jennifer Castle

  1. Thanks for the review! I could be wrong, but my impression of this book is kinda that the main girl is “healed” by the romance and that really bothers me. Sometimes a romantic interest can assist a person in their healing process and it is a beautiful thing, but that just doesn’t sound like the case for this book. Like you said, the book becomes more focused on their relationship than her trying to overcome her past, and that just rubs me the wrong way. Still, wonderful review!

    – Lefty @ The Left-Handed Book Lover

  2. Pingback: Weekly Reading Recap | Overflowing Bookshelves

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