by Mollie Howard ’20
Amy Giles’ debut novel, “Now is Everything” is a contemporary young-adult work with beautifully developed characters and an expertly crafted plot that keeps readers on the edge of their seat. Readers follow Hadley McCauley, the main character, through the “then” and “now.” In the “now,” Hadley is recovering in the hospital after a tragic accident, but before she can get treatment, she tries to take her own life. No one has any idea why. In the “then,” Hadley is maneuvering the “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” violent tendencies of her father, and his control over the entire McCauley family, specifically over her life. In the midst of it all, Hadley also falls head-over-heels for “player” Charlie Simmons.
Upfront for the readers to know, Giles has an art to writing that stands out in the sea of literary cliches. “Now is Everything” has arms that draw you deep into the story. The arms crush in response to the father’s kick and the arms embrace when reacting to the warmth of Charlie’s love for Hadley. There’s an aspect to the novel that makes any reader want to sit it out until the very end, turning page after page, and there is the “then” and “now” alternating chapters that complement each other in a way that ties everything together.
The McCauleys resonate with the readers in a haunting way–the things they say and do seem so real. They appear to be the perfect family, but behind closed doors, there is chaos.
If readers want a quick read, this is it. Also, “Now is Everything” is a perfect choice for fans of contemporary best-selling author, Sarah Dessen.