Now Is Everything

368p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Nov. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062495730.
Gr 9 Up—From the outside, 17-year-old Hadley's life seems perfect. She's the disciplined captain of the lacrosse team, in the running for salutatorian, and applying to the same Ivy League university that her dad attended. What nobody knows is that between her dad's brutal and uncompromising expectations and her mom's neglect, Hadley is barely keeping it together. The only good thing about her family is her vivacious little sister, Lila, whom Hadley will do anything to protect. Enter Charlie, Hadley's longtime crush. Without meaning to, the protagonist falls deeply in love, but leaning on her secret new boyfriend means leaning away from the sister who so desperately needs her protection from the violence of their family. Months later, Hadley is in the psychiatric ward of the hospital, the sole survivor of a plane crash that has destroyed her family. While she is tormented by the past and unsure how to live with her mistakes, a police investigation is circling ever closer to the truth. Hadley's increasingly complex story unfolds in alternating "then" and "now" chapters, creating a compelling mystery, which will hook curious, as well as reluctant, readers. Main and minor characters alike are fully fleshed and authentic, each with their own flaws. Unusual for angsty YA, the caring adults in Hadley's life sense there is something amiss and repeatedly reach out to offer her support.
VERDICT A must-have for collections where thrillers and realistic fiction are popular.

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