Monday, September 04, 2017
REVIEW: Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga
It's such a wonderful book, this one. Taliah Abdallat gets the biggest surprise of her life when she opens the door one day to find Julian Oliver, rock star, standing in front of her house. It shouldn't be such a surprise: he is her father. She's just never met him before. But still she decides to get in the car with him and jet off on this long weekend to finally meet her dad and the rest of his family.
I love how this book is about family and identity and missing chances. But it's also about friendship and love, as we get a glimpse into Taliah's parents' early relationship and what led to Taliah not knowing her father at all. We see Taliah and Julian try to bond with each other as father and daughter. We see Julian struggle in saying goodbye to his dying father. It's all sorts of complicated family drama and I was here for all of it.
There's this lovely stream of music and music references throughout this story that I just really loved. From the music lyrics of some of Julian Oliver's songs to the idea of Taliah and her best friend Harlow making their own music together. Everyone's music influences being mentioned and explored. Despite having a pretty poor taste in music myself and having no musical talent whatsoever, I still find myself pulled like a magnet towards books involving music and Here We Are Now really satisfied that for me.
What I also really loved is getting into the skin of Taliah's mother, an immigrant from Jordan, and to really see how things were for her moving to the US for university. Being home-sick, juggling her parent's expectations with her own hopes and dreams. There was some really beautiful truths in this part of the story. I don't want to copy the text as the book I read from was an ARC and could be changed by the time the actual book is published but the main gist of it was that you have to want more, everything if you move halfway around the world, away from family and friends and your home, in order to find something else. That one small section of the story really struck a chord with me. I could really relate to that.
This book is also a book about second and third and fourth chances. In relationships, with family, in life. It seems everyone involved is sort of stuck on this idea that they'd messed up in the past or didn't do things as they probably should have. But there's no time like the present to make up for it. Here We Are Now.
I loved this book and highly recommend you look out for it in November!