About Not Now, Not Ever
Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn’t going to do this summer.
1. She isn’t going to stay home in Sacramento, where she’d have to sit through her stepmother’s sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. She isn’t going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
3. And she certainly isn’t going to the Air Force summer program on her mother’s base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender’s Game, Ellie’s seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it’s much less Luke/Yoda/”feel the force,” and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn’t appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she’d be able to defeat afterwards.
What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she’s going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?
This summer’s going to be great.
I thought the connections between Not Now, Not Ever and The Importance of Being Earnest made this a super fun, unexpected story. Elliot’s struggle to figure out what to do with her future with regard to her family’s expectations for her definitely pulled me into the story. It wasn’t the most satisfying plot element, though.
Actually, I have to say I was pretty excited when I figured out that Brandon (if you read The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You, you’ll remember this guy!) had a pretty major role in this novel. I loved finding him in Not Now, Not Ever.
Lots of the characters have secrets of their own, which had me hooked. It seemed like every time I thought I pegged what was going to happen, some new layer emerged. That made for a fun reading experience for sure.
On the whole, I think I liked these characters better than The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You but prefer that plot over Not Now, Not Ever. Not to say I didn’t enjoy both—I totally did. Anderson delivers strong dialogue and banter with some really fun geek culture in both books. Fans of Cori McCarthy’s You Were Here and Anderson’s debut novel, The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You will want to add this one to reading lists.
Elliot is black. Her step-mom is white. She’s also from a family with very strong military traditions and feels pressured to join follow in that tradition after high school, despite her other dreams. Two of the boys in the summer program are gay and start a relationship.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used with moderate frequency.
Kissing between two boys and between a boy and girl. It’s implied that a boy and girl have had sex.
At one point Elliot drinks alcohol with a friend.