Now That You’re Here: A Review

“A boy shows up at my door and sets off a series of events that shatters everything I understand about the universe.

“And my place in it.”

nowthatyourehereDanny has spent his entire life pushing back against the totalitarian restrictions his government has put in place to monitor citizens in the name of law and order. Sometimes that means putting up coded messages in graffiti on city walls. Danny knows that this kind of tagging is dangerous, but he’s also positive that this will be the last time.

Then everything blows up.

When Danny wakes up he is still himself. But not quite. Longer hair, less muscle, and definitely not on the run. Things get even weirder when Danny realizes he recognizes the girl sitting next to him.

Eevee is calm, collected, and knows exactly what she has to do to get the best grades to get into the best college and then get the best job. She doesn’t know anything about Danny or why he seems to think he knows her as anything more than a classmate. She also doesn’t know why this new version of Danny is making her question everything she thought she knew about her life.

Thrown together by the most unlikely of circumstances, Danny and Eevee will have to work together to get Danny back home to his own universe before time runs out in Now that You’re Here (2014) by Amy K. Nichols.

Now That You’re Here is Nichol’s first novel. It is also the first Duplexity book. The second novel, While You Were Gone, will be a mirror image of Now That You’re Here. It is slated for a 2015 release.

Told in alternating chapters by Eevee and Danny, Now That You’re Here is an interesting addition to the sub-genre of alternate universe stories. With action, romance and lots of science, this story is a great introduction to the world of YA science fiction as well as a dramatic story for anyone looking for their next impossible romance.

Nichols populates the story with quirky characters including Eevee’s parents and her best friend Warren. While Nichols makes several nods to diversity with a disabled parent (not seen in this novel but perhaps they will feature more largely in book two) as well as parents who were never marries. Both points were unbelievably welcome and refreshing. Unfortunately an entirely different character is revealed to have no lower legs with no references made to any concessions needed for such a disability (to the point that no one knew this character was disabled and they didn’t even use a cane) which lowered the entire effort to lip service more than actual mindful inclusion.

It’s difficult to judge Now That You’re Here on its own knowing that it is the first part of a duet. Ideally, many of the flaws in this novel will be smoothed over in the second volume. It seems likely that these stories are more a case of one book in two packages rather than two distinct stories. Nonetheless, readers only have one half of the story here which leaves many plot points to develop off page as Danny catches glimpses of his home universe and later explains what is happening to readers.

The development of Eevee and Danny’s relationship is similarly jarring as it lacks a basic foundation and instead escalates to all-out love very quickly. This abrupt shift in both characters’ feelings also makes for some very murky character motivation as the story progresses.

Set in present-day Arizona, Now That You’re Here offers tantalizing hints of an alternate history and what it’s like for Danny to live in his own universe. The dual-narrative structure also offers readers a very faceted view of the story that will likely expand even more when the companion novel is punished. This book is an obvious choice for readers looking for a sweet romance with a lot of action in any genre.

Possible Pairings: I Remember You by Cathleen Davitt Bell, In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody, Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, Two Summers by Aimee Friedman, A Crack in the Line by Michael Lawrence, Hourglass by Myra McEntire, Parallel by Lauren Miller, Fair Coin by E. C. Myers, The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood, The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski,  Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone, All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, Pivot Point by Kasie West

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