Despite sending him letters ever since she was thirteen, Taliah Abdallat never thought she’d ever really meet Julian Oliver. But one day, while her mother is out of the country, the famed rock star from Staring Into the Abyss shows up on her doorstep. This makes sense – kinda – because Julian Oliver is Taliah’s father, even though her mother would never admit it to her.
Julian asks if Taliah if she will drop everything and go with him to his hometown of Oak Falls, Indiana, to meet his father – her grandfather – who is nearing the end of his life. Taliah, torn between betraying her mother’s trust and meeting the family she has never known, goes.
With her best friend Harlow by her side, Taliah embarks on a three-day journey to find out everything about her ‘father’ and her family. But Julian isn’t the father Taliah always hoped for, and revelations about her mother’s past are seriously shaking her foundation. Through all these new experiences, Taliah will have to find new ways to be true to herself, honoring her past and her future.
Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review of the book
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
I absolutely love books like these: contemporaries that you can just fly right through and leave feeling 10X happier than when you started. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of YA contemporaries and can easily see my 60-year-old self rereading the books that never failed to put a smile on my face.
I don’t know about you but I live for books where the MC learns that they’re the child of some famous or influential person. It’s so interesting to see the aftermath of such realization because it’s one thing to have an absentee parent come into your life but it’s a whole other thing when that parent is hella famous. So when I read the synopsis of Here We Are Now and saw that the protagonist, Taliah, has a father who is a famous musician I knew that this book would be awesome. I really liked seeing Taliah dealing with her father showing up on her doorstep and the subsequent events that occur. I do kind of find that the moment from him arriving on her doorstep to her leaving with him to visit his dying father is a tad bit quick and I would’ve appreciated just a little bit more apprehension. I am glad tha she brought along her best friend with her though because going with some stranger is never a smart move even if he is a celebrity.
I also really liked how we alternated between Taliah confronting her father about abandoning her while getting to know her father’s family and then her mother’s and father’s history. I loved learning about Taliah’s Mother’s experience as a Muslim immigrant and seeing her love story with Taliah’s father blossom. Honestly their story was so enrapturing and I was always looking forward to the flashbacks and I would totally be down for reading an entire book dedicated to them because they’re both really interesting and developed characters.
As I said before, I really appreciate the complex relationships that this book sets up between different characters such as the relationships between Taliah and her father, Taliah and her mother, Taliah and her best friend, and Taliah’s father and his father. Stories like these always provide the perfect backdrop for some really nuanced discussions and Warga did a really great job with crafting really complex and diverse characters. That being said my one qualm about one of the relationships is the one between Taliah’s and a friend of her father’s family, Toby. A YA contemporary is never truly complete without a love interest so Toby serves that purpose. While I love romantic subplots for the most part this one felt a little unnecessary and I would’ve prefered it if they had just remained friends, They did have pretty good chemistry for an insta-love type story but it’s too short of a time period for me to genuinely care about their romance. Not every contemporary needs a romance. That being said, this book was pretty short so if there was like 100 or more pages, and the romance would’ve been developed a little bit more I would have liked it a lot more.