High IQ's & Nerdy Romances. The New Jam

Release Date: November 21, 2017
Genre(s): Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher

The sequel to The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You, inspired by The Importance of Being Earnest.

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?

I received a copy courtesy of the publisher. This doesn't affect my opinion or views regarding the book whatsoever. 

I remember when I was growing up, there weren't too many of these novels out in the world. YA then, atleast what I read, was very white. There was little to no diversity, and if I wanted anything black, off to the Urban Fiction section I went. (Which was extra LIT btw.) But, 2017 is really showing out in publishing. Now we're seeing more representation for POC in books, which allows young readers to see that the world just isn't a bubble where everyone, and or everything is the same. It has especially been a come up for us black folk. I've added sooooo many books recently where the covers have black characters on them. Yes, black mf people yall. This is huge for me, for us. We've come a long way, and we still have ways to go, but atleast we have a start. Mine today being Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson.

I went into the story with pretty high expectations, and while I'm not necessarily disappointed, I will say that I came out looking for a bit more than what I received. The story follows our MC Elliot Gabaroche, (who's fabulously black) as she sneaks away from Cali to Oregon, to attend a decathlon-style camp for geniuses. There she embarks on a journey of self-discovery where she reinvents herself into Ever Lawrence, a new her with a new purpose. She navigates through the camp with new friends, a budding relationship, and a determination to win against all odds.

The concept of the competition was by far my favorite aspect. It was kinda reminiscent of the Hunger Games, where each stage was cut-throat and highly stressful, which caused some of the teens to either go home or just lose altogether. The goal was simple. Win the scholarship that will send one team on a full-ride to Rayevich, a prestigious college for the gifted. The games themselves to my surprise, were quite humorous. They included everything from Ancient History to pop culture, with tidbits of information you never even thought to think of. (That makes no sense but you get me) They came across in a sort of playful manner that kept the material from becoming info-dumpy, and while some of the questions went over my head, (me having an average IQ and all) it made things fun. I just wish the story focused more on the competition and not on Ever's relationship with Brandon the love interest.

As we all know, I live for a cute romance, but there was something off about Ever and Brandon that I couldn't exactly pinpoint. Their bond over all things nerdy was adorable, but for some reason, I wasn't too sold on them as a couple, or boo's since they weren't exactly bf/gf. I think this was partially due to the fact that I didn't connect with any of the characters, especially Ever like I thought I would. We had this whole squad, and yet their voices and personalities blended together like one big ball of play-doh. No one stood out more than the next person, which made it difficult to distinguish their ethnicities as well. A small let-down since many deemed this such a diverse novel. Anywho, the romance wasn't too genuine for me, but I definitely get the appeal.

In all, Not Now, Not Ever is a pretty solid read. Although I personally had some minor issues with it, Ever's experience to find herself, to learn and follow the path she wishes to take in life, and all the other major hurdles she's had to overcome, I feel, will resonate with so many young teens.

 Isn't that what's most important?