Tuesday, August 4, 2015
All We Have Is Now
All We Have Is Now is the story of two kids- Emerson and Vince- who have just over 24 hours before an asteroid strikes North America. Emerson has been living on the streets with Vince for some time, since she was kicked out by her mother. The two of them have survived, relying on each other, and have slowly started to have feelings for each other. When they encounter a man who does them a kindness, they decide to follow his example and pay it forward- and so they spend the next day helping others, as best they can.
This is an interesting book and I liked how the impending apocalypse was treated. The rioting and violence happened off screen and as the day approaches most people have hunkered down (those that haven't left, anyway) and are waiting for the end with family or whatever. Sure it's still dangerous, but this is an exploration of what's important, how people choose to spend their last moments, and how it can be to forgive or go back and face regrets. I thought it was mostly effective in doing that, and it's touching at times to see the difference one can make, when all seems lost.
The characters are compelling for the most part, although I thought Vince was a little one note, maybe too good to be true. Other than not wanting to talk about his past, he was so nice and kind of a goody- goody, which seemed a little unrealistic. Not to say he can't be nice because he lives on the streets, but I just didn't feel a connection to him- it seemed like he was there mainly to be Emerson's foil, the one who makes her think and inspires her to face her feelings. Emerson, on the other hand, is well drawn and we really get a sense of how hard it can be in a broken family, especially for a teen girl.
As the story progresses we revisit Carl, the man in the beginning who gave them another chance, so to speak, and we get to see how his story develops as the end nears, along with Emerson and Vince. The author has noted that she had some trepidation about how the ending would be received, but I think it ended well. This was a fine read, thought provoking- maybe a bit lightweight given the subject matter- and a quick read too, worth a read if you find the premise intriguing.