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As Many Nows as I Can Get
Cover of As Many Nows as I Can Get
As Many Nows as I Can Get
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A Seventeen Best Book of the YearA New York Public Library Top Ten Best Book of the YearA Kirkus Best Book of the Year"A daring, inventive story about love and loss and longing, reminding us that every...
A Seventeen Best Book of the YearA New York Public Library Top Ten Best Book of the YearA Kirkus Best Book of the Year"A daring, inventive story about love and loss and longing, reminding us that every...
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  • A Seventeen Best Book of the Year
    A New York Public Library Top Ten Best Book of the Year
    A Kirkus Best Book of the Year
    "A daring, inventive story about love and loss and longing, reminding us that every choice can be a new chance. A dazzling, not-to-be-missed debut." —Kathleen Glasgow, author of Girl in Pieces

    In one impulsive moment the summer before they leave for college, overachievers Scarlett and David plunge into a brief and irresistible swirl of romance, particle physics, and questionable decisions.
    Scarlett and David have known each other all their lives in small-town Graceville, Colorado, where David is just another mountain in the background, until, one day, he is suddenly so much more than part of the landscape. Magnetic, spontaneous, David is a gravitational force. And Scarlett, pragmatic, wry, eye on the future, welcomes the pull he has on her even as she resists it.
    Moving between the present and the past, this is the story of a seemingly grounded girl who's pulled into a lightning-strike romance with an electric-charged boy, and the enormity of the aftermath. Smart, bold, and emotionally deep, Shana Youngdahl's debut explores grief, guilt, and reconciling who you think you need to be with the person you've been all along. It's an aching, transporting reminder that between the past that shapes us and the unknowable future, we have only the present to forgive ourselves and forge ahead.
    "A story you won't forget." —Huntley Fitzpatrick, author of My Life Next Door
    "Mystery...Heartbreak...Hope...Readers will not be able to put this one down."--SLJ
    "Vivid" —Seventeen.com
    "You'll speed read through [it]" —PopSugar
    "John Green-like, intelligent and peppered with witty repartee" —Booklist
    "Heartbreaking, exquisitely crafted" —Estelle Laure, author of This Raging Light
    "Deeply authentic...Marvelously complex...Readers shouldn't miss [it]"Kirkus, starred review
    "A complex, compassionately written love story"PW
    "A definite purchase and must read."—VOYA
    "Perfect." —Book Page

Excerpts-

  • From the cover

    Ten Months Ago, Early August

    Mine Gulch Bridge

  • Graceville, Colorado

    "I want to feel everything—what it's like to be that heron, or those clouds, and to jump off that bridge." David's eyes were steady as a bird's as he pointed upriver to where the old metal bridge glinted in the late afternoon sun. I smiled. I'd known people who'd jumped from it, but I'd never considered it. Too risky. Yet, in that moment, feeling like I could control the earth's rotation, I grabbed David's hand and we ran. Behind us we heard the others emerging from the forest to stack firewood on the sand. David pulled up on the guardrails, and steadied himself on a piling. I climbed up next to him. My bare toes gripped the railing as I swayed. David reached for me. Our fists laced together above the water.

    "Ready?" he said. I wasn't. But he'd already stepped into the air, so a millisecond behind him, I stepped off the bridge.

    Now

    Leaving Albany, New York

    I don't remember meeting David Warren. That's just part of growing up in a small town—some people are part of the landscape from the beginning. For many of them, this mountain-in-the-background or oak-tree-in-the-front-yard kind of permanence is just fine, unquestionable. There's little change in their location relative to you, and they travel at predictable speeds. Hannah—my best friend from before I can remember—is like that, dependable like an oak in the front yard, always there. From the time we could toddle we were together: in the preschool sandbox; holding hands on our first day of elementary school; in fourth grade, exploring the trails behind my house and pretending the lookout bench was a one-room school; by middle school, taking cookies to our blue-haired ladies at Christmas. I have no first memory of Hannah, but that doesn't matter. She was at every birthday party from one to eighteen. We grew together until it was time to part, and I left her standing in my front yard certain she'd be waiting there when I returned.

    Still, there isn't anything I could conjure from the dry mountain landscape of Graceville, Colorado, that might explain my friendship with David Warren. And so not remembering how I met him is like a black hole.

    I asked my mom if she knew when I met David. I was hoping for some story like how we were kids at the park and he knocked me down with a hug but then threw sand in my eye, but Mom said she met his parents in childbirth class.

    My roommate, Mina, thinks life in utero is like being behind a curtain, and that babies actually learn much more about the outside world than we give them credit for. She says this is why newborns turn their heads toward their mothers' voices seconds out of the womb. Mina is probably right about this because she's nerdy about things like developmental psych. It makes me wonder if David and I could have been communicating even then.

    I bet he called out to me at those birthing classes:

    "Hey! Scarlett! Does that breathing calm you?"

    And I answered in the secret language of those not-yet-born, "I get more room to kick when she exhales."

    David laughed. "Ah, getting cramped in there?"

    "Of course! What about you?"

    "I can't wait to get out," he said, and elbowed his mother's uterine wall for emphasis.

    "Yeah, me too."

    That's it. That's how I met David Warren. Both of us in utero, cramped as hell, waiting for the right time to drop into position, to escape.

    Now

    Approaching the Pennsylvania State Line

    Einstein rocked our conception of the universe because he proved time is not static experience. In other words,...

About the Author-

  • Shana Youngdahl is a poet, professor, and fiction writer. She holds a BA from Mills College and an MFA in Poetry from the University of Minnesota. Shana teaches First-Year Writing at the University of Maine-Farmington and co-directs the Longfellow Mountains Young Writers Workshop. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Maine.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 3, 2019
    Embracing Einstein’s theories of time, debut author Youngdahl offers a complex, compassionately written love story about a freshman college student whose past is very much a part of her present. When the novel opens, native Coloradan Scarlett’s “now” involves a cross-country road trip with college roommate Mina from their school in Maine to California. But Scarlett’s focus keeps looping backward to other “nows,” which focus on her ex-lover David, whose magnetism and increased dependence on drugs drew her to dangerous places the summer after high school graduation. Since then, her obsession with David and their shared passion has affected almost every aspect of her life, causing her to become a distraught, isolated physics student, until level-headed Mina brings Scarlett out of her shell and helps her make perhaps the most important decision of her life. Told nonchronologically and in the first person, Scarlett’s story includes many familiar yet relevant topics, including sexism, drug use, college stress, and ill-fated infatuations. If the book seems overloaded with issues, Scarlett remains a solid, convincing character—although Mina, perhaps the true hero of the story, is disappointingly underdeveloped. Yougdahl’s keen understanding of teen emotions and reactions adds credibility to her story, though, as does her interesting experimentation with structure. Ages 14–up. Agent: Elizabeth Bewley, Sterling Lord Literistic.

  • AudioFile Magazine Narrator Annie Q's voice breathes life into the characters of this YA debut. The main character, Scarlett, jumps between events that happen over the course of high school and those that take place on a cross-country road trip during the summer after her freshman year of college. She unfolds her story only as quickly as she is willing to share it, leaving listeners hanging on every word to figure out what might happen next. With the nonlinear plot, it would be easy for listeners to lose track of the narrative thread, but guided by Annie Q's use of inflection and tone to distinguish Scarlett at various points in time, the audience is never questioning where they are in the story or how all the pieces fall together. S.H. � AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine

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