Buh boom, buh boom.
My heart thrusts with a force that takes me by surprise. Telling me something I don’t understand. A splitting pain, a longing to slip back under. They tell me I was in a hit-and-run, but I can’t remember what happened that night. All I know is that I woke up with pictures in my pocket, a card from one of those photo booths in the mall. And I’m in the pictures. Cody Rush. Me and…
Her brother was there that night, and my dad, the FBI agent, was the one who put her mom behind bars. What’s the connection? And why won’t Julianna talk to me now? Somehow, she holds the key to it all, and getting close–real close—to her for the answers I need will be no hardship at all…
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Between Now & Never
By Laura Johnston
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2015 Laura Johnston
All rights reserved.
Being the son of an FBI agent sucks.
I'll admit there was a time when it used to be cool. All I wanted was to wear the suit. Flash the badge, catch bad guys, throw out words like "informant" and "counterintelligence" and wield a gun. All in a day's work. I used to pin that gold paper badge on with pride, the one Jimmy and I laminated in clear duct tape so it would hold together. Those were the good days.
I walk through the front door behind Vic, my newest friend in this new town. We're moving from Scottsdale to Gilbert next weekend, a difference of about thirty miles.
"Hey, bro," Vic calls out, already at the fridge, framing the open door with his jacked arms. After witnessing the way Vic held a ball in a gladiatorlike death grip during our basketball tournament this week, I quickly assumed he could crush a human skull in his palm.
I started playing club ball back in third grade and I've worked my butt off ever since. Meanwhile, Vic dribbled around city courts. If you know anything about Division 1 high school ball in Arizona, you've heard of Vic Schultz. The guy's a natural.
"Coke? Dew?" he asks.
"Anything cold," I say, wiping perspiration from my forehead and checking for any sign of central cooling in this apartment, townhouse, whatever it is. It's June in Gilbert, Arizona, and I swear these people don't have AC on.
My eyes catch a wall of pictures, some framed, a few not, and something catches my attention. I step closer. A younger version of Vic stands surrounded by family: a girl with glasses and some serious hair—his sister, I assume—and a dad with blue eyes who looks nothing like him. Vic takes after his mom, with dark skin, hair, and eyes. His mom.
I blink. Do a double take. I swear I've seen her before. Can't place her.
A can of Dew spirals toward me and I turn just in time.
Vic has already polished his off. He crushes the can in that grip of his and adds it to the stack of aluminum and other junk on the kitchen table. Wire, metal, and bottle caps. Heaped up like a pile of trash on the table. But it looks intentional. Arranged, even. Art is one thing I've never understood.
Vic catches my stare.
"That's cool," I lie. I pretend to analyze it, like I'm seeing a deeper meaning in the monument of trash. "It's kinda ... abstract, you know."
Vic lets out a whoop of laughter. Punches my arm. "You're such a bad liar."
I take this as an insult. I'm no habitual liar, but come on. This is a dis on my skills. I stare at the sculpture of crap again, standing tall and regarding it as though it was my own.
Vic's laughing smile dissolves into an amused smirk. "You're serious."
Vic cocks an eyebrow up, totally falling for it. Guess I'm not such a bad liar after all. He shakes his head and opens another can. "My dad's a sculptor. Total loony. At least this project comes with perks. An endless supply of soda. So long as I save the can."
"Thanks for this," I say, holding up my Dew.
"Nah, man," Vic says and waggles his eyebrows. "Thank me later tonight when we get a real drink at Connor's. We've got the hard stuff."
Vic is not my typical friend, that much I already knew. I'm the son of two ambitious and highly successful parents, raised to be an overachiever, if not a law-abiding citizen. My friends up in Scottsdale are the same. It goes without saying that no one wants to move to a new city—a new high school—the summer before their senior year, especially when it's their last chance to prove themselves to college scouts.
"Lakers or Heat?" Vic asks, shoving a pile of mail off the couch. He plops down and flips on the TV
"Either, or," he clarifies, as though I'm dumb. "Comprende ese?"
I chuckle at his slang term of endearment, esé, like I'm his Mexican homeboy. Vic is half Mexican. Green eyes and blondish hair make me about as white as they come. But that's what's so great about Vic. He treats everyone like his equal on and off the basketball court, which is saying something, considering he's number two on the Tribune's Top Boys' Hoops Prospects.
"I'm a Bulls fan," I say, remembering how loyal my little brother Jimmy was to the team of our childhood home. "Suns aren't bad either."
During our tournament in Vegas, a few of the guys on our team started joking about a homeless guy outside the burger spot where we were eating. One comment led to another, and eventually the guy hunched over outside begging for money was proclaimed a mentally retarded fag. "And he's got herpes," Shawn said, which earned a round of laughter from the guys in return.
Not Vic. While the other guys pitched a porn card from the street into the guy's hat, Vic—the big guy, the team's revered power forward—handed the guy an extra burger. I followed up with spare change from my pocket. No one else saw. They were distracted by the bright lights.
"Your dad sculpts," I state and glance around. Piles of junk cover counters, the smell of dirty dishes chokes the air, the guitar in the corner gathers dust, and the inside of the fridge is about empty. Details. Something I was taught to look for. "And your mom?"
I grab the guitar and blow on it, sending dust billowing up before I sit on the other couch. I take a swig of my drink.
"She's dead," Vic says.
I almost choke on the flood of Dew. "Sorry," I cough out.
Vic laughs. "Nah, man, I'm kidding. She's still kicking."
I'm usually good at reading people. Vic is an exception, and I don't like it one bit. I find an uncluttered corner of coffee table and set my drink down. Start strumming a tune.
"She's in prison," Vic offers.
I peel my eyes away from the guitar and focus on Vic. A minor chord teeters in the air as my fingers hover over the strings. I watch him, waiting for a crack in his façade. But Vic merely stares at the TV, avoiding eye contact like people do when masking how hard the truth is to admit.
Vic isn't lying.
The doorbell rings. Vic stands. "Jewel," he calls up the stairs after opening the door, "for you."
I scoot some stuff aside on the side table to reveal another picture of Vic's mom. I study it, searching for that hint of familiarity I saw earlier. At first, I figured she might be some parent I saw in passing at a local basketball tournament. Now I wonder, the idea of even partial recognition driving me crazy.
Someone runs down the stairs. I quickly slide everything back into place.
"Yeah, yeah," a girl says. Vic's sister, I assume. I tilt my head but can't quite glimpse her around the corner. "I'll take good care of Daisy and the puppies while you're gone."
The door closes and she whirls around. She's wearing cutoff shorts and a T-shirt, her hair in one of those buns girls wear. She looks like she's about to weed a garden or clean out a toilet. Still, she sucks my attention her way. There's something about a girl who can wear grunge and strut around with confidence regardless.
I find myself sitting up straighter.
"Victor Jonathan Schultz," she snaps. "Where is it?"
"Where's what?" Vic asks, his eyes settling on the TV with obvious disregard as he sinks back into the couch.
"You know what I'm talking about."
"No, drama queen, I don't."
"How original, Vic. Calling names. What are we, in junior high? Oh, yeah, you did fail eighth grade. And I've been stuck with you in my class ever since."
Vic is on his feet now, too. "Shut up, Julianna!"
"No!" she yells, impressively fearless at five foot five, maybe, at the mercy of Vic's six foot three. I've already sunk back into the couch, a bit intimidated myself. Of her, not Vic. "You stole forty-five dollars from my underwear drawer and I want it back. Now."
"I didn't steal your money or your panties, tramp; get your facts straight."
I sit in the middle of all this, wide eyes ping-ponging from Vic to his sister and back. I certainly haven't seen this side of Vic. Didn't imagine this side of his sister when she first walked in either.
I wisely keep my mouth shut as Julianna digs one hand into her hip, her elbow cocked out at a determined angle. "You didn't steal it, huh?"
"No, but now I know where to go looking if I need some."
Julianna shifts her jaw to one side and narrows her eyes. "'Fess up, Vic; it was you. Who else in our family is a lying thief?"
"Mom," Vic says.
Shock and rage tighten the small features of her face. That's when I notice her eyes—blue. A shocking contrast to her dark hair and golden tan. Something about her eyes reaches through me, puncturing all barriers. "How dare you," she says, her eyes glossing over. "Mom wouldn't even be ... be ... where she is if it weren't for you."
"Prison, Julianna. Just say it. Mom. Is. In. Prison."
"You shut up. You still think Mom's perfect. She stole hundreds of thousands—"
"Because of you," Julianna shouts over him.
Something kicks on inside me; shock for sure, and a gut instinct that launches my brain into action. Vic's mom, a convict. She stole money. Lots of it. And my dad works in white-collar crime. I dig through my mind for tidbits of her story. And that's the worst part. There s a good chance I might know it.
I fling a glance toward the door. Even if I could slip out discreetly—which I can't—I'm not sure I want to.
Vic's last name: Schultz. Dad always uses the offender's last name to identify his cases once they go public and he can tell us about them. The Miller case, the Baer case, the Howard case. I rake through my memory. The Schultz case?
"Well," Julianna says, jerking me out of the chaotic sea of thoughts. She buttons it up, an invisible mask hiding her emotions as she holds her chin high. "Don't forget to water Mom's lantanas. It's your turn. And don't miss any of the bushes."
Vic stands and puts on a mocking grin. "As you wish."
"And next time you come back from a tournament," Julianna calls after him, "don't leave a trail of gym socks all the way up the stairs. This place stank when I got home, stank!"
She turns to the mirror on the wall and whips something out of her purse. Standing on her toes, she puts mascara on her eyelashes. Vic mutters something, whispered curses that peter out as he slams the patio door behind him. Julianna finishes both sets of eyelashes before I consciously realize I haven't looked away.
She yanks out whatever is holding her hair up and it all tumbles down her back. I soak in everything about her. Her lips visible in the reflection of the mirror as she puckers to wipe some glossy pink stuff on. Her hair: long, dark, thick. It swooshes around as she straightens up. My eyes follow her hair all the way down her shoulders, down her back, and keep on traveling down toward those cutoff shorts until she spins around.
My eyes snap up.
I put on my best smile and offer a wave, a casual flick of the hand.
She snags her purse without so much as a glance my way and vanishes out the front door.
The water spigot outside lets out a high-pitched hum. I peek through the blinds. Vic sprays water at full blast from the hose onto the plants. Mud splashes up on the window. I seize the moment.
I slip my iPhone out and pull up the Arizona Republic news site. Type in Schultz.
Injured rock climber chooses to end life support.
Deadly crash in Phoenix, authorities report.
Too vague. I need a first name.
Dad's a bit of a fanatic when it comes to details. Always told us that having an eye for key facts is invaluable. "Open your eyes"—one of his favorite sayings, always delivered with a wink—"See everything."
My eyes settle on a magazine on the coffee table. I pluck it out of the mess and search for the addressee's name. Jonathan Schultz. Dang. Then I see it, a corner of leather visible beneath the pile. I shift things aside. Bingo. A wedding album.
I pull it from the pile, praying Vic doesn't pop his head in. Hoping Julianna doesn't dash back for something she forgot. I flip it open.
Jonathan and Sonia
I close the album and slip it back under, my heart hammering a guilty beat. Snooping. I can't believe I'm doing this.
My thumbs fly over my iPhone. Sonia Schultz.
This time, my query nails it.
Woman indicted on fraud charges. I scan the blurb. Sonia Ana Schultz. The hairs on my arms stand up as I take in the keywords. Arrested on charges of mortgage fraud. $300,000. FBI.
Clicking on the article link pulls up one last irrefutable piece of evidence: her picture.
I sit alone in the Schultzs' living room, like prey in a den with lions who haven't yet realized I'm not one of them.
The glass door slides open. I jolt.
"Hey, man," Vic says.
I close the article and sit back. Relax. Fake it.
Vic shuts the door behind him. "You ready to go?"
"Yeah," I say and stand, trying my best to smile. I slide my phone in my pocket, the image of that article seared in my memory, an article I've seen before.
I know Vic's mom all right. My dad put her behind bars.CHAPTER 2
The moment the door closes behind me, I feel it: less space, less sunshine, less air. Well, I'll admit: in Phoenix, Arizona, less sunshine this time of year is a good thing. But I hate this place. Hate it.
"Name?" the officer at the desk asks.
"Julianna Schultz," I say, folding my arms in front of me with every ounce of the Latina attitude I was brought up with. Makes me feel better somehow. I won't let this place give me the creeps. "I'm here to see my mother."
The officer raises a brow, looking past my shoulder. "And you, sir?"
I glance at my dad, his blue eyes, scruffy chin, and bean-pole figure.
I almost forgot he was here.
Dad steps forward and mumbles, "Jon Schultz."
Officer Pugmier clucks his tongue as he scans the approved visitor list. Not only do I recognize him from our last visit, I remember his name. I never imagined I'd know the inside details of prison like I do now. Pugmier stands and hoists up the belt at his hips with a grunt.
At least we're all uncomfortable to some degree. "Step over here."
We go through what's becoming "the usual." Pugmier checks my driver's license, which sports a dreadful picture of the old me. A lot can happen to a teenage girl in one year, and thank goodness. As I approach the metal detector, my heart races. Officer Pug watches me, stares. He, of course, is clueless about the nickname I've given him. Pug: it fits him, and it makes his stern face not quite so fearsome.
Pug clears his throat and I snap to, focusing on the detector ahead. I walk through without a beep, but Pug asks me step aside for a pat down.
"Don't worry," he says when I give him a pointed look. "It's a random search."
Why does this place make me feel like a criminal? I'm no angel, but I've never stolen, never cheated, nothing. Still, this place has my skin crawling. When my lovely pat down is over and I'm walking down the long hallway with no purse, no car keys, and no cell phone, I understand why. Even for a visitor, entering a prison means giving up a piece of your freedom.
The door opens and Dad hangs back. "I'm gonna grab something at the vending machine."
Good. I told him on the drive up that I wanted a moment alone with Mama. I know what I need to say. Even in prison, my mom is way easier to confide in than my dad. I sit and scoot closer to the table, the chair legs scraping the floor with a screeching echo. And then she walks in.
I pop back up, a myriad of emotions unfurling within me. The first genuine smile I've felt for weeks tugs the corners of my lips upward. Words evade us as she approaches the table. So not normal. My mother is Mexican, and I like to claim the same, even though I'm only half. She's everything to me.
She wraps her arms around me in a crushing embrace.
"Mama," I say, burying my face into her bony shoulder, hugging her back. Taking her in. Her dark hair, light brown eyes, warm smile, and her scent—like a fresh breath of air. Yet something is different. I pull back, then glance around. Excessive displays of affection are prohibited. One hug, one kiss, that's all. It's the craps.
We sit on opposite sides of the table. Normally, we'd kick back side by side on the living room couch for hours, exchanging stories and outbursts of laughter.
That's when I realize what's different: everything. I take in my mom's uniform, my gaze drifting down her baggy outfit before snapping back up. Mama notices.
"It's ugly as sin," she admits and then shrugs. "But really, it's not that bad."
I raise one brow, giving her a look that says otherwise. This earns a crack of laughter from her. At least I made her laugh. Mission one accomplished.
She leans forward and clasps my hands from across the table. Her nails have been chewed off. "Oh, mi joya, I have missed you."
How I've missed her—her voice, her rich accent. Mi joya is her own way of calling me her "jewel." Only Mama can call me that.
I bite back the crude words that would accurately describe how much the past three weeks without her have sucked, settling for a grin instead.
"I've missed you, too."
My eyes sweep the cinder-block-walled cafeteria, the fluorescent lighting making my eyes wig out. I blink, then glance down at the ratty edges of her nails again. "How's it going in here?" I ask, diving right into mission number two.
She doesn't budge, just glances away for a nanosecond and flashes a smile. "I can watch TV Read books. They have a library."
This breaks my heart, Mama looking for the positive. She's too optimistic, too sweet.
Excerpted from Between Now & Never by Laura Johnston. Copyright © 2015 Laura Johnston. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
First, lets talk about how amazing it is that a "clean" romance novel had my heart pounding like a drum on more than one occasion. It had me squeling and floundering around like a crazy woman. I absolutely loved the plot. It was unique, fast paced, realistic, and it had just the right amount of suspense and action to keep me on my toes. I really like how realistic it is, it's something you can imagine happening to you. Lot's of the challenges and ordeals the characters face are fairly relatable. This book will have you wondering "what would I do?", the best part is probably how I would have done the exact same thing if in their shoes. The characters underwent some major devolepment, especially Cody and Julianna. It was a great experience watching how the characters grew in their own special way. I was so proud of Cody when he forgived himself and learned to move on. Julianna gained so much of self- confidence throughout the book. When reading a book there's nothing better than "clicking" with the characters in the book. I feel like with this book I did so much more than that, my heart just broke at the hardships these teens like myself had to face. I loved the ending and how they pulled through and came out victors. I could read this book a hundred times and not get enough of it. I highly recommend it to everyone. Contemporary lover or not this book will change you.
Wow, another Free Fridays book that isn't actually free. What's the deal B&N?
1 - Trust your instincts. Stars. DNF @ 39%. I think if I am being honest, I kind of knew pretty early on that this book wasn't going to do it for me. The first 10% of the story gives you the reasons as to why Cody is in the place he is. So as a reader you are then reading from his and Juliana's POVs. What happens in the aftermath of the event he cannot remember, and how she is indirectly involved in it but doesn't actually know is the forefront of the story from then on. So they are both in the dark, both scrabbling for answers, and up to where I read, both of them had gotten absolutely nowhere, with that or with each other. I have been called 'picky' in the past, and I will happily hold my hands up to that adage when it comes to the basics, but as long as an author gives me a well written story, characters I can at least get along with, and a bit of steady development I am usually happy. But I am feeling nothing about any of it, and although the premise of this book is really good, it just hasn't worked for me in this instance. There is nothing wrong with the writing style, I just expect things to have moved on more in relation to page count, the book may have jumped two months after the first 10% but the characters and plot didn't. The connection between the two of them was flimsy at best and nothing really stood out enough to make me want to continue reading. ARC generously provided via Netgalley, I am sorry that I cannot offer a more positive review on this occasion.
Left the main characters hanging with what they are planning to do with the evidence......open ended endings are bad
This book made me scream in joy so many times . The story of Juliana and Cody seems like it out of a fairytail. Amazing story I will not be forgeting any tim soon. Puts a smile on your face. Perfect for teens who are looking for a clean romance book. Will defentily read again!!!!
I don't understand the positive reviews because this book was AWFUL! It made no sense and the characters were terrible. I gave it a good effort but dumped it after a few chapters. Thank goodness this waste of time was free!
There's something about young adult fiction written in first person that just sucks me right into the story! Between Now & Never is told from the two main characters' perspectives which rounds things out nicely. I'm not one for rich pretty boys (Julianna actually calls Cody that) but he is such a good guy, you can't help rooting for him. The dynamic between them is always shifting- going from the fact that she doesn't know he exists to developing an intense attraction for each other in one afternoon, only to have Cody lose his memory of that experience... not to mention the fact that Cody's FBI father arrested her beloved mother which keeps a wedge between them for a long time. I was surprised by how quickly Cody inadvertently finds himself in such danger (thanks to Julianna's brother Vic) but that forgotten experience is the foundation for the underlying tension throughout the novel. I was biting my nails since Julianna and Cody can't see the whole picture the way the author allows the reader to as the action comes to a climax! Other parts of the book I enjoyed were the way Julianna slowly bonded with Cody's mother and sisters, the way Cody made Julianna feel special (especially in contrast to her father and brother), and her courage and sacrifice to try to hold her family together. Highly recommend! I don't read as much YA as I used to but this is one author whose books I never pass up :) (Thank you to Kensington Books for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)
Between Now & Never is an enjoyable YA romance story with a suspenseful twist added into the mix. Author Laura Johnston weaves an intriguing tale set in Gilbert, Arizona, and written in the first person narrative that alternates between high school seniors Cody Rush and Julianna Schultz. The readers follow Cody and Julianna as their worlds unexpectedly collide, and they have to deal with family drama, romantic tension and angst, tragic pasts, and danger from drug dealers. Cody and his family recently moved from Scotsdale to Gilbert. He is a high school senior and star basketball player, who is one of the top college prospects. He befriends fellow high school basketball standout and top prospect Vic Schultz, but their friendship goes downhill when Cody realizes that his FBI agent father has put Vic's mother in prison for mortgage fraud, and Cody is unknowingly drawn into a drug deal by Vic, that results in Cody becoming involved in a hit-n-run, beaten up, and left in a sand storm by a couple of local drug dealers. When Cody awakens in the hospital with a fractured leg, he doesn't remember anything that happened to him that night. Cody sees a set of photo booth pictures of him and Vic's sister Julianna that was taken at the mall that fateful night, and he tries to get Julianna to help him piece together what happened to him, but Julianna won't have any of it when she discovers that it was Cody's father who was responsible for sending her mom to prison, and putting her family's life into a downward tailspin. As Cody and Julianna fight the obvious attraction they have for each other, Cody starts having flashbacks, while Julianna unknowingly holds the key to the answers that he seeks. Between Now & Never is more than just your usual YA romance story, it is a multi-layered tale that is full of intrigue, suspense, danger, and tragic family drama. The reader follows Cody and Julianna as their worlds unexpectedly collide and are drawn together by a set of circumstances that intertwines romance and danger as Cody tries to fill in the pieces to the puzzle of what happened to him, while Julianna is desperately trying to keep her family afloat since her mother was sent to prison. As their story unfolds, the reader gets a glimpse into their very different lives, and how their unexpected meeting brings to the surface their tragic pasts, family drama, secrets, and a dangerous run in with local drug dealers that puts them into some pretty rough situations, but it also brings an unlikely friendship and heartwarming romance. While the story slowly builds, it does at times get to be unnecessarily repetitive (by this I mean the numerous times that the reader is reminded that Cody's dad was responsible for busting Julianna's mom), but the intriguing twists and turns intertwined with teenage angst will have you forgetting that as it keeps you turning the pages and guessing what will happen next until the satisfying conclusion. Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review.
This is a very great book so far i like the people in the story they tell a lot about a relationship with a girlfriend or a boyfriend so you will know what each other likrs and do not like because if you both do not like the some thing then that can be ard too
Between Now and Nvever by Laura Johnston Enjoyed this read for many reasons: lots of mysteries, bit of romance and family life. Starts out with Cody, whose father is in the FBI, his mom is a caterer, and a sister. They lost his brother Jimmy and we get to hear about him during the novel. The book is also about Julianne. Her brother Vic is into drugs and his mother has gone to prison because of it. Her father dabbles in art, junk that he tries to sell as collages. With alternating chapters we find out about a drug deal gone bad when Cody has gone with Vic one night. That night leads him to get hit by a car, during a dust storm and he doesn't recall ever meeting Julianna. We get to follow their separate lifes and a combined one as she tutors him. He follows his career into basketball and she follows her into a beauty pageant-for her mother. Over time the clues come back to Cody as to what happened the night he got hit. With help from other he remembers more and that leads to her helping him and she didn't even realize it. Other excerpt from the author's next book is included. I received this book from The Kennsington Books in exchange for my honest review
Cody's father is an FBI agent who put Sonia Schultz behind bars for mortgage fraud. And Sonia just happens to be the mother of Vic, star basketball player and the only friend Cody has made in Gilbert, Arizona, the town he has just moved to for his Senior year of high school. And Vic just happens to have a beautiful sister called Julianna, who may just turn out to be the love of Cody's life. When Vic gets in trouble with some drug dealers who threaten his sister, Cody steps in to protect them both, putting his basketball career in jeopardy but pretty much sealing his fate with Julianna. Throw in a bubbly cheerleader with her eye on Cody, parents who don't want them together, an inability to express their feelings, drug dealers out for revenge, and the fact that Cody can't remember anything that happened the night they met - and Julianna and Cody have their work cut out for them. This story is entertaining but a bit repetitive, with a few too many misunderstandings and near-misses. Nevertheless, it's a sweet romance with thoroughly likable - albeit a little too perfect - main characters and dashes of humor and suspense. An enjoyable read.
I don't know exactly what I was expecting with Johnston's sophomore release, but Between Now & Never was much more than it. I should have known after loving her debut, Rewind To You, last year. Between Now & Never had a lot of tension, both in the usual romantic sense and in a more unusual danger/suspenseful sense. The two main characters were opposites in so many ways and there was a lot that their relationship had to bridge. There was everything I look for in a contemporary YA: tension, intrigue, depth, fully-fleshed characters and ones that I loved and connected with, an interesting plot, and romance that built while remaining sweet, but also bringing some sparks. Boy, were there sparks! Let me start off by saying that the plot was unexpected. It literally blew up and completely shocked me. I just wasn't quite prepared for it, but it was also amazing and handled so well. I felt so immersed in the story and in these characters with their thoughts and actions. The tension... I wasn't sure if I could hold in my screams. I mean run or do something or... Yeah. Definitely a roller-coaster of emotions with this one. Then things drastically change and there is a continual tension as everything builds up as Cody and Julianna (I love his nickname for her: Jules) begin to piece things together and become such great friends. The tension never really lets up because even when things are smooth for a little bit, questions lurked in the back of my mind about different characters and what would happen. I loved these characters! Cody is such a golden boy. I loved his humor, confidence, charm, strength, determination, but also his vulnerability. He has a fantastic family. They're not perfect, but they're tight. I also loved Julianna. She hides behind her spunk and fiery temper, but it's really her coping mechanism as she tries to deal with what life has handed her. Her family is pretty much falling apart and it was so tough to watch and not want it to get fixed. I was so proud of Vic at one point towards the end. Cody and Julianna just work. They hit it off and the chemistry is there and they fit. It felt so natural, but I loved, loved that they become such good friends and they hold off on anything romantic, which also just builds that tension. Between Now & Never was a story full of heartbreak, characters figuring out who they'll be, friendship, family, and a sweet and driven romance that brought out all of my emotions. If you enjoy reading contemporary YA then I'd highly recommend this one! I'd recommend it if you enjoy reading contemporary romance or women's fiction as well. Content: Clean. There was some violence and innuendo, but still clean. Source: From the author/publisher through NetGalley, which did not affect my review in any way.
I thought the story started alright but things just fell flat when Cody met with a 'hit-&-run' accident, broke his leg and lost a part of his memories, more specifically whatever that happened right before the 'accident'. The story became a little draggy as Cody tried to trace back his steps and find the bits & pieces of his memories back. He tried to get answers from Julianna who knew nothing about what happened. There was a lot of resistance coming from Julianna since there was just too much on her plate. With her mum in jail, her dad who is a struggling artist literally struggling to find buyers for his art and a brother who has addiction issues, one can't blame her for resenting Cody; not when it was Cody's father who put her mom in jail and tore her family apart. But as she spent more time with Cody and his family, they, with the exception of Cody's father, won her heart through their sincerity and warmth. This is a YA genre and despite the fact that it is not a book that gripped me, the story touches on courage and friendship. The ending was not as impactful as I'd like it to be but the characters are solid in their distinct POVs. Many thanks to Netgalley and Kensington Books for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Well Laura Johnston does it again! This book is fantastic. There are so many things I love about this book, but probably the number one thing is that it takes place in my hometown. It was so much fun to read this book, and know exactly where things were happening. I have shopped in the mall in the book, I have driven the streets she talks about, and even attended one of the High Schools in the book. It is so awesome. The characters in this book are wonderful. Cody, son of an FBI agent, and all around good guy. Julianna, daughter of a convict and a good girl, with messed up circumstances. This story is told from Cody's point of view and Julianna's point of view, and it is wonderful. Cody and Julianna come from two different worlds, and when their worlds collide it gets electric. Cody is involved in a hit and run, and looses his memory. The only "real" clue he has to what happened to him is a pack of pictures of him and a girl in a photo booth. Cody is in search of a tutor for his art class, and Julianna happens to be the girl who is his tutor. The unlikely friendship starts from there. It is wonderful. While trying to find the answers to what happened in his hit and run, Cody and Julianna's lives become intertwined more than they already were. Cody's memory starts to come back in flashes, and this is when it gets really exciting. Julianna's brother Vic is bad news, and he has something to do with Cody's memory loss. As the story unfolds it is so exciting. Drug deals, hit and run, drug dealers, hidden secrets, and a lost memory. This makes for such an exciting story, and it has romance to boot. Don't miss out on this great book. Johnston has become one of my favorite authors. Her writing is beautiful, and full of life.
I really loved this book! I fell in love with this author's writing style during her first book and she did not disappoint in this one. It's filled with young love, tragedy, and mystery. Cody is the son of the man who sent her mother to prison. Julianna is just trying to get through life, one day at a time. They should stay away from each other but the connection is too strong. This is definitely one you want on the must read list. I highly recommend it.