The Possibility of Now

The Possibility of Now

by Kim Culbertson


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781338134711
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 03/28/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 1,227,882
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Kim Culbertson is the author of The Possibility of Now; Catch a Falling Star; Instructions for a Broken Heart, a Northern California Book Award winner; and Songs for a Teenage Nomad. She lives in Northern California with her husband and daughter, her favorite travel companions. For more about Kim, visit

Read an Excerpt

My thing has always been my academics–-the tests and essays and the 100 books you're supposed to read before you graduate from high school (3 different lists cross-checked and compiled into a list of 216 books of which I still need to read 47). I have only, ever, gotten As. My goal: to be the Ranfield valedictorian. So what happens when you devote your whole self to a goal, you give your best self, but still fall short of it? I couldn't possibly have worked harder than I did, not and actually sleep, so that's not it. People think it comes easily for me, but it doesn't. I work my butt off for my grades. I stay up late every night, spend every weekend studying, no exceptions. I have taken schoolwork on every family vacation since I started high school. If I'm not playing tennis or sitting in class or going to choir rehearsal or eating dinner with my family, I'm working on school because I don't know how to want anything else. Be anything else. And then I had a very bad day and all that changed. I fell flat on my YouTube-viral-video-worthy face. So it's occurred to me in these last few weeks that somewhere along the line, I may have been given faulty information. Apparently, you can do your best and not achieve your goal. Turns out, you can't do anything just because you set your mind to it. Which changes things, doesn't it?

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The Possibility of Now 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
LBReviews More than 1 year ago
The Possibility of Now is a refreshing take on bullying and building a sense of self. Readers of John Green and Rainbow Rowell would connect to the breezy dialogue and haunted protagonist, Mara, who is set to be valedictorian and top student at an elite private school. The pressure of always being “on” gets to Mara, and she breaks down in Calculus. Unfortunately, someone films her “tantrum” and posts it online where it goes viral and makes remaining at school too painful for Mara to contemplate. She decides to leave California and live with her estranged father in order to find herself again. The context of cyberbullying over an action born of anxiety and exhaustion is what makes this story different. It’s not focused on a “dumb decision” like getting caught at a college party when underage, so the mortification and shame Mara experiences in rooted in something frequently shared by all students who want to do well in school. Mara’s junior-year crash is just more severe than usual. When living with her father, Mara meets a cast of characters who fulfill different roles in helping her see the world as more than just a platform to get into a top college. She discovers aspects of herself that surprise her, like sports ability and a desire to have fun. Typical for a young adult novel, there is a love triangle that is not entirely necessary or fleshed out, but since it’s basically an expected component, it doesn’t take away from Mara’s overall journey and doesn’t become the pivotal thread for her development. It’s more a side plot than anything else. If contemporary young adult fiction is your chosen genre, The Possibility of Now is definitely a top read, and its list-making framework leaves a memorable stamp long after the final page is over.
RebeccaEsk More than 1 year ago
The overwhelming pressure of high school, middle school, sometimes even elementary school, has teenagers spiraling toward a mental breakdown long before the post-college quarter-life crisis. THE POSSIBILITY OF NOW captures teenage anxiety perfectly (but not too perfectly—that would be stressful and exhausting to read!). I loved reading Mara’s point of view as she takes a step back from her high pressure private school life to live with her estranged father in Tahoe. Spending actual time with her father Trick and meeting new people is also, of course, anxiety inducing, but the people and the environment in Tahoe allow Mara to slow down and see that there are many ways of living outside of the walls of her prestigious school. Life in Tahoe isn’t all snowflakes and sunshine, though, and it was humbling to see—through Mara—that even people in the most stereotypically “relaxing” places can have their own troubles. Isabel, with her affinity for schoolwork and Olympic-ready skiing, is almost who Mara could have been if her mother hadn’t moved them out of Tahoe. Like Mara, Isabel doesn’t relax all that easily. On the flip side, semi-romantic interest Beck struggles with his inability to please his father, and Beck has convinced himself that school and skiing are useless wastes of time. Both characters helped Mara—and me, as the reader—learn quite a bit about how much effort is enough, and how much is too much. Slowing down doesn’t mean giving up, and no one is really paying attention to your mistakes anyway. Full of lists, skiing, and an endearing cast of characters, THE POSSIBILITY OF NOW is such an enjoyable read, especially for someone who has a hard time stepping back from the pressures of life.
vampiregrl123 More than 1 year ago
Thank you to Nori from ReadWriteLove28/the Sunday Street Team, Point, and Edelweiss for providing me with an ARC for an honest review. I didn’t expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. It was such a welcoming change from the fantasy novels that I normally read. Honestly, I loved this novel. I mean, look at Mara’s situation. She’s a seriously smart girl going to an elite high school. She’s under a huge amount of pressure to do more than her best at everything. One day she realizes that all of her hard work could possibly mean nothing because who needs calculus in the real world anyway? She cracks and has a complete meltdown in the middle of a calculus exam. She doesn’t just get up and walk out like I probably would have. Oh no. She rips up every single test in the room screaming about how none of it actually matters. Like most high school students would, someone records her freak out and it goes viral on the Internet. I think that most readers will be able to relate to Mara. There is so much pressure on students to do more than their best in school so that hopefully one day they can get that job that will pay all their bills. Schools and teachers put so much emphasis on getting good grades and being successful that they don’t stop to think how it is actually affecting the students. It’s no surprise that Mara cracks. I have had more than my fair share of meltdowns due to stress and anxiety from school. At the beginning of the novel, we find out that Mara has made a split second decision to go and move in with her biological father, Trick, in Tahoe. She has been going to therapy since she has been out of school. She is keeping lists in a binder that she carries around. I love this about her. At any given moment I have between 2-3 lists with me, whether it is for my blog or for school. She keeps hers almost as a set of goals that she wants to complete before going back to school. Her high school is allowing her to complete her coursework online, which is why she is going to Tahoe. When she gets there she finds that life isn’t what she expected it to be. She finds herself surrounded be high school students. Within the first week of being there she makes friends with teenagers that she finds out she was supposed to have grown up with. Two of the friends Mara makes she starts to have a romantic interest in. Throughout the story she finds herself confused about the two boys. I enjoyed the way that Culbertson wrote about her love interests. The confusion that Mara feels is realistic and relatable. Most high school students will be able to understand this confusion because in the short four years we have in high school we go through many different love interests. I know that I have had crushes on multiple boys at the same time and have felt lost at what to do about my feelings. Throughout the novel we see Mara go through a change in personality. She is in Tahoe to figure out who she is after her “incident”. She came to Tahoe as a straight A, super smart girl who knew what she wanted and went after it. She was an overachiever who went above and beyond the work she had to get done. While in Tahoe she learns, with the help of her new friends, that she doesn’t have to work as hard as she has been. She learns that it is okay not to get the best grades. She lets herself relax a bit and discovers that she can actually enjoy life if she wants to. I highly recommend this novel to all contemporary lovers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is touching and amazing . There is truth in ever chapter. This is the story thag can change how you think of those kids who seem to have it all planed out. You will never see them as the same again . Read it and weap ;,) :)
Liz_Blackmer More than 1 year ago
In my opinion, The Possibility of Now needs to be read by anyone who feels like they are on the brink of losing control of themselves. The story’s protagonist, Mara James, thinks she has control of her life until a math test is put in front of her. She finally breaks under the pressure of school and issues of the whole world, and tears tests apart as she leaves the classroom. Unfortunately, someone records the whole thing, and she can’t stand the idea of facing the students she broke down in front of. She also starts to question her own achievements and the purpose behind it all. Despite her mother’s attempts at convincing her otherwise, Mara decides she wants to live with her estranged father in Tahoe. While there, she makes new friends, and learns the truth about what happened between her and her father, and her own background that she never knew. The Possibility of Now shows that sometimes just a change in location and perspective sheds light on one’s life in a different way. Is The Possibility of Now the most exciting book in the world? No, but sometimes a book doesn’t need to have excitement to be excellent. What this book does is that it talks about handling something everyone faces at some point in their life, which is stress, and what many people contemplate in their lives, which is “Why” or “What’s the point?” With both characters to love and characters to detest, dialogue that, though simple, is believable, lessons that speak to every female young adult (sorry, I don’t see a lot of guys being interested in this book), and Mara’s funny lists, The Possibility of Now by Kim Culbertson is a joy to read, and I would definitely suggest it to anyone who feels stressed with school and/or just life in general.
Alexis-Elise More than 1 year ago
I am unfamiliar with Culbertson’s other books, but “The Possibility of Now” inspires me to check them out. This book presents us with strong life lessons that are unaffected by age, as complex as relevant, and are completely universal to all readers. We should 1) Be brave, 2) Never give up, 3) Learn to focus on what is best for ourselves, amongst other themes. Our protagonist, Mara, from San Diego, moves to Squaw Valley to live with her father, Trick Hale, after a humiliating video of her having a total meltdown in Calculus goes viral on Youtube. She leaves her prestigious school and scheduled life for a less aggressive, free-reign lifestyle in Squaw. There, she gets to challenge herself athletically (skiing), mentally (by staying atop homework assignments via an online portal), and socially (becoming a part of a world unbeknownst to her and making new friends). Each character we come across, as Mara grows to know them, challenges or enriches Mara’s philosophies. Trick reminds us that life is to be experienced, not just lived to “be good at it.” Isabel shows us that you can balance school and your personal goals, successfully, without one coming before the other. Beck is our story’s second debbie-downer, (Mara being the first); he informs Mara that school is just black and white, and to learn the gray area, you need to experience and self-educate (even if his choices aren't always the best). Oli is our grandfather of wisdom, reminding us to find peace in nature and appreciate the small things. Lastly, Logan is the boy every girls wants, and teaches Mara that there is more to life than to-do lists, like enjoying your friends, appreciating books, making your own decisions, and following your heart [By the way, the love triangle doesn’t do much for me. I agree with other reviews that it ends before it starts, barely giving us a chance to make our own decision on which boy is worth chasing.] I definitely have to admit that a book that takes us on ski breaks is not one I would usually enjoy, but “The Possibility of Now” managed to make an exception for me. However, I will say that I was surprised of just how frequently Mara completely ignored her other “life requirements” to do so. Regardless, I was drawn to this book, refusing to put it down until I finished. Mara is as convincing as she is troubled, and although she doesn’t necessarily get her way in the end, she managed to be brave and embark on her own journey. The experiences she faced are hauntingly present in our own lives and it’s nice to see these woven effectively in story. 4.5 stars from me!
Lisa_Calcasola More than 1 year ago
Mara James has always lived her life planning for the future. Sure, the pressures of her elite high school are demanding and five hours of sleep aren’t ideal, but Mara can handle it – until she can’t. Until she has a little breakdown that forces her to move up the coast of California, leaving her sunny San Diego home and her perfectionist mother to live with her mysterious ski-bum dad in snowy Lake Tahoe. For the first time in her life, Mara is plan-less, but she’s determined as ever to try Living in the Now. But what does the Now even mean? As Mara learns to relax for the first time in the quiet, charming ski-Village of Neverland, she learns that, for all the external praise and great grades she's received, there’s still a world of things she doesn’t know. Like how to ski (though it’s a work in progress), or how to talk with cute boys, or how to relate to a father she once knew. But just when Tahoe begins to feel like something more than temporary, new complications arise, and Mara must make a choice: between staying and leaving, between the girl she used to be or the girl she is now. But is it possible to be both? Part city-meets-country, part philosophical pondering, and always hilarious, Culbertson crafts a wonderful story about a young girl trying to decide what is most important in life, and what it truly means to be free.