I had extremely high hopes from Here We Are Now. I had previously read My Heart and Other Dark Hole and enjoyed it. I expected nothing less from Jasmine Warga’s newest novel. Unfortunately, my expectations were not met.
I did not hate the book. It was good enough to not feel any buyer’s remorse. It was a touching story that wasn’t repetitive or frustrating. However, my main issue with the book is that it barely touches the surface. It hints at many complicated and intriguing character developments, themes, and internal struggles but never manages to explore them. If they are explored, it doesn’t offer a satisfying or full exploration of them.
For example, Tal’s mom struggled with keeping true to her culture or conforming to American standards in the flashbacks. That’s big deal and seemed like something that would have impacted Tal’s childhood and the decision to keep Tal’s existence hidden from her father.
By not driving exploring the character’s psyches fully, I felt a disconnect. Character motive’s felt weak and not real or raw. Why was Tal so upset that her best friend wasn’t around that much? How and why did Tal discover music? I have so many unanswered questions.
I expected this book to have a heavy emphasis on family. It mostly did. The story takes place in five days. It felt rushed, and didn’t allow time for the reader to develop an emotional connection to the characters or the story.
Instead, value time felt wasted on an unnecessary and uninteresting blooming relationship between Tal and the boy next door. The romance simply added nothing to the plot. Time could have been spent elsewhere.
I wanted more emotional bonding moments between Tal and her dad, Julian. Why did it take him so long to reach out to her? If it was explained, it was brief.
Here We Are Now almost got it right. It felt as if many important moments, character development, and explanations were ripped from the pages and only the skeleton was left.