As Many Nows as I Can Get by Shana Youngdahl
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Thank you, Penguin Random House, for giving me a finished copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I never knew what to expect from David. Except that sooner or later he’d act like an ass.
Here’s a silly question: Do you like unlikeable characters? Character growth is always a significant factor when I write reviews, so books with intentionally frustrating protagonists can be quite tricky for me to critique. This literary debut surprised me; I didn’t expect it to deal with controversial topics such as abortion, drug abuse, and promiscuity. As much as I wanted to stay objective, my personal beliefs eclipsed my enjoyment and obliged me to judge the characters for their choices. Nonetheless, you can rest assured that this book has a few strong points.
As Many Nows as I Can Get is the love story of Scarlett and David, two physics nerds about to go their separate ways because of college. They start as friends but become lovers after Cody, Scarlett’s boyfriend, dumps her for inadvertently emasculating him. Scarlett doesn’t want to have a DTR talk with David because she refuses to start a long-distance relationship. Also, she thinks that David is very unstable and unreliable.
Even though the chapters were short, I couldn’t finish the book quickly. The characters went through a lot of things that either tugged at my heartstrings or ignited my temper. I had to put the book down several times to give my heart a break. There were some sweet and happy moments, but they weren’t enough to negate my stress.
Since Scarlett’s mom was sex-positive, Scarlett usually had no qualms about giving in to her desire for David (and Cody). She was confident that her hormonal rings would keep her safe. Sadly, she became too complacent. One moment of forgetfulness compromised her bright future. To make things worse, she didn’t know who was the father of her growing child. And guess what? She didn’t do anything about it. David, her “true love,” remained ignorant until the end. Scarlett’s parents also didn’t know that their daughter was pregnant. All of these things made me scratch my head in irritation.
I was neutral in regards to Scarlett’s decision to set up her baby for adoption. I understood that she was in no position to raise a child. To her credit, she carefully chose her baby’s future parents. I was so relieved that Scarlett didn’t have an abortion in spite of her pro-choice standpoint. If the baby had been a product of sexual assault, I would have felt differently. Man, this is such a sensitive topic, especially in today’s politically correct society.
David wasn’t likable, either. He was always stoned, and he never replied to Scarlett’s urgent texts. I hated how he left Scarlett alone for hours just to cross the border and sell drugs. Their trip to the Great Divide was less of a date and more of a ruse. So whenever something terrible happened to David, I felt apathetic.
To be fair, Scarlett and David were funny conversationalists. They could talk about physics or biology without boring their audience. As a fellow nerd and teacher’s pet, I also liked that they took their studies seriously and dreamt of joining the Ivy League. If anything, the protagonists were excellent students.
In essence, As Many Nows as I Can Get is predominantly for Liberal readers. If you’re looking for a love story with progressive ideologies, you might enjoy this daring debut. On the other hand, if you’re beliefs are more conservative, I encourage you to tread carefully.