"To find out what a story's really about,' the Librarian said,

'you don't ask the writer. You ask the reader."

- SNOW & ROSE by Emily Winfield Martin

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Blog Tour: MY LIFE AFTER NOW by Jessica Verdi (Guest Post and Review)

Good morning! I have been looking forward to sharing my blog post today for the
MY LIFE AFTER NOW blog tour hosted by Sourcebooks Fire.
The author, Jessica Verdi, is stopping by today to discuss how she believes the musical themes of her books chapter titles ties the whole story and her love of musical theater together...

by Jessica Verdi
Expected release date: April 2nd, 2013
Published by: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Young Adult - Contemporary
Format read: eARC


Lucy just had the worst week ever. Seriously, mega bad. And suddenly, it's all too much—she wants out. Out of her house, out of her head, out of her life. She wants to be a whole new Lucy. So she does something the old Lucy would never dream of.

And now her life will never be the same. Now, how will she be able to have a boyfriend? What will she tell her friends? How will she face her family?

Now her life is completely different...every moment is a gift. Because now she might not have many moments left.


GUEST POST by Jessica Verdi

Thank you so much for the opportunity to write a guest post for your blog! I’m super psyched to get to talk a little bit about my new book My Life After Now.

To say I love musical theater is an understatement. I blast show tunes at all hours of the day and night, singing along at the top of my lungs — my neighbors must hate me. The bulk of my pre-writing years were spent on stage (and in NYC audition rooms). I’d always been into music (I sang and danced and played the violin from a pretty young age), but the moment I joined my high school drama club, I don’t know, something just clicked for me. Musical theater isn’t just about singing and dancing. It’s about emotion. It’s about telling a story that’s so big, so real, that words alone can’t contain it. No matter if it’s a drama or a comedy, the songs, belted out by a thirty-person chorus or a single actor under a spotlight, bring it all to another level.

When I set out to write My Life After Now, I knew I didn’t want my main character, Lucy, to be just a walking statistic. Like, she has HIV so that’s all we need to know about her. No, she needed to be a real person, with a very full life. And I also wanted to make sure I balanced out the darker moments of the story with lightness and joy. What better way to do that than to submerge Lucy in the world of theater? Throughout the book, Lucy is on stage, at auditions, studying her script, listening to show tunes, quoting plays, and so much more. The chapter titles are all titles of songs from musicals (“What I Did for Love, “It’s a Hard-Knock Life,” and so on) because I felt like if Lucy were describing the chapters in her life, well, that’s how she would do it.

Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you enjoy Lucy’s story!

A very big thank you to Jessica for stopping by today and sharing her love of the theater!
Also, a thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for allowing me to be a part of the tour.


 It was very clear to me from the start that Jessica Verdi did her research for MY LIFE AFTER NOW. This page-turner was eye-opening, full of compassion and knowledge...

Lucy seems to have the perfect life until she finds out that her boyfriend is cheated and wants to break up, and her estranged mother comes back into town with some shocking news. Before she lets herself spiral into emotions she doesn't want to deal with yet, she decides to grab her two best friends and head into NYC for a night of partying. What she didn't expect to do was to wake up the next morning in a strangers apartment not remembering how she got there or what exactly happened. So she decides to just put the one-night stand behind her and move on with her life.

Little does Lucy know that that one reckless night of 'fun' is going to have some serious consequences.

Jessica Verdi tackles some very hard topics, like teen sex, drinking and drug abuse. But an even harder topic that is rarely ever discussed, HIV and AIDS. And she definitely delivers with her knowledge and delivers a very believable main character. Lucy's reaction to the news and her determination to keep it all a secret from everyone, even her family, was heart-wrenching. It pained me to see her in so much fear, pain and denial. And Lucy's fear of rejection, of not being lovable anymore, her anger toward herself - all of these emotions bled through the pages. I wanted to reach into the book, grab her, and give her a hug and tell her that everything will be okay. No child should have to endure something so big alone.
I am happy with the way Lucy's story ended... it was a bit predictable, but it was what I wanted for her, and for everyone around her that loved her.  

And I have to point out that at first I did not understand the cover to this book. But after having time to reflect on Lucy's story... I like the symbolism behind the use of the red dress and the scenery completes it. I really like what they did with it and I love it.

This is a book that should be on every school library's shelf and used in Health Ed. It would definitely be an eye-opener for many teens, and their teachers and parents too. It is definitely a subject that should be addressed a lot more.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Jessica Verdi

 Jessica Verdi lives in Brooklyn, NY and received her MFA in Writing for Children from The New School. 

Her favorite pastimes include singing showtunes at the top of her lungs (much to her husband’s chagrin), watching cheesy TV, and scoring awesome non-leather shoes in a size 5. 

She’s still trying to figure out a way to put her uncanny ability to remember both song lyrics and the intricacies of vampire lore to good use.


  1. Oh wow.. this is a brave story to tell.. It's such a sad topic, but I understand that such stories need to be written, read and discussed! The problem I would have with this story is that never ever there would be a happy ending, which would make me insanely sad!

  2. Thank you so much for having me, Margie!


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