Cover Image: I Am Here Now

I Am Here Now

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Member Reviews

I Am Here Now By Barbara Bottner is the story of Maise and how she navigates her lonely home life with an absentee dad and an abusive mom. That is until she makes a friend at school and starts to see that family can be very different in different homes. Through her art Maise begins to express herself. Soon she is taking chances that just may destroy the friendship she has built. Read I Am Here Now to see just how Maise changes her world.
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I liked the format, however I didn't find myself liking any of the characters. I got about a quarter of the way through and after the multiple typos and poorly plotted story, I found myself bored and uninterested. 

Our narrator Maisie is a girl about to start high school and that's essentially all we see. She's deeply lonely and surrounded by abuse.  Maisie isn't an active character though and seems to let everything pass her by. There's no motivation for her and she doesn't really connect with any of the other characters.

The neighbor she was friends with was interesting, especially with the resemblance between their home lives, but he was again a very passive character. He didn't add much to the story and I could already guess where his plot line was going to go.

It really could have used another edit as well since there were several typos throughout the book and I only read the first 19% before I lost interest. I really wanted to like this but it just didn't grab me or make me want to finish it.
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I just could not get into this book. I am not sure if it is because it takes place in the past or because of how the verses are set up. i tend to like books in verse but this one just did not do it for me so I sadly DNF'd it. 

I think a lot of other people would enjoy this book, but for me it just was not one that I enjoyed.
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A hard life told emotionally and evocatively through verse, this book definitely puts the reader through the ringer, but it's worth it for the beautiful pay off.
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This was a tough read with tough topics, not easy to read it.Maisie Meyers is the troubled, talented fifteen-year-old.This is a very character-driven story, and I can't say that I liked the main character even though I find myself connecting to her a little bit I can't say she was a likeable heroine.The main plot is Maisie meeting Rachel at school, and becoming enamored with both Rachel and her artist mom and finding that she herself is quite interested in art.There are complex characters and the set up felt good.
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I really wanted to like this book ..... and I was very intrigued by the subject and premise.  But I just couldn't get into the "poetry" format -- it totally threw me off.
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I Am Here Now by Barbara Bottner was a tough book to read. While I enjoyed the free verse style, the content was dark and likely will be triggering for many of my students. That said, I appreciated the honesty of the character and her ability to express herself on the page.
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SO GOOD. I really loved this. Lyrical, amazing just really really good. appropriate for ages 12+

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I enjoyed this story. I think how it was written in verse didn't work. I usually love stories written in verse. Though I did like this one, I didn't love it. It gets a four star rating. 
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This journey of a young woman in the 1960s that comes from an abusive home and starts at a new school is a great read.  The woman's coming of age while struggling to figure out where she fits in is relatable.
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Written in verse, Barbara Bottner takes readers back to the sixties where Maisie is figuring out life as a teenager and seeking that love she rarely receives at home. Readers will find themselves taken on a journey of ups and downs and may even learn a thing or two along the way.

With the novel written in this format, it’s a quick read, but it sees our main character Maisie deal with a lot of issues. Her mother, Judith, hardly shows adoration toward her so she leans toward her father more for the love she’s searching for. Her best friend, Ritchie, also faces a similar problem where his dad is abusive. The plot flowed gradually with Maisie meeting Rachel, her profound best friend who in her eyes, lives the ideal life. Rachel’s parents are intimate and her mother, Kiki, is an artist like her. The family welcomes her with open arms and any child who doesn’t receive a great amount of attention at home would adhere to it someplace else. 

The writing itself is raw and it will draw in readers of all ages. Readers a bit older than Maisie, like myself, can reflect back on the first experiences she faces. There are many quotes that will probably stick with readers like they did with me! When I noticed that it was written in verse, I though it wouldn’t be as appealing, but I was wrong. Bottner provides enough information for readers to understand Maisie and what she’s going through yet not too much so that we can make our own judgement. 

Maisie herself is a complex character and at times readers will feel empathetic, while other times they’ll get frustrated like myself because of the decisions Maisie has made. Yet I reminded myself what Maisie was going through and why she did because of her impulses. There was little character development with her, I’d say I only noticed it towards the end. However, that makes Maisie all the more genuine! 

When Rachel gets a boyfriend, Maisie feels a sense of detachment from Rachel. She also becomes jealous at times and wishes for a boyfriend herself. Maisie does make rash decisions that divides her friendship with Rachel and she distances herself from Ritchie who has to fend for himself when his father gets out of control. At one point, Rachel becomes aggravated that Maisie is always at her house for her mother and not her. To Maisie, Kiki was like a second mother or the one she always wanted, yet any friend would become bitter when their best friend only comes over to hang out with their mother and not them.

On to Maisie’s parents who plays a vital role in her life. They’re the cause of most of her irrational decisions. Maisie’s mother doesn’t show much affection to Maisie and I might be wrong but when Maisie is with her father, her mother becomes upset. She always mentions that she’s her father’s favourite and that maybe explains why Judith is keen towards her son, Davy, compared to Maisie. Their parents don’t get along so it isn’t a surprise that the father doesn’t come home a lot, but when he does, Maisie values every moment of it. Although, as the story progresses, she realises he isn’t as perfect as he appears to be. 

Relationships was probably the main theme in this book. Whether it was between parents, friends, sexual, or siblings. For Maisie, all her relationships were tested and some she’d experienced for the first time. She desired love and belonging from others and didn’t stop at anything to achieve them. No matter who got hurt or what she had to do. It really displays what’s important to teenagers at that point in their lives. Bottner played it out so realistically in the end because not everything is rainbows and sunshine. 

This novel is bound to take readers on an emotional rollercoaster and makes them reflect on their relationships with others. During this pandemic, it also makes us cherish the small moments we have with loved ones that others can’t have yet crave for. Highly recommend to teenagers, a book worth analysing in class, so I’d suggest this to your English teachers and also for fans of coming-of-age stories!
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This is a coming of age story set in The Bronx in 1960. It’s written in verse and follows Maisie as she struggles with her a turbulent home life and new feelings towards boys. 
I had very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, the writing is absolutely beautiful. It’s written in verse in like short vignettes. There were so many lines that I stopped to reread because I loved the way she described something and the way she strung specific words together. On the other hand, that same writing kept us at an arms length from the characters. You get to know Maisie well but no one else in the story. Every other character feels sort of flat and one dimensional. They’re all just guest stars in in Maisie’s life. It’s almost written as if it is her diary and that is why it’s so focused on her. The other thing I struggled with was the actual content. There’s no better way to describe this book but bleak. Maisie’s mother is constantly emotionally abusive and her father, while kinder, is almost entirely absent. They’re terrible parents and my heart hurt for Maisie while reading. While these issues aren’t fun to read about, I do think they were handled really well in this book and they’re topics that many teens can relate to.
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This was a tough read with tough topics--abusive parents, absent parents, puberty and sexuality, turbulent friendship, and more--that teens will relate too even with the 1960's setting. To be quite honest, other than a few details here and there, it doesn't even feel that historical--it feels like it could take place in any decade.

The characters are a tough to like (even our narrator), which feels realistic but makes enjoying the story a little more difficult. Parents are terrible parents, friends are terrible friends, and choices are made that make you cringe as a reader. I did like watching the development of Maisie's relationship with her brother, and I eventually rooted for her to figure things out with her father and her friends.
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This month, by complete coincidence, I read two novels in verse set in the mid 20th century concerning mentally ill and/or traumatized female heroines. Unlike Beauty Mark, the novel about Marilyn Monroe, I found the verse in this volume lacking and more of a gimmick than a legitimate artistic choice. More importantly, however, I found Maisie (our heroine) incredibly frustrating in a way that wasn't dealt with by the narrative. Sure, she's a teenage girl in a turbulent home situation, but Maisie (at times) was incredibly grating as a protagonist. She didn't seem to significantly change beyond the surface-level alterations in her life (i.e., her interest in art), and while I like unlikeable female protagonists, Maisie felt less unlikeable and more...annoying. Ultimately, though, I did enjoy reading this book, and while I don't think I'd recommend it without reservations, I don't regret the experience and I look forward to seeing the author's future work.
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I absolutely LOVE the style of this book! I have never read a novel in verse before, and this is just a whole new way to tell this story. The verses are well written, they give an insight into the story just as any other novel does.
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I have seen many people talk about how much they disliked the main character of I Am Here Now in their reviews, but I actually really appreciated her. Although she did a lot of messed up things, her mentality reminded me of my own when I was at my lowest a couple of years ago, and it was helpful for me personally to recognize the issues the main character and I shared by reading about it.

I also felt a huge connection to the little brother in this book and the similarities he possessed along my own little brother. Every single character in I Am Here Now either reminded me of a real person, or showed likeness of a person that could exist in our world. In my experience, characters with so much depth and realness are hard to come by.

The storyline and structure was a little off for me in this book. Honestly, I havent been able to completely put a name to what was off, but I believe it may have been the pacing. In no way did this issue make the book unreadable, or difficult/boring, but I did feel not as engaged at certain points because of the pacing.

This book is in verse which is something I have come to love. The reason I love novels in verse so much is due to the beautiful poeticism mixed with a simple type of storytelling. I did feel that the author was missing a bit of the beautiful language and style that usually comes with verse, and at points I Am Here Now read like a traditional novel with a verse type formatting due to this.

Overall, I Am Here Now had a couple mild issues, but the characters and relationships in it mostly made up for them in my opinion.
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“But, Dad, my personality is problematic,”
I object at those times. 
We both know “problematic”
is a guidance counselor word. 

Fourteen year old Maisie’s entire life is problematic so it’s no surprise it reflects in her personality. Written in verse and set in the 1960s, I Am Here Now is an insightful look into the “ideal” family and the horrors that go on behind closed doors. 

The writing is superb and somehow makes you feel nostalgic for a time that you never lived through, and honestly most of Maisie’s life is full of events I would prefer to stay far away from. Like any good protagonist, Maisie was human, full of faults and mistakes and goals, and loss, and personality. Even when you’re screaming at her not to do something stupid, you are rooting for her, willing her to find redemption. 

Several times while reading I forgot that it was set in the 60s, which in other stories may be concerning, but here only highlights the all too current issues of domestic and child abuse; the year doesn’t matter because Maisie’s story could be anyone’s. 

Unique, heart-wrenching, and mesmerizingly lyrical, I Am Here Now is a new favorite that will be stuck in my head for the foreseeable future.
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I Am Here Now  was written in verse, which I think was the best thing it had going for it. I usually love books written in verse, but this one didn't work for me. 

Let's start with the characters. I could not stand Maisie. She was immature and made decisions she knew were wrong. Yes, I know she was 14, but I couldn't stand when she would say 'I know I shouldn't cheat with my best friend's boyfriend' but then she does anyway. And lies about it. Then gets sad her best friend won't talk to her? I mean.... duh. 

I also didn't feel like there was a plot. Things happened, but it never led to anything else. It was just a year or so in her life. I didn't like her enough to read something like that. This made the pacing feel slow and cumbersome. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I Am Here Now is a novel in verse about a young girl coming of age in the Bronx in the 1960s.  Maisie lives with her brother, absentee father, and abusive mother.  Her best friend, Richie,  lives next door - also a victim of parental abuse from a father suffering from PTSD.  Maisie is getting ready to start high school which her mother barely acknowledges and her father is too distracted to note.  So Maisie acts out in other ways, nothing too awful, but enough to get someone to pay attention to her.  She meets Rachel in class and not only gains a BFF, but a surrogate mother in Rachel's mom, Rachel's mother is an artist and is more then happy to give Maisie tips and advice, helping Maisie blossom from a girl who likes art, to an artist herself.  All this excitement and self-discovery mingles with the horror of being verbally and physically abused by her own mother.  

This book was so well-written it was a pleasure to read.  The subject matter was horrifying in parts but the description was vivid and breathtaking.  Fans of Jason Reynolds and Jacqueline Woodson  will enjoy reading I Am Here Now.  It was a quick read and very well-paced.  This is going to be a great book club choice - the discussion could allow others to relate their own experiences and possibly get help where needed.  Thank you for the opportunity to read the ARC!
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I appreciated the flow of the free verse style throughout this book, but unfortunately, it didn't work for me. While it was an interesting format to read in, the structure didn't seem to add to the story itself. None of the characters felt likeable and it made the book a struggle to read through. I think Maisie's mother felt a bit too cartoonishly evil,  and while I know this book is marketed toward a younger audience I feel it would have been more interesting to read about an abusive mother who isn't always plain evil but rather something darker with more nuance. This might appeal to a very early YA reader but it just wasn't a book that worked for me.
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