counter create hit I Am Here Now - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

I Am Here Now

Availability: Ready to download

Set in the 1960s, Barbara Bottner's I Am Here Now is a beautiful novel in verse about one artist’s coming of age. It’s a heartbreaking, powerful and inspiring depiction of what it's like to shatter your life―and piece it all back together. You can’t trust Life to give you decent parents, or beautiful eyes, a fine French accent or an outstanding flair for fashion. No, Life d Set in the 1960s, Barbara Bottner's I Am Here Now is a beautiful novel in verse about one artist’s coming of age. It’s a heartbreaking, powerful and inspiring depiction of what it's like to shatter your life―and piece it all back together. You can’t trust Life to give you decent parents, or beautiful eyes, a fine French accent or an outstanding flair for fashion. No, Life does what it wants. It’s sneaky as a thief. Maisie's first day of High school should be exciting, but all she wants is to escape. Her world is lonely and chaotic, with an abusive mother and a father who’s rarely there to help. So when Maisie, who finds refuge in her art, meets the spirited Rachel and her mother, a painter, she catches a glimpse of a very different world―one full of life, creativity, and love―and latches on. But as she discovers her strengths through Rachel’s family, Maisie, increasingly desperate, finds herself risking new friendships, and the very future she's searching for.


Compare
Ads Banner

Set in the 1960s, Barbara Bottner's I Am Here Now is a beautiful novel in verse about one artist’s coming of age. It’s a heartbreaking, powerful and inspiring depiction of what it's like to shatter your life―and piece it all back together. You can’t trust Life to give you decent parents, or beautiful eyes, a fine French accent or an outstanding flair for fashion. No, Life d Set in the 1960s, Barbara Bottner's I Am Here Now is a beautiful novel in verse about one artist’s coming of age. It’s a heartbreaking, powerful and inspiring depiction of what it's like to shatter your life―and piece it all back together. You can’t trust Life to give you decent parents, or beautiful eyes, a fine French accent or an outstanding flair for fashion. No, Life does what it wants. It’s sneaky as a thief. Maisie's first day of High school should be exciting, but all she wants is to escape. Her world is lonely and chaotic, with an abusive mother and a father who’s rarely there to help. So when Maisie, who finds refuge in her art, meets the spirited Rachel and her mother, a painter, she catches a glimpse of a very different world―one full of life, creativity, and love―and latches on. But as she discovers her strengths through Rachel’s family, Maisie, increasingly desperate, finds herself risking new friendships, and the very future she's searching for.

30 review for I Am Here Now

  1. 5 out of 5

    rayne ♥ [ IG: rayne.reads ]

    RTC. Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. instagram | blog | goodreads RTC. Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. instagram | blog | goodreads

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Hager

    OK, so the first thing you should know is that this is a hard book to read. Maisie is a teenage girl in the 1960s and her life is just as turbulent as the country as a whole. Her mom is awful and when I say that, I mean that she is almost constantly emotionally abusive to Maisie; sometimes, she will also hit her. Maisie is definitely closer to her dad, but he's not really reliable, so she doesn't really have anyone. (Her grandmother is great, but she's also not around all the time.) She's needy, a OK, so the first thing you should know is that this is a hard book to read. Maisie is a teenage girl in the 1960s and her life is just as turbulent as the country as a whole. Her mom is awful and when I say that, I mean that she is almost constantly emotionally abusive to Maisie; sometimes, she will also hit her. Maisie is definitely closer to her dad, but he's not really reliable, so she doesn't really have anyone. (Her grandmother is great, but she's also not around all the time.) She's needy, as you'd expect, so her friendships aren't particularly stable or satisfying to her. And she's also a teenage girl so she's all over the place emotionally. I spent most of the book wanting to sit down with her and be like, "Maisie. YOU HAVE TO STOP" and then give her a huge hug. This poor, sweet girl and her awful decisions. I also love that her art is really what saves her. She finds this thing that she loves to do and that she's really good at, and she uses it to create an escape for herself. The thing that I love most about this, though, is how one thing can save you. For Maisie, it's art. It's a way that she feels special and it's something she bonds with her best friend's mom over (it feels different if an adult you're not related to finds you interesting and talented, right?) It's so cool seeing her realize that she's good at something and it's something that her mom can't destroy. This is also a novel in verse. I mention it because not everyone enjoys that, but I do. I love the way that it's used to tell this story. This is a book that hurts to read, but it's absolutely worth it. It's such an amazing, empowering book and I’m so grateful I got to read it. Highly recommended.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight 1.5* This book was supposed to come out in May, but is now scheduled to publish in August. Since I wasn’t a fan and this is not exactly a glowing recommendation, I figured it didn’t much matter if I posted early. I considered not bothering, but then kind of felt like if I slogged through, I might as well. This is a very character-driven story, and I didn’t like the main character from the s You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight 1.5* This book was supposed to come out in May, but is now scheduled to publish in August. Since I wasn’t a fan and this is not exactly a glowing recommendation, I figured it didn’t much matter if I posted early. I considered not bothering, but then kind of felt like if I slogged through, I might as well. This is a very character-driven story, and I didn’t like the main character from the start. I had hoped she’d grow a lot during the course of the book, hence the character-drivenness. Unfortunately, that didn’t really happen. She became a bit more self aware, but only after making people loathe her so much they screamed her faults at her. And here’s the thing: Her life is fairly awful. Her parents are complete trash (her mom is absolutely abusive) and she’s wildly unpopular, and so you do feel sorry for her. But then at some point, we’re all responsible for our own actions, right? Being from a bad home doesn’t really give you license to treat others terribly. The story is set in the 1960s, but aside from some historical mentions, feels like it could be anywhen. Perhaps that’s the point, but I would have enjoyed more of a 60s feel personally. 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. Only… they’re all awful. Like yes Maisie is a mess, and she treats Rachel quite poorly, but let me assure you, Rachel isn’t exactly Miss Congeniality either. And Rachel’s mom acts more like a child than the children in the story, so she’s a mess. So to recap, every single person Maisie has contact with is awful, Maisie included. I do like Maisie’s brother, though that kid doesn’t stand a chance being cooped up with these messes. Ditto Maisie’s friend Richie. He was actually sympathetic and liked Maisie for whatever reasons I cannot fathom. But his father was also abusive, and again, he seemed to be trapped in a terrible situation. The art plot also takes a huge backseat to the messiness of Rachel and her mom. Where you see that there is a glimmer of hope that Maisie may find a mentor, a passion… well, let’s just say she finds more tragically awful people. Also, full disclaimer, I don’t really care too much about art so that is probably more on me, not the book. A lot of other messy character stuff happens but it would be spoilery to tell you, and I think you all get the gist. Bottom Line: I know people can be messy, but not everyone is awful, right? But this book says they are, and left me with a very unhealthy feeling of pessimism about the decency of humanity in general. Oh and also nothing really happened.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Hillary

    Maisie is a Jewish girl growing up in the Bronx in the 1960’s with an abusive mother. What she wants is a boyfriend. But what she needs is a road out of her life. As Maisie discovers her own attractiveness to boys, she makes the wrong decision at every turn. But as she discovers her love for drawing and painting, for once in her life something goes right. The reader will delight in discovering art alongside Maisie, feeling a personal connection to the paintings Maisie falls in love with at the m Maisie is a Jewish girl growing up in the Bronx in the 1960’s with an abusive mother. What she wants is a boyfriend. But what she needs is a road out of her life. As Maisie discovers her own attractiveness to boys, she makes the wrong decision at every turn. But as she discovers her love for drawing and painting, for once in her life something goes right. The reader will delight in discovering art alongside Maisie, feeling a personal connection to the paintings Maisie falls in love with at the museum and the poetry her best friend quotes. Ultimately, Maisie's success in art gives her a roadmap that leads to a world where she has the potential to be more than the unwanted daughter or the sister fighting for a scrap of love. Brave and beautiful writing that shows rare respect for and belief in the sophistication of teen readers.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Karla Mae (Reads and Thoughts)

    *ARC Kindly provided by Macmillan/Imprint in exchange for an honest review* I Am Here Now is the first free verse book I’ve read after such a long time (it’s been years!). I forgot how it feels so easy and quick to finish a book in this format. Set in the 60’s, this book tells us the story of Maisie. An upcoming high school student who’s starting to discover her passion for arts while also threading the hardships of adulthood and familial conflicts. She should be excited to start high school – it *ARC Kindly provided by Macmillan/Imprint in exchange for an honest review* I Am Here Now is the first free verse book I’ve read after such a long time (it’s been years!). I forgot how it feels so easy and quick to finish a book in this format. Set in the 60’s, this book tells us the story of Maisie. An upcoming high school student who’s starting to discover her passion for arts while also threading the hardships of adulthood and familial conflicts. She should be excited to start high school – it was a new start. A new stage of her life – but she’s far from excited. Her father is leaving them, her mother is succumbing to that lost and her younger brother is not entirely opening to her. Really nothing to be excited about those things. But when she met the vibrant and lively Rachel, she was welcomed in a new world full of art and possibilities. Maisie is your typical teenager with an insightful mind yet sarcastic and angry voice. The story has given me enough idea as to how she’s come this way. There’s no stability in her family. She doesn’t have a great support system. She’s lonely. I feel bad for her for the first half of the book but I also felt disappointed with her ways and actions on the latter part. But I wouldn’t hold that to her because for me, she’s a young adult and is just slowly learning the ropes of life. I enjoy reading about Maisie’s passion for art. There are also a lot of references to artists and museums and NYC and made me wonder how the place looks like in the 60’s. The premise of the story was interesting. The emotions are there but I just really didn’t connect with the characters and the story itself. I feel like I’m just an outsider lurking. The story was moderately phased and if not for the verse format I think it would’ve taken me awhile to finish. I was also glad that the story had a somewhat happy ending. I wouldn’t wish for anything else for Maise and her brother.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sandy O'Brien

    “We never know who or what will rescue us, or how we will rescue ourselves.” A novel about Maisie a young girl coming of age in the Bronx during the 1960s. Maisie lives with her brother, absentee father, and abusive mother. Their house is like a stick of dynamite that is always waiting to explode. Richie her friend who lives next-door also has an abusive parents, and father who suffers from PTSD. While at school she meets a girl name Rachel who becomes not only her best friend but also a surrogate “We never know who or what will rescue us, or how we will rescue ourselves.” A novel about Maisie a young girl coming of age in the Bronx during the 1960s. Maisie lives with her brother, absentee father, and abusive mother. Their house is like a stick of dynamite that is always waiting to explode. Richie her friend who lives next-door also has an abusive parents, and father who suffers from PTSD. While at school she meets a girl name Rachel who becomes not only her best friend but also a surrogate sister as Maisie becomes close to Rachel’s mother Kiki. An artist who helps Maisie express all of her pain and release it through art. This novel in verse was really tough for me to read because of the amount of physical and verbal abuse that Maisie went through from her mom. On a positive note – there is some light at the end of the dark tunnel that she journeys through.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book. I'm surprised at the lower average rating for this book. I found it poignant, honest, and real. I think the prose style writing was brilliant and the best way for Maisie who finds art the best way to get her emotions out and escape the horrors for her daily life. I felt like I really got to know Maise and understand exactly what she was dealing with through her eyes. I loved getting to know the characters t Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book. I'm surprised at the lower average rating for this book. I found it poignant, honest, and real. I think the prose style writing was brilliant and the best way for Maisie who finds art the best way to get her emotions out and escape the horrors for her daily life. I felt like I really got to know Maise and understand exactly what she was dealing with through her eyes. I loved getting to know the characters too, who helped Maisie along the way. This is a heartbreaking story with light at the end of the tunnel. In the author's own words, "we never know who or what will rescue us, or how we will rescue ourselves"

  8. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    I received an electronic ARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group through NetGalley. Told in poetry that captures the gamut of emotions the main character feels. Maisie is fourteen to start the book and moves into her fifteenth year as the story progresses. Her home life is horrendous - absent traveling father; abusive mother. By the end, she has started healing and coming out of her rage and nasty treatment of everyone including herself. Though it's set in the 1960's, sadly, the story is ti I received an electronic ARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group through NetGalley. Told in poetry that captures the gamut of emotions the main character feels. Maisie is fourteen to start the book and moves into her fifteenth year as the story progresses. Her home life is horrendous - absent traveling father; abusive mother. By the end, she has started healing and coming out of her rage and nasty treatment of everyone including herself. Though it's set in the 1960's, sadly, the story is timeless. Abuse is often hidden and the victims blamed. The various poetry styles tell the story from Maisie's eyes. She's not likeable, and isn't meant to be. My problem was that I felt the author could have done more to bring readers in. She told us about the characters but didn't bring them off the page.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Disclaimer: I received a DRC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. I Am Here Now is a novel-in-verse, taking place in 1960-1961. The main character Maisie lives with her parents, but her mom is terribly abusive. She finds friendship with the boy across the way whose father is terribly abusive. As Maisie enters high school, she becomes friend with a girl named Rachel whose mother is an artist. Maisie quickly finds refuge in spending time with Rachel and Rachel’s mother Kiki. However, t Disclaimer: I received a DRC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. I Am Here Now is a novel-in-verse, taking place in 1960-1961. The main character Maisie lives with her parents, but her mom is terribly abusive. She finds friendship with the boy across the way whose father is terribly abusive. As Maisie enters high school, she becomes friend with a girl named Rachel whose mother is an artist. Maisie quickly finds refuge in spending time with Rachel and Rachel’s mother Kiki. However, that refuge always ends as soon as Maisie goes back home. This book is brutal. The abuse that Maisie experiences is horrific, and her father and her grandmother often ignore how bad it gets at time. Throughout the book, Maisie attempts to find hope through art and through relationships, trying to find something that will love her back when no one else does. After reading the author’s note, I found out that this is a semi-biographical work of fiction, and because of that, I find it especially hard to critique this as a novel, to separate the author’s own experiences from the work of fiction. That said, I had two main issues with this book from the fiction standpoint: -The book is set in 1960-1961. However, unlike some historical fiction works, there is not a great deal of historical world building. Had the book not explicitly told me the time period it was set in, I wouldn’t have known. After reading the author’s note, it makes sense why it was set in this time period: that was the time that the author was a teen. However, as a work of fiction, it was hard to remain in the 1960s throughout this. -Lack of hope. Although Maisie finds refuge within art, for most of the book, hope is sorely lacking. As a memoir, lack of hope makes sense; after all, depending on how much of this is autobiographical, there likely realistically was not much hope. However, the book summary said the world Maisie catches a glimpse of is full of life, creativity, and love. However, Maisie frequently has issues with Rachel and Kiki as well as the two male relationships in this book. None of the love that she experiences in the book is actual love. From a memoir perspective, again, this makes sense. However, for being a YA fiction work, the lack of hope until the final 50 pages concerned me a great deal. However, if you like novels-in-verse and can handle tough subject matter, I would still recommend checking this out. While brutal, it is a quicker read, and it will leave you thinking. If you come into it with the lens of “this is semi-autobiographical,” you will have a better experience as a reader. I Am Here Now releases Tuesday, August 4.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Chartoff

    How I wish I Am Here Now was back there then. Old Adult that I now am, this young anti-heroine's journey is one to which I can relate, unlike the tales of sweet young things from my youth. Her story unfolds in the Bronx in 1960 in and around the soon-to-be broken home of a Hungarian Jewish family. Maisie Meyers is the troubled, talented fifteen-year-old protagonist who feels life more intensely than her violent, vengeful mother believes is kosher. While she can well understand why her father is How I wish I Am Here Now was back there then. Old Adult that I now am, this young anti-heroine's journey is one to which I can relate, unlike the tales of sweet young things from my youth. Her story unfolds in the Bronx in 1960 in and around the soon-to-be broken home of a Hungarian Jewish family. Maisie Meyers is the troubled, talented fifteen-year-old protagonist who feels life more intensely than her violent, vengeful mother believes is kosher. While she can well understand why her father is leaving her mother, she loathes him for abandoning her and her alienated brother. Atop her familial and high school freshman agonies, Maisie is assaulted (waist up) by two thuggish teen locals after Hebrew School one day and is afraid to ever go back to Temple Emmanuel. She longs to confide in her younger brother, Davy, but is just beginning to realize how troubled he also is. She knows she can't tell her parents or grandmother as they're too self-preoccupied to give her the comfort she craves. There is no place, especially inside her own evolving body, that she can be at peace. As Maisie's homelife grows more disturbing, her friend Rachel and mother Kiki provide sanctuary and home-cooked Greek meals. The appearance of Gino, a male model with whom Rachel is romantically entwined, creates confusion for Maisie—“he leaves and takes my breath right out the door with him.” Her body seems to have developed a mind of its own where he is concerned, and, unfortunately, both he and Rachel notice. Maisie’s first-person expression of her inner life is written in verse both elegant and eloquent; the writing's simplicity surprises in the complexity of its impact. As the tale progresses, her ventriloquist, the prolific author Barbara Bottner, throws increasing amounts of turmoil Maisie’s way. I Am Here Now may help other complex young women shift perspectives toward self-acceptance while trapped in quarantine in a home and body they’re soon to outgrow. Reading it now illuminated a lot of lost, dark years in my own development.

  11. 4 out of 5

    *maybe more like a 3.5 but i'll let it sit there for now I was given an arc through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review So. That was definitely something. Yeah. I didn't know much about this going into and I didn't realize it was told in free verse (or I did but eventually forgot by the time I got around to reading this, not sure which). So I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was. I used to read a lot of free verse books but I haven't read one in probably over a decade and really fell *maybe more like a 3.5 but i'll let it sit there for now I was given an arc through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review So. That was definitely something. Yeah. I didn't know much about this going into and I didn't realize it was told in free verse (or I did but eventually forgot by the time I got around to reading this, not sure which). So I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was. I used to read a lot of free verse books but I haven't read one in probably over a decade and really fell in love with the format once again. It did take a little getting used to as the sentences came off as blocky in the beginning, but once I got used to it I really loved it and found it beautifully written. I also loved that this is a very character driven story. I'm especially partial to character driven stories already but when you have a format and a story like this I think it especially works well. In this case there really isn't much of a plot but I didn't mind it. I didn't particularly love Maisie as a character and I feel like if you need to love characters to enjoy stories you're not going to like this, but I didn't get the impression that you were supposed to love her anyway. I definitely felt for her and understood her and where she was coming from, but I didn't love her and in this particular case I was okay with that. I do wish the ending was a little less... abrupt. It seemed to wrap up too quickly and too nicely. Don't get me wrong I wanted that for Maisie and her brother, but once it happened there wasn't enough talk about the aftermath for me and it just came off as really rushed because of it. I think another five or ten pages would have really helped the conclusion feel more complete. Other than that I found this really beautiful and heartbreaking and it's definitely worth giving a shot. tws: cheating, divorce, child abuse (verbal and physical)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Denise Doyen

    This heart-aching free verse novel holds a magnifying glass up to life in a dysfunctional family; particularly the struggles a talented girl, Maisie (rightfully sad and angry) has self-nurturing and retaining a sense of worth when her parents abdicate their roles. Maisie's mother is furious about her lot in life--and takes out that frustration on her daughter. Maisie's father escapes their unpleasant household, traveling for work (and one suspects happier liasons) leaving Maisie and her younger This heart-aching free verse novel holds a magnifying glass up to life in a dysfunctional family; particularly the struggles a talented girl, Maisie (rightfully sad and angry) has self-nurturing and retaining a sense of worth when her parents abdicate their roles. Maisie's mother is furious about her lot in life--and takes out that frustration on her daughter. Maisie's father escapes their unpleasant household, traveling for work (and one suspects happier liasons) leaving Maisie and her younger brother in the turmoil of their mother's angst. Bit by bit Maisie finds supportive souls from which to salvage her life: the boy in the next building with a similar explosive family (his father a vet with PTSD), the kind girl at school whose free-spirited artist mother proves just the antidote for Maisie's malaise. Poems vary from harrowing to funny to surprising and back again. And we root for Maisie -- though her flailing actions are not always the smartest or kindest. Eventually, she pulls together her artistic talent, her moral construct and her love for her little brother--and their life begins to look sunnier. It's a difficult, riveting ride that I felt very lucky to go on. The criticisms I see on other reviews I find mystifying. The idea that a main character must be a likable goody-two-shoes to be worth our emotional investment speaks to a narrow, protected POV. On the contrary... I remembered those girls in high school who seemed hellbent on one type of destruction or another--the wrong boyfriends, acting-out or sullen indulgences. Reading this helped me (lucky to have had a happier home life) understand what might have been happening behind those girls' closed doors, that I could not begin to guess or comprehend from the outside. It's a story more people should read to gain such insights about all-too-real difficult lives; a story this author has bravely laid bare for us to behold and to learn from.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Judy Beetem

    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. 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!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Allory Auflick

    “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 Mai “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.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gracie (greyreadsbooks)

    I was provided with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 4☆ Characters- 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 I was provided with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 4☆ Characters- 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. Plot- 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. Writing- 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.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Baseman

    Helmet hair, Russian cosmonauts, green wallpaper – Bottner paints 1960’s Bronx with bold descriptive strokes that set the scene for high school freshman Maisie who is tortured by her unpredictable and often cruel mom, neglected by her skirt-chasing dad and misunderstood by her sullen, secretive brother. When she meets Rachel, she finds a sympathetic and wonderful friend and someone who has a family culture completely foreign to Maisie and absolutely fabulous. So fabulous, in fact, that she forms Helmet hair, Russian cosmonauts, green wallpaper – Bottner paints 1960’s Bronx with bold descriptive strokes that set the scene for high school freshman Maisie who is tortured by her unpredictable and often cruel mom, neglected by her skirt-chasing dad and misunderstood by her sullen, secretive brother. When she meets Rachel, she finds a sympathetic and wonderful friend and someone who has a family culture completely foreign to Maisie and absolutely fabulous. So fabulous, in fact, that she forms a bond with Rachel’s artist mother, Kiki, that leads to Maisie seeing herself in a new light. Maybe she is pretty. Maybe she does have talent. Maybe she could be happy. With these positive thoughts also comes opportunities to make mistakes. Maisie is a fighter; sometimes she fights with combative words and other times it’s with humor. She is a compelling, flawed character that you can’t help but root for. This is my first free verse novel experience. It suits the novel, giving it a brisk pace and an unmistakable air of authenticity. It’s a quick read that packs a punch.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Cresse

    1.5* I did not enjoy this book…at all. I wanted to (because I love stories told through free verse) and I tried (I did not abandon it even though I really, really wanted to be done). It was not all bad… What I liked: References to Art/Artists and museums of NYC; references to Hungarian culture/traditions; some of the chapters are really great—I especially enjoyed the letters between the characters—and Maisie has a sarcastically, witty mouth. What bothered me: Such a slow plot—I was so bored. None of 1.5* I did not enjoy this book…at all. I wanted to (because I love stories told through free verse) and I tried (I did not abandon it even though I really, really wanted to be done). It was not all bad… What I liked: References to Art/Artists and museums of NYC; references to Hungarian culture/traditions; some of the chapters are really great—I especially enjoyed the letters between the characters—and Maisie has a sarcastically, witty mouth. What bothered me: Such a slow plot—I was so bored. None of the characters are likeable and I could not care less about what happened to them. Maisie and Rachel are both shallow and have the same arrogant, angry voice. The parents are terrible—Judith is an over-the-top hideous person. I don’t consider this a historical 1960s novel—the time period did not add anything to the storyline and the story would not change outside of that time. So... it wasn't a good fit for me... but, if it sounds interesting to you--give it a shot!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Carol Schlanger

    Fantastic. Brilliant. Lyrical and destined to be a CLASSIC!!! I have never been as moved or delighted by a YA book as I have been by I AM HERE NOW. In totally accessible verse, its powerful poetry takes it into universal. I loved it beyond words. But I will try. Barbara Bottner climbs inside the mind of a teenage girl with the stealth and compassion of a J.D. Salinger. Heartbreaking at times, deeply comic at others, Mazie, the main character is an anti-hero heroine. Sometimes you love her, somet Fantastic. Brilliant. Lyrical and destined to be a CLASSIC!!! I have never been as moved or delighted by a YA book as I have been by I AM HERE NOW. In totally accessible verse, its powerful poetry takes it into universal. I loved it beyond words. But I will try. Barbara Bottner climbs inside the mind of a teenage girl with the stealth and compassion of a J.D. Salinger. Heartbreaking at times, deeply comic at others, Mazie, the main character is an anti-hero heroine. Sometimes you love her, sometimes you don't, but her depth of feeling never lets you go. In exquisite detail, the author gives us the authentic flavor of the Bronx in the 50's/60's--Parkchester-- I loved going back there with her. The resounding theme is that even in the face of terrible abuse and neglect, art can save a young person from destroying themselves. How beautiful How true.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Pate

    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 mea 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.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Pate

    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 mea 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.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    Netgalley provided me a DRC of this book in exchange for an honest review. 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 enjo Netgalley provided me a DRC of this book in exchange for an honest review. 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.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mallory

    thank you so much to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC! 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 ha thank you so much to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC! 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 and beneficial 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 who's interested in the free verse form but it just wasn't a book that worked for me.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cambria Gordon

    I loved this book! Reading a novel in verse is a wonderful way to see the poetry in a character's life. And Maisie is a colorful, soulful, funny and emotional teenager who views the world through her prisms of art and her dysfunctional family. Cross-over readers will relate to her struggles whether they grew up in the 1960's or are teenagers in 2020. Bottner has a fabulous command of language. Your heart breaks with lines like, "I'm trying to wear my mother" describing why Maisie sneaks into her I loved this book! Reading a novel in verse is a wonderful way to see the poetry in a character's life. And Maisie is a colorful, soulful, funny and emotional teenager who views the world through her prisms of art and her dysfunctional family. Cross-over readers will relate to her struggles whether they grew up in the 1960's or are teenagers in 2020. Bottner has a fabulous command of language. Your heart breaks with lines like, "I'm trying to wear my mother" describing why Maisie sneaks into her mother's closet. It's the only way she can get close to her. And you laugh with lines like "if you can't find peace when you're alive, when you're dust it's probably too late" describing a cemetery where people come to rest in peace. I rooted for Maisie every step of the way.

  24. 5 out of 5

    K.G. Campbell

    A frank, intimate and compelling coming-of-age anecdote. The supporting characters are so complex and fully realized they must surely derive from real people; Maisie's mother makes Joan Crawford look like Mary Poppins. The setting is a nostalgic evocation of The Bronx in the 1960's that is vivid with atmosphere. The free verse lends the whole an almost Homeric air, but is very accessible and easily digested. But the most engaging aspect of this highly readable novel is surely the narrator/protagoni A frank, intimate and compelling coming-of-age anecdote. The supporting characters are so complex and fully realized they must surely derive from real people; Maisie's mother makes Joan Crawford look like Mary Poppins. The setting is a nostalgic evocation of The Bronx in the 1960's that is vivid with atmosphere. The free verse lends the whole an almost Homeric air, but is very accessible and easily digested. But the most engaging aspect of this highly readable novel is surely the narrator/protagonist herself, Maisie, who though deeply flawed, is completely relatable as she pilots us through the storm of disappointment, discovery and delight that is teen-hood.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Muller

    I loved this novel-in-verse. "Maisie's first day of high school should be exciting, but all she wants is to escape." Her mother is abusive, her brother is distant, and her father is often absent. She finds solace in her art, in the family of her best friend, and sometimes in her grandmother, who had fled the Holocaust as a young woman. The characters are vivid and well-drawn. The story flows, and although Maisie makes some bad decisions, readers fall in love with her. Maisie's thoughts about t I loved this novel-in-verse. "Maisie's first day of high school should be exciting, but all she wants is to escape." Her mother is abusive, her brother is distant, and her father is often absent. She finds solace in her art, in the family of her best friend, and sometimes in her grandmother, who had fled the Holocaust as a young woman. The characters are vivid and well-drawn. The story flows, and although Maisie makes some bad decisions, readers fall in love with her. Maisie's thoughts about the power of art are inspiring!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    Thank you to Edelweiss, the author, and the publisher for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review! Unfortunately, this book just wasn’t for me. I think the artistic side of the plot took a big backseat that I wasn’t expecting. I found the majority of the characters incredibly unlikable and I didn’t have a reason to root for any of them. The historical setting changed nothing about the story as a whole and didn’t come alive for me.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Anastasia Lily

    I won this in a goodreads giveaway. I hope others like this more than I did. For me, this book fell flat and I found it very boring. I didn't finish it. I normally do finish even when I don't like a book. I would give the author another chance, but this book was just not for me. I did find the portrayal of the Irish neighbor Mr. O'Neil to be very negative and stereotypical of the Irish people.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Danielle Masterson

    Thank you to the publisher & Netgalley for this eARC. This book was so much... I’m not sure I have words for it. Maisie is a complex character. One that you both love and are frustrated by on every page. Written in verse, Maisie’s story goes quickly and is hard to put down. If you’ve ever been in a dysfunctional family, if you’ve ever been a confused teen, this novel will speak to you and stay in your head. Thank you to the publisher & Netgalley for this eARC. This book was so much... I’m not sure I have words for it. Maisie is a complex character. One that you both love and are frustrated by on every page. Written in verse, Maisie’s story goes quickly and is hard to put down. If you’ve ever been in a dysfunctional family, if you’ve ever been a confused teen, this novel will speak to you and stay in your head.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lesley

    Barbara Bottner's YA novel-in-verse tells the story of Maisie, a high schooler growing up in The Bronx in the 1960s. Maisie lives with unspeakable abuse from her mother, but she is anchored in her love and talent for art. Bottner leads us through a critical time in Maisie's life, when love, sex, family and friendship blossom and burn and transform her. Great read for young people who find solace and meaning in art!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Grose

    What a compelling story, with flawed characters that you still root for even when they make terrible choices. And the writing is so strong, you can clearly visualize this world. Having lived in New York for eight years, the descriptions and settings really rang true and brought back good and bad memories for me. The family dynamic in this story is at times frightening, but Maisie makes it through those bad days to come out of it stronger. A must read!

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.