Before Now Was Now

Young Adult - Sci-Fi
243 Pages
Reviewed on 05/16/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Before Now Was Now is a work of fiction in the science fiction, interpersonal drama, and social issues genres intended for the young adult audience. It contains strong language throughout as well as depictions of drug and alcohol use and abuse. Penned by author Angela Walters, the story unravels the tumultuous life of sixteen-year-old Rae, whose existence is plagued by family dysfunction and personal turmoil. When Rae's grandmother discloses a startling family secret, Rae embarks on a time-traveling adventure to 1984 Taos, New Mexico, in search of a precious heirloom. Accompanied by eccentric companions Iggy and Rhody, Rae navigates the rich history of the region, confronting painful truths and challenging her own perceptions. This is a captivating journey through time and emotion that young adults can take seriously as they too explore the quest for identity and belonging right by Rae’s side.

I enjoyed the different elements of family drama, coming-of-age struggles, and fantastical time-travel adventure interwoven in such a clever way that it makes the sci-fi seem credible within the logic of the story world. The characters of Rae, Iggy, and Rhody leap off the pages with their quirks and complexities, and their dialogue felt realistic to their age range, yet it was well-utilized to offer strong plot exposition and rich characterization moments too. Through Rae's experiences in both the present and the past, the novel explores themes of acceptance, forgiveness, and the ripple effects of family secrets, and the time travel elements fit so beautifully into this emotive plot structure to enhance it all the more. Angela Walters' vivid descriptions of Taos, New Mexico in the 1980s also add a lot of nostalgia and magic to the story with atmospheric language that really matches the mood. Overall, Before Now Was Now is a poignant novel that I’d certainly recommend to fans of coming-of-age drama and YA time travel enthusiasts everywhere.