‘Now Is Everything’ is the thrilling story of Hadley McCauley told through multiple different times and perspectives. Both Hadley’s parents died in a tragic plane crash, but there’s more to the story beneath the surface and their lives weren’t as perfect as everyone believed.
Trigger Warning: Attempted Suicide, Child Abuse, Mental Illnes and Extreme Allergic reactions.
I give this book 3.5 stars (out of five). I liked this book overall and I thought the story and characters were really interesting, but it didn’t get a higher score because it didn’t stand out too much amongst other similar things I’ve read.
This story follows the main character Hadley McCauley, her life is not the perfect façade she’s forced to put on for everyone else. Her father is verbally, emotionally and physically abusive and Hadley has to take most of it to save her little sister Lila from him. The main conflict is that there was a horrible plane crash in which both Hadley’s parents were killed and she was the only survivor, after she was rescued she attempted to take her own life because of guilt and the rest of the story shows both the investigation into the events surrounding the crash and Hadley’s perspective retelling the events. Because of this form of storytelling there are time skips between present and past.
[Spoiler Warning, skip the next four paragraphs to avoid them.]
The full story is that Hadley was prepared to kill her father by purposely giving him muffins with nuts that he was allergic to while he was flying the plane, leading to a probable crash and possibly both their deaths. The reason why she didn’t go through with this plan was because in the end her mother was on the plane too. At the very last second she decides not to do it but she accidentally contaminated the muffins she gave him and caused the crash anyway, killing both her parents.
Afterwards she was so upset at having accidentally killed her mother and surviving herself, she tried to kill herself as an immediate reaction. But later is helped to recover and isn’t blamed for the accident by the investigative team either. In the end Hadley is free to come back and try to live her life happily.
This book shows how abuse can affect people mentally and dictate their entire lives very well. Hadley was willing to kill herself and her father but not her mother. I think this shows how much her father’s abuse changed her life because she was willing to give up her entire future to save her and her little sister.
There were interviews towards the beginning and throughout that gave readers information in a backwacks way and gave more characterization to show what the investigation was doing and where they were in that process.
I liked the title and overall message of the story, it was very interesting to see it play out from multiple different points in time and perspectives. To Hadley’s friends and people outside of her head it just seems like there was an accident and then Hadley attempted suicide. But only her and the reader know it was because of the guilt she felt for killing her mother as no one else knows that Hadley caused the accident.
The main relationship between Hadley and Charlie moved way too fast, I don’t think that someone would or should be thinking about sex that much. In this case they made it seem like a very important part of any healthy relationship but jumped to it not long after they got together. Maybe I’m too young to understand good portrayals of healthy sexual relationships but at least Charlie didn’t pressure Hadley into doing things when she didn’t feel ready.
There was an interesting friendship with Meghan Hadley’s best friend, she was really weird about a lot of things which seemed kind of out of place in this story because of the other main topics. Meghan’s character being so clingy and particular seemed kind of unrelated but it’s actually sadly somewhat realistic because lots of friendships are like this one. I think this relationship also being stressful is another thing that pushed Hadley over the edge.
Generally I enjoyed reading this book and thought it had a fairly unique and interesting storyline. I would recommend reading it but I would not reread it.