Review: Some Other Now

Some Other Now

by Sarah Everett

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers

Category: Young Adult
Reviewer: Cheryl Fox Strausberg

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Jessi Rumfield has never felt at home in her own family. Her mother has debilitating depression and her father spends most of his time tending to her and largely ignoring Jessi. It’s no wonder that when Rowan Cohen - Jessi’s best friend - pseudo-adopts her into his family, she feels closer to Rowan’s mother Mel and her two boys, instead of her own parents. After admitting her long-standing crush on Rowan’s older brother Luke, and having that crush reciprocated, Luke and Jessi start a whirlwind romance, no easy feat for a high school senior and a college freshman. However, her happiness is short-lived; On one fateful night, everything goes spectacularly wrong and results in fatal consequences.

A year later, Jessi is trying to fill her time to avoid dealing with her problems but it only gets worse when Luke returns home from college and begs Jessi to help ease his terminally ill mother by pretending that they have reconciled. As they go down the fake dating path, real feelings hit up against a wall of pain, grief, and betrayal. As the end nears for Mel, Luke and Jessi will have to reconcile how things ended between them and attempt to overcome their loss.

Intermixed chapters of “Then” and “Now” tell the story in an enticing way, making readers wonder what happened “Then” that is so hard to resolve “Now.” For fans of the TV show “This Is Us,” Sarah Dessen, or Nina LaCour, this book will have readers reaching for their boxes of tissues.

This book sadly should not be considered for the Sydney Taylor Book Award. It contains no Jewish content other than the last name Cohen - and it’s unclear as to whether the family is Jewish or just has a Jewish-sounding last name. It is still a worthwhile read for any teen, especially those who are themselves dealing with or have family members dealing with mental health issues, grief or loss.

[Editor's note: While the author is Jewish, the book does not showcase Jewish life. Therefore, we are not designating it as an #ownvoices book.]

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Reviewer Cheryl Fox Strausberg is the Upper School Library Media Specialist at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Maryland. She holds a MLS from the University of Maryland. An avid reader and traveler, she can be found posting her opinions about her favorite books at or on twitter at @cfslibrarian.