My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Sunday, January 3, 2016

ARC Review & Giveaway! The Possibility of Now

Please note:  I was given an e-copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence my opinions of my review.  I am also part of Nori's (of ReadWriteLove)  Sunday Street Team for this book.  Reviewers only participate in Street Teams if they enjoy the book.


Mara James has always been a perfectionist with a plan. But despite years of overachieving at her elite school, Mara didn't plan on having a total meltdown during her calculus exam. Like a rip-up-the-test-and-get-escorted-out kind of meltdown. And she definitely didn't plan on never wanting to show her face again.

Mara knows she should go back, only she can't bring herself to do it. Because suddenly she doesn't know why she's been overachieving all these years. So Mara tells her mom she wants to go live with her estranged dad in Tahoe. Maybe in a place like Tahoe, where people go to get away from everyday life, and with a dad like Trick McHale, a ski bum avoiding real life, Mara can figure things out.

Except Tahoe is nothing like she thought it would be. There are awesome new friends and a chance to finally get to know Trick, but there are also still massive amounts of schoolwork. Can Mara find a balance between the future and the now, or will she miss out on both?


When I read The Possibility of Now, by Kim Culbertson, the story of Mara, a student who has a meltdown in class over her grades, hit a chord for me.  Student Stress is a topic that is near and dear to my heart.  With four kids all high school aged and up, I have seen, firsthand, how competitive high school can be.  Like Mara, my kids went to a highly competitive high school where they seem to churn out super-kids.  Everyone is either an accomplished athlete, an artist, or a science genius.  And their grades are perfect.  And they volunteer at orphanages in Mexico during Spring Break.  Everyone is straining to have the perfect student experience that will look impressive on their college applications.  This is what Mara is struggling with.  Finally, she has a very public breakdown during her Calculus Final, and someone posts it on YouTube.  Mortified, she flees to Tahoe to live for two months with her estranged dad.

So much of this story rang true for me.  I see students, every day, who are trying to be perfect.  In The Possibility of Now, Mara's mom is the one pushing her to aim high so she can go to a great college (something she never got a chance to do).  In real life, parents push, but there is tons of peer pressure as well.  Mara's best friend, Josie, shows that as she constantly is comparing how heavy her workload is to Mara's.  It seems to be a competition where the student with the least sleep, hardest test, and most pressure wins.  Finally, Mara begins to question what her priorities are and think about what she wants in life, rather than doing what will please others.  

I LOVED this book!  I thought the relationships were very complex and led me to want to learn more about each person, especially about Trick McHale (Mara's dad).  Why wasn't he part of Mara's life until now?  Why does he let Mara's mom dictate everything?  How can Mara get to know her dad when he is clearly hiding something?  The book shows that even in a vacation paradise like Lake Tahoe, people still have to work, solve problems, deal with parents, etc.  I thought the ending was very realistic.  I don't want to give anything away, but I liked that everything wasn't wrapped up neatly with a bow on top. 

This book will resonate with teens who are dealing with the high expectations placed on them.  There are no perfect people.  Everyone will have trials and obstacles in their journey.  It's how we deal with setbacks that show our strengths.  I think Mara learns this as she begins to live in The Now.  This book is fun, thoughtful, and encouraging.  I hope that many people will read it and enjoy it as much as I did.

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Release Date:  January 26, 2016

Source:  Obtained from the publisher.

Format:  E-Book

Recommendation:  An entertaining book that will ring true for stressed out teens.

Would I read more from this author?  Yes!

About the Author:
Kim Culbertson is the author of Catch a Falling Star; Instructions for a Broken Heart, a Northern California Book Award winner; and Songs for a Teenage Nomad. When she’s not writing young adult novels, she teaches high school creative writing. Kim lives with her husband and their daughter in Northern California. For more about Kim, visit www.kimculbertson.com.

The Author has been kind enough to do a giveaway!  

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  1. This looks great! I'm going to read up on the SST as well this week, because it seems like an awesome concept.

    1. This was a fun book, that had a lot to say about School Stress. I hope you get a chance to read it.

  2. OMG! I need this book because I always stressed about grades like that! Maybe it will resonate with me!

    Great review!

  3. I think it rings so true for students, especially at competitive schools. There are kids in my daughter's school who cry when they get a B+ on a test. I also loved that the books shows that teens can be stressed from other factors as well (parents, family life, being on a sports team). I hope you read it and enjoy it.

  4. Woohoo I am so happy that you enjoyed this book! Thanks so much for being part of the street team! :)


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