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What Happens Now

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"I know what it is to want something so badly, you feel like your cells aren’t properly bonded together without it.
I also know what it’s like to get that something.
And honestly, I’m still not sure which is worse..."

Ari Logan is battling to win her war against depression and the dark night she hurt herself on purpose. It’s not easy: her best friend is drifting away, her mom’s emotionally checked out, and she spends her days playing caregiver to her handful of a half-sister, Danielle. But it’s summer, and anything is possible...

That’s when Camden Armstrong steps onto the beach of Ari’s local swimming lake.

At first, Ari quietly longs for Camden from afar, seeing in him everything she wants to be. When the two discover a true connection the following summer, Ari lets herself fall not just for the quirky and self-assured Camden but also his friends, tumbling into their world of independence, adventure, and shared sci-fi fandom. As Ari’s romantic dreams come true, she must unlock the mysteries of the very real and troubled boy behind her infatuation, while also struggling with her own demons, obligations, and loyalties.

From the award-winning author of "The Beginning of After" and "You Look Different in Real Life," "What Happens Now" is a touching, insightful novel about learning to heal, learning to love, and what happens when fantasy becomes reality.

384 pages, Hardcover

First published June 7, 2016

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About the author

Jennifer Castle

38 books407 followers
Jennifer Castle received her B.A. in Creative Writing at Brown University and worked as a celebrity publicist’s assistant, an advertising copywriter, and a struggling screenwriter (yes, that’s an actual job) before falling into a niche producing websites for kids and teens. Her debut, THE BEGINNING OF AFTER, was a 2012 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection as well as a Chicago Public Library "Best of the Best" book. YOU LOOK DIFFERENT IN REAL LIFE was a 2015 Florida Teens Read selection. Her most recent novel, WHAT HAPPENS NOW, was published in June 2016. She lives in New York's Hudson Valley with her husband and daughters.

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5 stars
230 (18%)
4 stars
402 (33%)
3 stars
416 (34%)
2 stars
137 (11%)
1 star
32 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 163 reviews
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,739 reviews1,307 followers
April 26, 2016
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

“In the end, there were two Camden Armstrongs. One I watched for a whole summer of relentless craving. The other was the one I fell in love with.”

This was a YA contemporary romance about a girl who battled with depression.

Ari was an okay character, and she clearly put a lot of time and effort into looking after her family. Camden was a bit quieter, and a harder character to get to know as he seemed to keep a lot of things to himself.

The storyline in this was about Ari and Camden meeting and starting a relationship, we also got a storyline about Ari’s depression, and her home situation with her mother who was always working. The pace in this was quite slow though, and at times it felt like nothing was happening.

The ending to this was fairly happy, but this book was just missing something for me.

6 out of 10
Profile Image for Jenn.
1,762 reviews303 followers
October 24, 2017
What initially drew me to this book was the main characters struggle with depression. Depression is a term that gets thrown around a lot but it's never really explored or showcased correctly, so I am always interested in how authors portray it.

Ari is still recovering from that one night where she inflicted self-harm upon her body. She's on medication and she's seeing a therapist. You see, Ari didn't want to kill herself. Ari just wanted to feel. When she sees Camden from afar at the lake, her mind sees how free he acts and happy he seems and she begins a crush from afar. It's her baby steps back into the world, per say. However, she doesn't actually speak to him until the following summer. I liked how it wasn't instalove. Ari crushed on one persona of Camden, but then fell for another once she got to know him.

What Camden brought out was a whole new side of Ari. He made her want to be a part of something - both in friendship and relationship. She began to want things for herself instead of just existing to take care of her little sister or work at her stepfathers store.

This book really focused on the healing process and how Ari wanted to live, she just wanted to feel. It showed the strain that depression can have on a family and the different ways it's dealt with. I was not a fan of her mother for most of the book. I felt she couldn't see how much she was hurting her daughter instead of helping, but when the reasoning was finally explained, I saw her in a different light. It doesn't make how she handled it ok, but I understood her better. And I enjoyed watching this family try to rebuild because I was rooting for them.

What Happens Now is more of a day to day life book as opposed to leading up to one cataclysmic event and then dealing with the fallout. There were mini obstacles throughout that tested our MC and we got to really become involved in Ari's life and new friendships.

One thing that kind of bugged me was the character of Eliza. Over the course of the book, she does some pretty horrible things and yet everyone just overlooks it with a "you don't know what she's been through" kind of attitude. Well first, I don't care what you've been through in your life, it doesn't give you the right to treat anyone, especially people you consider friends, like shit. Second, we never actually find out what she went through. With how much they brought it up, I figured we would at least learn something. But no. So that was disappointing.

But overall, I enjoyed this book. A nice portrayal of coming back to life.
Profile Image for Kim at Divergent Gryffindor.
470 reviews131 followers
May 22, 2016
What Happens Now is so much different than what I expected it to be. I thought that it was going to be a dark tale about depression and cutting, but turns out that it's not. It's much lighter than that, although that's not to say that it doesn't mention those things. But actually, I think that I prefer it this way.

What Happens Now is different from most YA contemporary romance because it delves into the serious stuff about relationships, where they fight about things that matter in relationships. Most other books have couples who often fight just because of some misunderstanding or something similarly unimportant. In this book, Camden and Ari talked about the fact that there should be a give and take in their relationship. I really admired how they actually talked about things to each other, instead of making the other just guess. Well, Camden sometimes did, but Ari always talked to him whenever that happens.

What Happens Now features a lot of relationships, such as an old friendship, new friendships, mother-daughter, sister-half sister, and daughter-stepfather. It was actually quite surprising to see how Ari was closer to her stepfather rather than her mom, and it's a welcome one because most YA would feature characters who hate their stepfathers. However, Ari has a rocky relationship with her mom, mostly I think because they just don't have the same "language" of things, so they get what the other is trying to convey.

The only thing that I didn't really like with this book is the fact that it has a not-so-solid beginning and ending. The beginning weirded me out a little, and I was completely thrown of by it. Because of the beginning, I thought this was going to be another book just focused on the main character's relationship with a boy. The ending, on the other hand, felt inadequate to me. I didn't feel a sense of closure, and as I said, they always talked things through in their relationship, so I felt disappointed that they didn't do so in the end. I just felt like there was something lacking.

Overall, What Happens Now is a great and quick read. I wouldn't really classify it as a light read - although I did mention that it's lighter than what I expected it to be - because it tackles a lot of things, which you have to read this book to find out. So yes, I do encourage you to read this book. I know that it might not be for everyone, but I really liked reading it.
July 3, 2021
100% a book for summer.

Okay, so this was an amazing book in my opinion. I bought it literally at a dollar store with interest courtesy of the book’s cover. (Yes I judge books by their cover, sorry.) One of my new favorite books for a dollar. How lucky was that?!

Anyway, because of that, I expected a mediocre story I perhaps would maybe enjoy. It was, however, very much different than that.

Here are my opinions:
1. Camden and Ari were cute, but I was a little disappointed that the middle of the book was geared more towards the comic con (or whatever that was even called) than Ari and Camden and things that didn’t really carry the story enough to go on and on for a few chapters about it.
2. I liked the first chapter a lot, just wanted to note how well-written I thought it was.
3. Ari’s best friend was my comfort character. She makes me feel comfortable and I consider her one of my “book best friends.”
4. I wasn’t really interested in the Cosplay concept, as I don’t usually do that unlike some of my friends, but I can see that maybe cosplay was a significant interest that Ari and Camden had in common, therefore making their relationship seem even more real.
5. Also I considered the ending, and I loved it. It was fully finished, but I was satisfied with the way it turned out anyway. In my mind, the book ends with Camden and Ari getting married, opening a guitar shop, and living the happily ever after just as in love as Ari said they were in the writing.

No regrets reading this book, and I highly recommend it.

Read this if you like:
⭐️ strangers to friends to lovers to strangers to lovers
⭐️ betrayal by friends
⭐️ toxic friends (Eliza comes to mind)
⭐️ Cosplay representation
⭐️ summer vibes
⭐️ high school love
⭐️ happy endings

Profile Image for Christine Alibutud.
498 reviews83 followers
June 11, 2016
"All this was unconfirmed, of course. But I knew two things about Camden Armstrong for sure:

1) His eyes were the exact same forest green as the diving board.

2) I ached for him in places I never knew could ache, like earlobes and collarbones."


What Happens Now was not what I thought it would be. I expected something light, but it actually had a serious undertone. It also had a sense of innocence, but at the same time, we are introduced to heavy issues and how the characters dealt with it. I really liked how these two opposite elements were balanced to create a good book.

However, this book felt like a push-and-pull for me.

I absolutely loved the first half. Dramatic as it may sound, this book spoke to me in levels I can't explain. One word: relate!
"I know what it is to want something so badly, you feel like your cells aren’t properly bonded together without it. At any moment you might just crumble apart."

I really liked how Ari had this intense longing for Camden. She explained it in a way that felt relatable and clear, even though what Camden made her feel was confusing and frustrating as heck. I just loved how a simply touch or glance had her craving something only she can put into fantasies. I was like "I get you, sister!"
"I never liked the word attraction. It’s way too much about magnets, and not enough about why someone’s mere presence can make you feel pleasure and pain at the same time.

Crush didn’t work either. I wasn’t twelve.

What should I have called it? I just called it Camden."


Now moving towards the second half, here's where I felt disconnected. When Ari and Camden finally started hanging out, I felt giddy all because it seemed so cute. I also liked how they talked about heavy stuff, and how their friends and family got into the mix. But honestly, it became a wee bit boring for me. I don't know why or how, but it really felt that way. I felt so frustrated, especially at the times I felt the urge to skim. For me, skimming is the equivalent of boredom.

It still had redeeming qualities, but it felt lacking and some parts felt absent.

Over-all, I'd give this 3 stars!
"Maybe safety lay in actually pursuing the things you desired. Maybe the real danger was not pursuing them and never knowing what would have happened if you did.

Maybe regret was the thing that really knocks you off balance into whatever’s waiting below."

Profile Image for Tee loves Kyle Jacobson.
2,474 reviews171 followers
March 6, 2016
This book was an amazing read. I have been reading a lot of summer books but this one dealt with a lot of issues that are prevalent in teens today. Depression is a big deal for teens today. Jennifer took it and spun a story that is amazing and a must read for teen girls.

Ari is your everyday girl who helps out her family by taking care of her sister. She is also depressed and to deal with that depression she hurts herself. Her mother is emotionally checked out and her best friends are growing further away. Her one saving grace is Camden. Her sweet gorgeous crush Camden. It's summertime and Camden shows up at the same beach she goes to. So she pines after him from afar for the whole summer.

Then the school year comes back and Ari is thrown into her responsibilities of raising her sister and doing everything her mother needs. But as she weaves through the school year she is thinking about the summer coming. She hopes to see camden again and when she does they find out they have a lot in common and two build a close bound. But with every friendship comes trials and tribulations and Ari will have to decide whether or not this is a good friendship or a toxic friendship.

What happens to Ari and Camden is what makes the story amazing! Thank you Jennifer for tackling some of the tough issues teens face everyday.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
946 reviews7 followers
August 23, 2016
So...this book.

Big. Fat. Nope.

It does get an extra star because it pulled itself together a bit in the end, but otherwise:

Ari was unbearably self-righteous and annoying. Also, borderline stalkerish and creepy. And immature.
Camden was pathetic. He clearly had issues but heck if I could tell what they really were (becausue they were never really articulated).
The insta-love was...baffling. (See above for reasons why).
Stuff happened that was just wrong. Vague excuses were made for certain dysfunctional characters whose stories were apparently tragic enough to make all their horrific behavior somehow okay, but again, heck if I know what those issues were...Because. We. Weren't. Told.

One final note about the depression and cutting: In my opinion both were dealt with inconsistently at best. At times Ari's feelings and reactions felt painfully genuine...and those were some of the most effective parts of the story for me personally. But at other times, they felt like nothing more than an excuse for Ari to make bad decisions and believe stupid things about people. And that was unfortunate, because the handling of these issues in books needs to be more than just a plot device.
Profile Image for Ginger at GReadsBooks.
372 reviews56 followers
March 5, 2017
This book was such a pleasant surprise for me. I found myself marking pages & rereading passages because it's story was so beautiful. I love contemporary YA that can sneak up on you & capture your heart when you least expect it. I definitely recommend this one!
11 reviews
July 12, 2021
Every female character is simply unlikable. The awkward fandom scenes are nearly unbearable. And why oh why during the intimate scene did she choose to describe Camden as "looking up at me from under those girraffe eyelashes." I can't stop laughing at how terrible this is.
Profile Image for John Gilbert.
929 reviews104 followers
May 24, 2021
Another very enjoyable book for me, more like 4.5 stars, but nudged up.

A very likeable heroine surviving a cutting incident, who learns to deal with her maybe depression over a year. A supportive best friend, a lovely little sister (who brought this one up to five stars for me), new friends and a new boyfriend added to a supportive stepfather and a mother who may not be there enough for her.

Very well written, even paced and quite believeable. Two great reads finished on the same day, lucky me, but sad too.

Profile Image for Kate (The Bookaholic Blurbs).
329 reviews41 followers
June 21, 2016
Original rating: 8 over 5 stars!

Full review over at The Bookaholic Blurbs!

Rainbow Rowell meets Robyn Schneider, What Happens Now is a story full of wonderfuls. A truly unforgettable story of two broken souls molded to piece their parts together. Its heart-warming romance is crunched by depression, toughened by distance but blossomed with time. What Happens Now is truly an outstanding novel I highly recommend!

What Happens Now that this story is over?

Thank you so much HarperCollins International for the galley!
Profile Image for ☆☆Hannah☆☆.
3,049 reviews42 followers
October 31, 2017
This was an alright book. I felt that there was really nothing special about this. It mostly focused on her crush and cosplay. I did like how she was able to work on some of her relationships and make them better. If everything hadn't worked out in the end I would definitely have rated this lower.
Profile Image for Jade Walker.
295 reviews23 followers
July 7, 2016
I've read another of Jennifer Castle's books, You Look Different in Real Life and I quite enjoyed it. What Happens Now intrigued me because I love it when authors manage to portray depression in a realistic sense. I loved the way Jennifer Castle tackled the issue in the book, and the way Ari tackles her issues. Overcoming an incident when she really hurt herself - she wasn't trying to end her life, just trying to tackle her issues, Ari falls in love with Camden from afar, then she meets the real deal and realises that sometimes fantasies differ from reality but it doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with that.

Alongside the main love story, there are some great intertwining stories - Ari's relationship with her mother, Ari's best friend Kendall and her search for the right man and of course, Ari dealing with her demons. This book does such a great job at making Ari real and her depression a real thing and this was amazingly done. I can't say that enough.

I also real enjoyed the Silver Arrow part of the book. Fandom is a big part of my life so I love any book which puts fandom in. Ari finding fandom and the way she was thrown in with Eliza and Max and the way these two influenced her life as well was well done. The way Silver Arrow made her strong was amazingly well done. I also love the meta-aspect, brilliant.

If I had one problem with his book it's that at times Ari and Camden's relationship got a bit monotonous - I wish there was a little bit more waiting for things to work out. I also wanted more of a focus on Eliza's because this was an aspect that was really intriguing for me.

Overall, What Happens Now was a really well done book with a painfully real portrayal of depression balanced out by a sweet summer romance. Jennifer Castle hasn't let me down!

Overall Rating: B
Profile Image for Sarah.
820 reviews151 followers
February 5, 2016
Jennifer Castle has actually become one of my favorite contemporary YA writers. She does such a good job of portraying complicated relationships in all their messiness without rendering them as good or bad, they just are. I think in YA, which can skew a bit toward heavy-handedness, this is incredibly refreshing. I'm going to chew on this story a bit more because there's a lot of talk about with this.
Profile Image for Megan.
68 reviews9 followers
March 22, 2019
At the beginning I was loving this- it felt so reminiscent of Eliza and Her Monsters, a book I really enjoyed. However the second half was such a let down for me, I found it boring and the relationships were really toxic at times. Plus, I thought that at one point she would apologies to her ex, who she wasn't the best to, but that was left completely unresolved. I don't think I would recommend this because Camden and Ari's relationship was just so toxic.
1 review
December 12, 2022
What Happens Now by Jennifer Castle is a book where Ari Logan is battling to win her war against depression and the dark night she hurt herself on purpose. It’s not easy, her best friend is drifting away, her mom’s emotionally checked out, and she spends her days playing caregiver to her handful of a half-sister, Danielle. But it’s summer, and anything is possible. That’s when Camden Armstrong steps onto the beach of Ari’s local swimming lake.

This book isn’t just dealing with dark themes such as depression and cutting, it deals with healthy themes such as fighting to recover from it. It’s nice that this book pays attention to feelings and what’s happening inside the main character’s head. What happens Now is a story about struggling to get well when dealing with mental illness.

From a certain point of view, this book could be seen as an exciting book. From others' point of view, this book may just be a simple boring book. Others might also like it because of the relationship between Ari and Camden. I felt like this book was okay, I just wish there was a bit more added to it at the end.

Personally, I think this book was well written, and the characters all connected easily. This book mainly talks about making others feel like there really is a light in the darkness. The author really did great with this book, especially since she had also suffered from depression when she was a teenager so she kind of related to Ari. I’m glad I got to read this book and I really enjoyed it, but it wasn’t really what I expected.
Profile Image for Libby Ames.
1,477 reviews43 followers
October 10, 2018
Ari Logan is struggling to overcome the awful night when she tried to hurt herself. As she climbs out of depression, she spends time at the local lake watching her little sister. Ari also finds herself caught in a one-sided crush on a new boy at the lake. Filled with confidence and charm, Camden Armstrong seems like everything Ari would like to be. But she only watches.

The next summer, a more confident Ari starts up a conversation. That conversation leads to friendship, time with Camden’s friends, and eventually a relationship. Ari is happy and in love, but quickly finds real relationships are more difficult than crushes from afar. Can she love the complicated and even troubled Camden as much as her daydream Camden?

Ari’s journey is a serious look at depression, insecurity, and the ability to heal. A light summer romance, with hidden depth and self-discovery. I like the approach to depression and descriptions of the feelings. I think it is very realistic--as is the fear of depression coming back. The romance stays mostly appropriate, but there is one unnecessary ‘nearly had sex’ scene.

Recommended ages--13 and up.
Profile Image for preksha.
32 reviews37 followers
August 10, 2017
actual rating: 4.5
TW FOR BOOK: self harm and suicide ( take care of yourselves book lovers <3 )
i loved this book but i found myself rolling my eyes so much that my head started to hurt.
i thought that the whole plot was fantastic!
ill be honest, i'm not one to usually care about instalove, i usually just brush it off but the instalove in this book, oh my goodness i almost threw the book across the room.
it was a slow paced book but i really did love what was going on. the characters were okay, i definitely found myself disliking each of them at a certain point. this book was predictable at times but overall i think this was really good and if you want to read a cute summer book, then you should definitely give this a try :)
Profile Image for Crystal ✬ Lost in Storyland.
987 reviews197 followers
June 18, 2016
What happens when a summer fantasy starts becoming reality? Do you jump in headfirst or start running in the other direction as fast as you can?

Ari Logan isn't used to getting what she wants, not with a younger half sister who clings onto her, an absent mother who works nights, and a stepfather who needs her help at the store. Not to mention that she's still struggling with her memories of the night she cut herself and the inner demons that led her to self harm.

So when she sees Camden Armstrong at the lake one summer and starts crushing on him, she finds safe satisfaction in her fantasies and learning what she can about him from other people instead of approaching him herself. It isn't until the next summer when she runs into him in oops let's not let that embarrassing incident come to light! that her fantasies start becoming reality, and she begins falling for him harder than any of her wildest dreams.

With an inside look at some dysfunctional relationships and the healing process, What Happens Now is a heartbreaking, gut-wrenching read that does not feel as long as its 384 page count suggests. Despite its light-hearted looking cover, this novel is a story about the demons in all of us, about the fight to overcome them, and about forgiveness and the healing that comes after. As scene after scene passes, and Ari continues to make poorer and poorer decisions, I found myself turning the pages quicker desperate to find out where this seeming spiral of destruction led her.

Ari's particular demon is her depressive tendencies. Most novels I've read that explore mental conditions are dark, dense texts that get deep into the heart of the issue to the loss of other areas of the protagonist's life, such as his or her relationship with beyond the romantic interest and a few close friends, maybe a family member. What Happens Now is told in a lighter style that is more in the vein of beach reads that make it a suitable addition to the tote bag. Furthermore, it does not lose sight of Ari's relationship with her best friend Kendall, her new semi? friends (Eliza and Max), or her family members (mom, stepfather, and half sister)—and in fact develops them! It even dips beyond the surface of Ari and Camden's relationship, though their relationship never does seem more than a summer fling that I expected to burn out as quickly as it caught fire. The only character that didn't get as much attention as I would've thought is Ari's ex, with whom she shares some hefty baggage.

I believe that many of us can relate to at least some part of Ari: the depression. The desire for a guy she's hard-time crushing on but can't find the nerve to approach. The baggage with your ex-boyfriend. The need to rely on a fictional heroine to hold yourself up. The wondering if these cool people can really truly like you. The feeling of falling too hard too fast. The knowing that something is wrong for you but too tempting to let go. The feeling that your best friend is becoming distant, and you don't know how to repair the relationship. The wanting to go further than you should. The pleading to make things right. The crying after a painful breakup. The crying to forget. The coming to terms with the fact that nothing's perfect, but it doesn't need to be. And that's just a part of the picture.

If the wounds still feel fresh, this will be a raw and painful read. Ari does a lot of rebellious things, things that in another context would have made me dismiss her as another wild teen. Knowing the problems in her family and her internal struggles made me feel for her and wish wholeheartedly that things were better for her because I emphasize with a lot she's going through. I wish that she knew how much her mother loves her and that her mother speaks from a place of love—that sometimes the people that know us and love us the best say no to us because they mean well for us. That lying to her parents and running wild with a crowd provides with temporal satisfaction that will not last and is not worth giving up your parents' trust in you. That giving so much of yourself early into the relationship will hurt you and break you when the guy doesn't turn out to be the person you grew to love.

Ari's not a bad girl. She's a beautiful girl that's been hurt badly by the people she cares (and, in some cases, cared) about. Over the course of this novel, she learns to fall in love again, to take chances, and to forgive. She grows into a more confident, if not entirely assured person, and that's okay because life is all about learning and maturing from our experiences. She also learns that everyone carries something, nobody's perfect, and there's no clear-cut answer on when to let go.

That said, I, with all my heart, did not agree with how the romance angle turned out. I believe Ari made the right, if hard, decision once, and I didn't see the need for the unexpected turn that upended her big decision, especially given all that she's been put through. And I absolutely do not see how Ari ignored everything that happened to do what she did at the end. What I do love how the family plot worked out and began moving them in the direction they needed to take, and I wish the romance had been left as it was.

Sometimes, we need to let go and move on.

For more of my reviews, check out my blog Imaginary Reads
Profile Image for Mikaela.
95 reviews
June 28, 2019
I thought this book was really, really good and the perfect summer read. There were a couple plot points I would’ve liked to see play out, but other than that I have no complaints! A love story that includes some family difficulties made it all too relatable for me, and that always makes a book more enjoyable. I’m all heart eyes for Camden right now <3 Also Max is great, and this book was just great
Profile Image for Shannon (It Starts At Midnight).
1,189 reviews1,018 followers
August 24, 2016
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight

True story, I needed this book from the minute I saw the cover. But I am so glad that I read it, for much more than the outside! Ari's story was a lovely one of trying to pull herself out of depression, and regain her life, all while navigating family, friends, love, and life.

Things I Loved:

The depiction of Ari's depression and mental health. Ari had been having a really bad time, but things had been slowly getting better. This wasn't a "quick fix" situation, but we start the story after Ari had been seeing someone to help with her mental illness. She still had moments of ups and downs, and still was feeling the pull of her depression all the time. It was portrayed as a constant struggle, and I liked that level of accuracy.
The friendships! While there is a romantic storyline in the book, I liked the friendship element even more. When Ari begins to see Camden, she also ends up befriending his friends. I think it was great to see Ari not just as a tagalong of Camden, but an actual friend in the group. She also has a best friend from pre-Camden, which is nice. It's fun seeing her try to juggle the friend groups, just like any teen would.
Family dynamics play a huge role. I daresay we are seeing more of the family involvement in YA, lately, and I LOVE IT. Ari's family is both messy and wonderful. Her stepdad is the actual best. I love him and I am so glad that he was in Ari's life. Ari's mom isn't the best support figure, so I was glad she had the stepfather to help her along. And she has a sister, who she loves, but is also annoyed by from time to time, which is so realistic, of course.
The realism of the relationship. Camden was in no way sent in to "fix" Ari. Or she him. Basically, they have some... interesting (and at times, troubling) dynamics, but I liked that he wasn't just some plot device thrown in to "make Ari not depressed".
The fandom/cosplay. Gah, this was fun! There was this show, Silver Arrow, which had been around forever, and then there was a reboot... anyway, as it turned out, Ari had been a huge fan forever, and then so were Camden and his gang, so they got to do all kinds of fun fandom things, and dressed up as characters and such. It was just a fun addition to the story, and I liked that the show had a meaning to Ari behind just liking it.

What I didn't:

I do wish a bit more of the story had been devoted to Ari's recovery. Granted, I understand that not all of a story needs to revolve around the depression, but since she wasn't really doing great, I think there could have been a bit more exploration in the way of treatment.
While I don't think that Camden and Ari's relationship was portrayed irresponsibly, I just didn't love it. At first it was cute, but then as the book progressed, I wanted Ari to ditch him and go cosplay with her new friends. Is that bad?

Bottom Line: Overall, a really sweet story about family, friendship, and first loves. I would have liked a bit more emphasis on Ari getting treatment, but I think that her depression was accurately portrayed.

*Copy provided by publisher for review
Profile Image for Ernie.
18 reviews1 follower
October 27, 2021
This book!! I started it without any really high expectations but while reading it, I felt more and more emotionally attached to all the characters. Though there were some parts I felt like we were left hanging about (e.g. what did Eliza go through? Was it enough to justify her actions towards Ari?) and the book was really slow paced, it was still an overall amazing read.
Profile Image for Suze.
1,878 reviews1,308 followers
December 25, 2016
Ari likes Camden a lot. The first summer he's at the lake in her hometown she just watches him from afar and all the information she has about him comes from other people. She's trying to get better after cutting herself when her depression got really bad and she isn't ready to make contact yet. A year later she's doing much better. She's now able to live with her illness and can deal with it most of the time. It isn't easy though. Her mother is distant, Ari has to take care of her little sister and the rest of the time she's working in her stepfather's shop to help him out. Ari has little free time and she often doesn't get the space to do the things she likes. The fact that her best friend will be leaving after the summer doesn't make it any better. Fortunately anything can happen during those few months without school and nothing has been decided yet.

Camden's back at the lake together with his friends. This second summer Ari runs into him and they start talking. They actually have many things in common and Ari's crush on him gets even bigger. They love the same television show and Camden's friends are into cosplay. They include Ari and want her to dress up with them. Finally she feels like she belongs. Only the real Camden is nothing like the Camden she created for herself in her dreams. He's damaged and his seemingly glamorous life isn't that much fun after all. It makes him more human and approachable, but it also brings new problems. Will things keep going well when the summer progresses or will the time with Camden and his friends damage Ari even more?

What Happens Now is a beautiful story. Ari struggles and even though she has so many things to feel bad about she's strong and she tries to make something of every day. Jennifer Castle doesn't only describe Ari's depression with words, her writing made me actually feel what Ari was feeling. I think that's an admirable achievement. It makes the story raw, honest and authentic. The cheerful summer weather and the fun of spending time with friends are good counterparts for the darker elements of the story. The balance is exactly right, it never becomes too much to handle or too heavy.

You often don't know what happens behind closed doors. Even if someone else might seem to have what you want that doesn't mean this person has a perfect life. Ari and her new friends all struggle with something and that is partially the glue that binds them. Camden is special and it's clear from the start that there's a connection. There are so many obstacles in their way, but Ari is a fighter. I loved that about her. She learns a lot about herself and her family by consciously thinking things through. I admired her for it and the fact that she's so grown up even though she's still young made me love her character even more.

Jennifer Castle handles the sensitive topic of mental health issues very well. She makes it part of Ari's personality, but Ari isn't just her illness, she's so much more. The depression, and everything that happened because of it, is always there and reading about Ari's relationship with her mother and all the responsibilities she has often brought tears to my eyes. I think Jennifer Castle has written an impressive story, one that's a definite must-read if you like YA summer stories with plenty of depth.
Profile Image for Jacqueline.
431 reviews24 followers
February 24, 2017
"Maybe love was not always going to be something I recognized when I saw it. Maybe it was not the reward you got for working through something, but the working through itself."

"They say, be careful what you wish for.
But I say, how else does anything begin."

Those quotes sum up the theme of this delightful but deep story.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Raquel.
370 reviews166 followers
June 24, 2016
For more reviews, visit my blog at Bittersweet Reads.

Having read Castle's debut, The Beginning of After, a couple of years ago, I knew coming into this book that I would, at some point in the story, feel the need to cry. And I was right.

Ari's spent the past year crushing on a fantasy of Camden that she came up with, so getting to know the real thing was exciting and more that a little insightful. We've all been there: we've all taken a crush and crafted up a version of him (or her) in our heads. But not everyone has crossed the line between real and fantasy. I loved the fact that Ari actually got to know the person behind the fantasy, and that he wasn't perfect at all. Because, really, who is? What's more, I loved the fact that Ari never let her relationship with Camden define her, even if at times it seemed like she would. She was strong and sure when she needed to be, and for that I admire her.

I thought What Happens Now was going to be a YA contemporary romance novel that delved into some difficult themes, but it was so much more than that. The family dynamics in this book were so integral that I truly don't know how else a novel such as this one could have unfolded otherwise. Castle delves deeper into the aftermath of Ari's depression, and she does so wonderfully. Moreover, she depicts a family that's slowly crumbling, yet trying their damn hardest to hang on, and that, honestly, made a world of difference. Though I will admit: my heart ached because of Ari's shaky relationship with her mom.

What Happens Now is the type of book that keeps you turning page after page, even though you know you have an early morning and you need to get your butt to sleep. Once again, Castle's writing was beautiful and her story compelling, so I urge you, pick up this book.
Profile Image for Karen • The Book Return.
266 reviews63 followers
June 27, 2016
'What Happens Now' is a great book for summer reading. It was a really quick read for me. The prose was easy to read but not too simple. The characters were very realistic and well developed. They acted as real teenagers would but not with so much teenage jargon that I, as a adult, wasn't able to understand it. I thought Ari was especially well developed. Her faults were human and believable. Camden, who at the beginning, seemed perfect, progressed through the novel, as regular quirky teenager. I also loved that the supporting characters were also well described and well developed.

One of the things I loved about this book was that it addressed many of the common problems teenagers face such depression, broken families, and making bad choices. One of Ari's issues that I found most significant is the responsibility of being the main caregiver to her younger half sister which resulted in her loss of freedom. The story highlights Ari's conflicted feelings about helping her family and having the life of a normal teenager. Another important element of this story is how Ari and Camden's relationship grew during the summer. It was refreshing to see a teenage romance that wasn't full of angst.

I think a really quirky but cute part of the book was the fandom elements. Being a generation X(er), I was not that familiar with cosplay. Castle did a wonderful job of describing the elements of this. I totally got how the characters could be so caught in that world. I totally want to watch a couple of episodes of 'Silver Arrow'.

I loved this book. I think it is a great read, especially for young adults that are struggling with their relationships and depression. Would highly recommend.This review was originally posted on The Book return...
Profile Image for Bethany Miller.
489 reviews34 followers
Want to read
January 3, 2017
Student Review by: Myliah WP. (11th Grade)
Grade Range: 8th grade and up
Genre: Young Adult
Literary Merit: Good
Characterization: Very Good
What Happens Now follows a girl named Ari Logan who is battling a war against depression and her family with the added goodness of falling in love, dealing with new friends, and losing best friends. The novel takes readers through the ups and downs of a summer that Ari will never forget.

Now to tell you the truth, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this story. I was curious about it for sure, but I wondered if it was going to be your boring old troubled girl falls in love with seemingly ok boy, he saves her but now she has to save him as well. To my surprise, it got deep into their lives and how the summer changes both Ari and Camden (seemingly ok boy). As I got deeper into the story, I enjoyed it and it pulled me in. It had very good character development for both of the main characters but somewhat little on the side characters like Eliza or Max, who were Camden’s best friends and seemed like they had secrets too. I wanted to know their lives too not just Ari’s and Camden’s. The artwork on the book’s cover was really well done and was what sparked my interest in reading it. This book brings a more real idea of what depression is. It’s different from other books as they kind of glorify the struggle with fighting the need to harm yourself. What Happens Now shows that sometimes you just don’t know what makes you depressed and you don’t really ever know. I like this book because of that realness it brought. Overall, It was a really well written book and I really liked reading it.

Recommendation: Anyone who likes young adult novels and reading about a summer that even they will not forget.

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