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The Possibility of Now

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  1,177 ratings  ·  199 reviews
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-walk-out kind of meltdown. And she didn't plan on a video of it going viral. And she definitely didn't plan on never wanting to show her face again.

Mara knows she
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published January 26th 2016 by Point
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  1,177 ratings  ·  199 reviews

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Jen Ryland
Feb 13, 2016 marked it as setting-aside-for-now
I liked the premise of The Possibility of Now -- a girl, under tremendous pressure to do well at her elite school and get into a good college, freaks out during a calculus test and this episode ends up on YouTube. I think the tremendous academic pressure many kids are under is a subject that YA books don't usually tackle head-on. But that's not the main focus of the book and there were other aspects of it that I wasn't as crazy about.

The main character, to get away from all the internet
Jan 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Ok. So I can definitely appreciate the fundamental themes behind The Possibility of Now.

As someone who went to a competitive high school, I saw more than my fair share of academic-incurred meltdowns, similar to Mara’s. So I am all in favor of books that teach teens how to find a healthy balance between academics and having a social life.

But where I think …Now struggles, is through Culbertson’s execution. We’re presented with a compelling set-up: Mara has a public meltdown during an exam, which
Brices Mice Christian Book Reviews
Wow! Talk about the stress you face in school...this poor girl has reached her limit! Mara's total meltdown during her calculus exam is captured on You Tube and her life is changed forever.

The story unravels as Mara decides to take a break from her perfectionist life to visit the dad that she only has a bit of memory of due to her Mom's "let's keep it a secret" attitude. Yes, Mara's family life at home with her brothers and stepdad is great, but she feels a new change of pace and life style is
Maryam Dinzly
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS BOOK. I think I devoured it within 3 hours. YUP, I DID. This book hooked me in from the start, in which I instantly love Mara James. I mean,she tore up her test paper! IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TEST. IN AN ELITE SCHOOL. Yeah, I definitely love her, alright. I definitely relate to Mara since the first page, and I actually think that most readers will relate to her, whether you go to an elite school or not, becausewe all know what it's like to NEED to do well. To always have ...more
Nicole Hoefs
I was excited when I got approved to read the ARC of this book via Edelweiss for Sunday Street Team. It was an enjoyable read. The characters seemed realistic to me, and I especially loved Logan. Mara was a pretty great main character, and I loved watching her transform during her time in Tahoe, finally learning to let go a bit.

The book had a few slow moments, but overall it was entertaining. As someone who has never been skiing or snowboarding (shocking since I live in Wisconsin), it was really
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. I had really big expectations for this book because I loved her other book 'Catch a falling star' but this book wasn't as inspirational. The book itself started a little slow. The book went on to have a mysterious factor involving the pasts of her mom and dad. But it didn't draw me in as much as you would think. I really hated her mom and dad the whole book. They didn't seem to care about what she wanted in opposed to what they thought. The end wasn't bad but it was lacking the ...more
Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten! I got a finished copy of the book for review from the publisher.
Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity?
0 (barista from Singapore, an unspecified Asian girl that hands around, a Latina best friend–all periphery characters with no depth)
Disability: -5 (takes a large dump all over therapy and what it can do for people)
Intersectionality: 0

I go to college with two incredible women. One of them, Lori, is as nonstop as Alexander Hamilton.
Jul 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Nice fairly wholesome YA book. Great for teen girl who isn't ready for to much adult material. Sweet story about a girl who has a meltdown in class and of course it is posted on You Tube. So she takes a break from her highly competitive high school in San Diego to stay with her Dad ,who she doesn't really know, in Truckee/Tahoe area. Nice setting, story revolves around Mara and her discovery of herself. Fun backdrop of the skiing environment.
Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
So, I picked up this book because the author is coming to talk at my library. Although I knew it was not my style, it did not totally disappoint me. It had a strong message (that I should take to heart), some funny comments, and overall was a good read.
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Super insightful. The teenage girl could teach many adults a few lessons.

“I shouldn’t care what most people think of me”
“But I think the thing to remember is most people aren’t”
“Aren’t what”
“Thinking about you. In my experience most people are just trying to find their car keys.”
Apr 30, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016-releases
This book caught my attention because of the setting. I grew up half an hour away from Lake Tahoe, and I was really interested to see a place that I've been going to for as long as I cam remember be portrayed in a book. I don't know what it was, but something about the portrayal of Tahoe just felt kind of off to me. Maybe it was Mara's perception of it, but something about it didn't feel quite right. I know that people perceive things differently, but Tahoe has never seemed like an especially ...more
Aug 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Solid contemporary (think Elizabeth Eulberg). It was funny and talked about things I haven't seen YA books talk about yet, like first world problems and how other people's worse problems don't negate your own, but the main character was a little too self-righteous for me, amongst other issues:
-it harped on too much about the competitive vs. noncompetitive lifestyles—everybody seemed to have an opinion one way or another, which seemed unrealistic to me
-it felt like the author started the book
Mar 14, 2018 rated it liked it
The Possibility of Now by Kim Culbertson is about Mara James, a perfectionist, list making high school student who has a panic attack during one of her classes. It ends up on YouTube and receives a lot of views. This makes Mara want to get away, and so she does. She goes to stay with her biological father, Trick, in Tahoe.

At first, The Possibility of Now was slow. Like, really slow. I couldn't get into it. I felt like all I was doing was watching someone sit and study all day-- and that's all
Jun 05, 2017 added it
This is a very sweet YA novel that every driven, AP test-taking junior should read. It offers the possibility of another way through that might seem more humane, indeed, more human, and make room for young people to consider a more true, or complete, expression of who they really are, and hope to be, in the world.
Victoria (thepetitebookblogger)
The Possibility of Now had such a potential to be great, with its original plot and themes of self discovery, rebuilding relationships and learning how to have a healthy balance with school work and life. It sounded like something that I would like reading. Unfortunately, The Possibility of Now evolved from Mara learning how to deal with the aftermath of her very public meltdown and discovering what it’s like to live in the now to a romance and spending every waking minute skiing. Now, I ...more
Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely adored The Possibility of Now, by Kim Culbertson. Mara, an overachieving student and chronic list maker, buckles under the pressure to be the best. Even worse, her meltdown has thousands of views thanks to the cruel person who uploaded it to YouTube. She just wants to get away from the pressure and decides out of the blue to go visit her father, a man she doesn’t really know. The ski resort town where he lives sounds like the perfect place for Mara can to learn to live in the moment ...more
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received a free copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for a honest review.

Rating: 3.75 Stars

I think this book is one of those that you'll appreciate as a standalone story, but you'll appreciate it much more if you're someone who is into skiing, snowboarding, etc.

I was mainly interested in this book because I thought that witnessing Mara's academic "difficulties" and her handling them would make for a good read. They did and I was pleased to see how things worked out in the end.

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 12, 2016 rated it liked it
This was cute! I gobbled (most) of this up super quickly, but found myself slipping away and losing interest once Mara got together with the eventual "love interest." After a few obstacles were cleared, this felt a little too much like insta-love. Yes, they were friends for a while first, but once they got together, they were suddenly IN LOVE. It was too much, too soon.

There were definitely moments where I felt like I was way too old for this stuff. Mara can be super sensitive. And sometimes
Lexi Wright
Sep 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, reviewed
Junior year is intense enough without having your meltdown in calculus class caught on video and shared thousands of times online. That’s one reason why superachiever Mara has decided to leave her hypercompetitive prep school in San Diego and hunker down in Tahoe for the rest of the school year. Getting to know her estranged dad is another. And so is learning to ski, upping her self-care, and kissing a cute snowboarder, all items on Mara’s evolving “Now List.” Using her list as a springboard ...more
Dec 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
All I can say is, wow! This is not the typical book I would pick up off the selves, but I'm certainly glad I did! The Possibility of Now by Kim Culbertson sheds light on serious topics, such as anxiety and the pressure parents put on their children. Mara is role model for any student, getting the chance to live as "San Diego Mara", "Tahoe Mara", and well, just Mara. Mara troubled past with her father and perfectionism make her easily relatable. She taught us all that living in the now, is not ...more
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“ Apparently, you can do your best and not achieve your goal. Turns out, you can't do anything just because you set your mind to it. Which changes things, doesn't it?”

Do you want to read a book about relatable topics? I would definitely recommend The Possibly Of Now by Kim Culbertson! Even the title is relatable, to me it means just think about the now not the past. This is very good read that you can easily get lost in and read for hours. It hits topics like drama, friends, school, and
Michelle Wrona
This review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!

While writing this review, I just realized that the author of this novel is Kim Culbertson, author of Catch a Falling Star, another book published by Point which was a horrendously cheesy story I did not enjoy. I think that if I was aware of that beforehand, there would have been a large chance that I wouldn't have picked this one up. The Possibility of Now was a cheesy chick-lit contemporary romance, but, as you can
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Even though young adult contemporary is my all time favorite genre, I've been feeling a little burned out on it lately. Most of the titles I've ended up picking up in the last while have been something of a letdown. They're either full of unnecessary or unsuitable content, or plagued by eye-rolling predictable tropes. However, reading The Possibility of Now reminded me once again as to why I love the young adult contemporary genre so much, and this story is truly an underrated gem.

I've had
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 11, 2017 added it
I loved this book so much! I loved the whole skiing scene (being a skiier myself), and it was such an interesting perspective to see. I started skiing when I was one and a half, and so I have grown up skiing, and absolutely love it. I am also a perfectionist, and like Mara, I have a lot of plans. So, it was interesting for me to read about this girl who reminded me so much of myself learning to ski just because she enjoyed it.
I didn't have a ton of expectations for this book, seeing as I
Mara has had a recent breakdown, complete with ripping up tests in math class at her high pressure high school, and having the video posted online. Because of this, she decided to leave San Diego for a while and live with her estranged father in Tahoe to avoid the craziness and live more in the "now." She often creates lists to help her stay on track, so her "now" list includes things like "kiss a snowboarder" and "meditate." She immediately finds friends in Logan, Isabel, and Beck and starts to ...more
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Reading this book made me 1. fall in love and want to visit Lake Tahoe, 2. feel good about my list-making obsession and 3. want to have the Elevation coffee shop in my backyard... From the moment I opened this book, I fell in love with it. For the three things I mentioned earlier, I felt it belonged on my bookshelf. And as for the story itself, I also loved. It was fun and easy to picture and wish for. It was eventful yet light and easy to read. It was another one of those where the pages just ...more
Jan 23, 2018 rated it liked it
A quick, fast read that I didn't expect to like as much as I did. I picked this up as a light read after a series of serious adult novels and WWII historical fiction. Drawn by the plot-line: a h.s. junior who has a "meltdown" in class one day and reevaluates her lifelong ambition and dream of perfectionism and goal to be class valedictorian. Set in Lake Tahoe, the ski town connection appealed to me.

At first I was disappointed by the plot and characters (too much of a contrast to the depth and
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
I didn’t love this book. I thought it had a good plot, but the execution went wrong somewhere. I felt that during the book I couldn’t quite identify the plot anymore. There’s a romance, love triangle thing that I thought was completely unrealistic and eventually gets put in the backseat. I felt that the author was just stuffing things in the book that stray from the original plot.

Now let’s talk about the characters. I thought they lacked depth and development. Also, doesn’t this author work
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Kim Culbertson is the author of the teen novels THE WONDER OF US (Scholastic 2017), THE POSSIBILITY OF NOW (Scholastic 2016), CATCH A FALLING STAR (Scholastic 2014), INSTRUCTIONS FOR A BROKEN HEART (Sourcebooks 2011), and SONGS FOR A TEENAGE NOMAD (Sourcebooks 2010).

She believes books make the world a better place.

Happy Reading!
“Sometimes people can grow miles apart... Even in the smallest of houses” 0 likes
“Apparently, you can do your best and not achieve your goal. Turns out, you can't do anything just because you set your mind to it. Which changes things, doesn't it?” 0 likes
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