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The sequel to The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You, inspired by The Importance of Being Earnest.

Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn't going to do this summer.

1. She isn't going to stay home in Sacramento, where she'd have to sit through her stepmother's sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. She isn't going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
3. And she certainly isn't going to the Air Force summer program on her mother's base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender's Game, Ellie's seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it's much less Luke/Yoda/"feel the force," and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn't appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she'd be able to defeat afterwards.

What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she's going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?

This summer's going to be great.

320 pages, Hardcover

First published November 21, 2017

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About the author

Lily Anderson

16 books662 followers
Lily Anderson is the author of THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU, NOT NOW NOT EVER, and UNDEAD GIRL GANG. A former school librarian, she is deeply devoted to Shakespeare, fairy tales, and podcasts. Somewhere in Northern California, she is having strong opinions on musical theater. Find her online at www.mslilyanderson.com

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 223 reviews
Profile Image for Sherwood Smith.
Author 150 books37.5k followers
June 17, 2017
This YA novel with a romantic thread is every bit as wonderful as the author's previous. This one features protagonists mostly seventeen, the summer before senior year of high school. Elliott has sneakily signed up for a summer camp for smart nerds, given at a college that has a famous science fiction section. Her mother expects her to stay with family tradition and go into the military; her step-mother and lawyer father are horrified at the idea and want her to stay close.

So she runs away . . . to summer camp for smart kids, and changes her name to Ever Lawrence. But she discovers to her horror that her incredibly annoying cousin Isaiah, who is not even sixteen, also got in. The two of them pretend to be twins, so that Isaiah won't get booted out, their decision more of a truce, or mutual blackmail, than friendship.

The camp is run by college-age counselors, and it's mostly based on mountains of trivia in a lot of subjects, but surprisingly enough, not math. There's a reason for that, and a mystery, and a beautifully developed romance, and some very sharply realized emotional growing up, which often times smart kids don't have to do, because they intimidate (or fog) everyone around them.

It's funny, full of great characters; Anderson understands smart kids and their warts as well as their great qualities. The mystery gets solved, and Elliott has to make some hard decisions. Terrific voice, great pace, heartfelt moments as well as the fun. So far this author is batting two for two (books I read on NetGalley that I buy for my shelves.)

Copy provided courtesy of NetGalkey
Profile Image for Jen Ryland.
1,550 reviews912 followers
November 17, 2017
Not Now, Not Ever read at times like sort of a nerd Hunger Games, as a bunch of competitive, gifted kids compete for a college scholarship in the intense and hilarious way that only nerdy kids can. (As a former Academic Decathlon participant, I'm not embarrassed to admit that I know a tiny bit about intense nerdy competitions.) Though I AM embarrassed to admit that I was the Literature specialist in Academic Decathlon and I don't remember one single thing about The Importance of Being Earnest which this is inspired by.

lol - I just realized the pun in the title.

Longer review on the blog and I will be part of the blog tour!

Read more of my reviews on JenRyland.com or check out my Bookstagram!
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,738 reviews709 followers
October 24, 2017
I didn’t even read the synopsis for this book. Between that cover and Lily’s name attached to it, I was sold.

I love love loved Elliot. Her inner monologue is snarky and fantastic. She’s smart and strong and truly delightful. I don’t even know what to say about the adorable-ness that is fluent in French Brandon and I’m absolutely ready for a story with Leigh as the MC. Ohh and I was borderline maniacal with glee when I saw Ben and Trixie again.

Plot wise, it was fun. There were a lot of pop culture references and more snark than you could shake a stick at. And never did I feel like I wasn’t smart enough to read a book about geniuses. If anything, I want to start it all over again.

Overall, there is absolutely no worry of a sophomore slump with this book and I can’t even wait to see what Lily gives us next.

**Huge thanks to Wednesday books for providing the arc free of charge**
Profile Image for Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd).
1,224 reviews257 followers
November 7, 2017
4.5 Stars
“I was ready to be comfortably in the middle of a story instead of running toward the end. I was done trying to outpace myself.”

This was such a fun book! There was drama and laughs and lots of fantastic banter - everything you could want from an Wildean-inspired tale. Not Now, Not Ever follows Elliot Lawrence Gabaroch as she reinvents herself as Ever Lawrence, and sneaks away to a genius camp for a chance to win a scholarship to her dream school. Ever’s love of scienec fiction writing puts her on the outs of her Air Force legacy family, but Ever is willing to do anything to make her dream come true. But complications arise and hilarity ensures as the teens battle it out for the scholarships. Not Now, Not Ever is an engaging tale of family expectation and reinvention.

Things I Liked
I really liked the inclusion of the quotes from The Importance of Being Earnest. Ever’s familiarity with the play from her stepmom’s recurring roles in local plays was great and didn’t feel forced. I loved seeing her applying the play to her situation.

There was such a great exploration of identity, secrets, and presentation of self - all of which perfectly reflect both Ever’s journey and The Importance of Being Earnest. I liked that we get to see that everyone has secrets and creates a performance for others.

I really loved seeing Ever and Leigh’s friendship develop. I’m always here for friendships in stories and I loved that they didn’t drift into competitive meangirls even when the scholarship prize is so lifechanging.

There was such great banter and humor! I was constantly laughing and smiling, and it made the story so easy to read. I didn’t want to stop. All the flirty banter between Ever and Brandon was fantastic too!

Things I Didn’t Like
It was a little hard to keep track of who all the other teammates were at the beginning of the story. Quite a few of them just ran together and I didn’t really differentiate them until about halfway into the story.

This was just such a fun story and there were so many great characters. The story was dramatic and charming and lively. Not Now, Not Ever is a must read for fans of humorous reads.

I received a copy of the book from Wednesday Books in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Samantha (WLABB).
3,540 reviews234 followers
November 19, 2017
Rating: 4.5 Stars

This was so much fun! I loved Elliot/Ever and her band of nerdy geniuses, and THAT's how you do an ending.

This was one of my Can't-Wait Wednesday picks, and I must say, I had chosen well, because this was such a fun and delightful read. The synopsis does say this is a sequel, but my understanding is it's more of a companion. There are characters featured from Anderson's last book, which I am definitely going to read, but I did not feel out of the loop reading this book, without having read The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You (but I am going to buy it!). There are so many things to love, and here's my short list.

•This is a great twist on The Importance of Being Earnest. Like Jack, Elliot had a lot of responsibilities. She had to forgo her own activities to babysit her younger bother and volunteer at her step-mother's theatre. She was also facing pressure from her mother's clan to uphold the family legacy, and enlist in the air force. Unable to pursue her own passions as herself, she created an alter ego, much like how
Jack had Ernest, and set out to claim her dream of studying science fiction. Not only did the play inspire the story, it had a place in the story, as Elliot's step mother was repeatedly involved in a production of the play, and lines from the script worked their way into Elliot's inner monologues. I thought it was quite an ingenious way to include the original work, and found the passaged quoted quite brilliantly place.

•I fell in love with Elliot. She very fresh and a definite standout among YA protagonists. Her head was quite an entertaining place to be, as she shared her musings about serious and inane things, but I also loved the way she grew over the course of this book. It may have been a short time at the Melee, but it was a valuable experience for Elliot.

•The crew at Camp Onward featured so many fantastic characters. It made me giddy being surrounded by this quirky band of geniuses. With that many uber-intelligent people in one place, you know we are going to get exposed to some great nerdy talk involving fandoms. Fabulous references abounded in this book, and I loved every second of it.

•The characters in general were very well done. Each felt well crafted, their characteristics carefully selected to enhance my reading experience.

•I loved the extra challenges at Camp Onward! They had me at amoeba tag.

•The romance was so sweet. I love a good romance, and I had no problem shipping these two from their first meeting. There was something special in their interactions and the way they were with each other, that just made me want them to succeed.

•The ending!!!! I know I complain A LOT about endings, but this one was spot on. All I am going to say is that it put a big, stupid grin on my face and I still have a little warmth in my heart as I write this review.

Overall: I have always enjoyed fun and endearing nerdy romance, and I am so excited to have found a YA author, who can fill that place in my world.

*I would like to thank the publisher for the advance copy of this book.

Profile Image for Olivia Chanel's Stories in Space.
245 reviews14 followers
November 22, 2017
Thank you, St. Martin’s Press, for my ARC of Not Now, Not Ever. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

I have fallen in love with Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson. This book is funny, adorable, and perfect for anyone interested in a nerdy romantic comedy. This diverse contemporary young adult story is about Ever and her summer at a competitive camp for geniuses where she has the chance to win a scholarship to her dream school. The only catch is that everyone in her family thinks she is somewhere else and no one at camp knows her real identity.

Elliot Gabaroche was everywhere and nowhere. Ever Lawrence, seventeen-year-old girl and newly certified genius, was going to summer camp.

Not Now, Not Ever is inspired by The Importance of Being Earnest and that makes the story that much more interesting. The book has the best vibes and if you are interested in young adult books that actually show the characters studying, this is it. Not only those this novel gives you the best nerdy fantasy vibes, it also has a romantic plot that will make readers swoon. The relationships that exist between all of the characters, especially the deep friendships that develop, are what makes this book so great.

“We could be two people who like each other, who care about each other. I want to know you. I want to know what happens when you go home. I want to know what you think about things and what you’re reading and what you see.”

If you want a light young adult story with romantic, nerdy, hilarious and just plain heartwarming moments, Not Now, Not Ever is a great choice. Don't hesitate to grab this book at your bookstore or at your library. The cast of characters is diverse, the main character is a black girl and there is no shortage of characters that people will relate to. There is so much about this book readers will fall in love with.
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,476 reviews1,893 followers
January 15, 2018
NOT NOW, NOT EVER was.. not what I was expecting. I had completely forgotten this was a sorta-sequel, definite-companion, to THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU. So seeing some familiar faces a few years on from Anderson's debut was a total delight and I loved all of them so much. I loved the concept of this genius camp that had an almost HUNGER GAMES-style competition, but nerdy and sans death; I loved all the characters (seriously, all of them, that almost never happens) that made up Elliot's team and all the hijinks that ensued; I also loved the love interest. But did I love Elliot? Um..

No, no I didn't, not really. Between her and all of the family obligation/armed forces stuff I was just either completely confused or completely checked out and uninterested. Sometimes all three at once. Also the sibling dynamic she's forced to take on with her cousin, and all the complications of that plus the pre-existing dislike, was not fun at all.

"How did you know that I would be up this early?"
"I saw you stretching outside of the dorms and followed you out."
"Oh, good. I was afraid the answer was going to be something creepy."

Ultimately there was a lot to like about this one, including some genuine lol moments, but a lot that worked against it, too. I'm not entirely sure I would recommend this title but for those interested you could totally skip Anderson's first book and read this as a standalone. But it's a lot more fun if you read in order. And I would highly recommend the aforementioned debut because it is wonderful. While this wasn't a winner for me I'm still completely onboard with whatever Anderson comes out with next -- and you can bet your ass it's already on my tbr.
Profile Image for Dahlia.
Author 18 books2,498 followers
July 2, 2017
So fun and cute. I love that Anderson has totally made "Nerdy Rom Coms Based on Classics" her skillful niche. Really liked the military angle to Ever's background, too, as well as the family and racial dynamics. Also, calling it now that Ever will realize she's bi in college.
Profile Image for fatma.
922 reviews652 followers
July 10, 2018
What can I say? It was fine. The main character was fine, the plot was fine, the love interest was fine. Just...mediocre. Don't really have anything else to say about this. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Profile Image for Claire.
798 reviews91 followers
November 13, 2017
While it took sometime for me to get into the story, it ended up becoming something that I wasn't expecting: fun and hilarious! Probably the best contemporary I've read this year. The only thing that's lacking is a Quidditch match!

**Full review now posted in my book blog!

Note: I won this book in a goodreads giveaway but this does not, in any way, affect my review. All thoughts are my own.
Profile Image for Beth.
1,158 reviews118 followers
December 31, 2017
This is really good. It's good because of its protagonist, who is fabulous: believably smart and warm and and funny and an interesting person and a good friend:
I didn't want to go into law like my dad. I didn't want to sell real estate. I didn't want to enlist the second I left high school.

I wanted the one thing that would unite all of my parents against me. I wanted to go to Rayevich College, the only school in the country with a science fiction literature program. I wanted four years of classes on Octavia Butler and Sheri S. Tepper and biomechanics and astrophysics.

I wanted what both sides of my family would call "an expensive waste of time."
And it's good because of Brandon, who is also believably smart and warm and funny and an interesting person and a good friend.

It's good because its central characters are well-drawn, wonderful people. It's good because the people around them are mostly well-drawn, too.

It falls short with the plot, though. Anything unrelated to family is poorly developed. The backstory is hinted to but unexplained, which means a lot of events - especially Brandon's friendships! - feel unaccounted for. The conspiracy is weakly plotted and some character behavior owes more to circumstance than to earned development. Leigh isn't shown to be the great detective the plot needs her to be at the end of the story. I'm not sure I buy Brandon's backstory for a guy this well-adjusted. The scholarship program benchmarks seem to shift around - what are the rules? Who wins, and how, and why? - and the rules around the counselors also go unmentioned until they're necessary.

And I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that, under the unique family and military trappings, this is a fairly standard-issue YA novel.

But Ellie's family stuff, and even some of the academic pressure, are so fabulous they almost make up for the plot flaws. And then there are some of the most aptly-timed Oscar Wilde references...
Profile Image for sil ♡ the book voyagers.
1,120 reviews2,808 followers
May 16, 2017
Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for the egalley. All opinions are my own.

Lily Anderson wrote a nerdy contemporary YA and it was the best thing in the world. Now I know I have to read the one before this one because the ship (and various characters) appear in this book but OLDER. So they're in the age of NA and that makes me want to scream so I want to read it because I just know I'll love it a lot.

I also loved this one a lot obviously *stares at rating* I'm a sucker for nerdy romances. Or nerdy theme in books. It's one of my favorite tropes/theme/kinks around. So what happens is that Ever, our protagonist, runs away to summer camp instead of going to air force camp and she changes her name (a nickname) and her last name (her other last name). But she goes to summer camp OF GENIUSES. Lit all of the people in this camp are geniuses. They know so much and are A+ amazing woah like for real. Ever meets so many great people including her new roomate Leigh who is freaking amazing, and Brandon, a boy who has long bangs, thick eyebrows, has a typewriter instead of a laptop and loveeees math.

Everything about this book is so adorable and FUN. It never got tiresome or boring or like I needed to stop. I binge read this mf book you all. It's so GOOOOOOD. It's the perfect summer book that for sure will make you smile and cry.
Profile Image for Ana.
2,352 reviews325 followers
January 1, 2018
It's like "Starter for Ten", but with a much more interesting protagonist. The romantic plot was ok, but what really made this book for me was Elliot and how she tries to figure out her path, torn between going into the army or furthering her sci-fi education in colleague.
Profile Image for malayna.
621 reviews24 followers
April 23, 2018

This is going to be a short review because I'm supposed to be doing other stuff and instead am procrastinating :)

This is the companion novel to one of my absolute favorite books, The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You that I recently read.

I really loved this book as a whole. It wasn't quite as amazing as the first book but it wasn't faulty in the slightest.

The characters were cute and smart. I like characters who possess a brain and the ability to actually think because that is so rare in books these days. Geeks are not a huge part of the modern literary world.

Ever, or Elliott, or whatever you want to call her, was a girl who wanted to restart her life and get away from her parents' dreams for her and instead do what she wants to do. She decides to run away to a camp offering a scholarship to a school that I could not remember or pronounce that has a sci-fi segment that she really enjoys. She enters the genius camp and there we see her surrounded by smart people, some annoying, some amazing, some cute or funny. I liked the cameos of the characters from the other book (especially Ben and Trixie!).

Brandon, who is another cameo from the first book, was our other major character. He was a shady, introverted, not-so-boisterous guy who ends up becoming the love interest of the book. I thought it was interesting how he was given more of a backstory and we learn things about him that we didn't know just from reading the first book. He annoyed me back then but reading this book, he soon became one of my favorites.

Leigh was a smart girl who ended up deducing the entire mystery portion of this book. I thought that she added the humor and overall lightness to this book that I really needed. She also was dramatic and helpful and always ready to lend a helpful hand.

I really loved this book and I would be interested to read more about these characters in the future!

I would recommend this book to the Awesome Nerds of the world! Also, just to anyone who's looking for a good book :)

Main Character: Ever
Sidekick(s): Brandon, Leigh, etc
Villain(s): Deceit, lies, etc
Fiction Elements: All of this book was entirely fictional.
Profile Image for Mandy.
636 reviews67 followers
August 20, 2017
*I was provided an e-ARC of this book from the publisher - thanks so much for sending me over a copy!!*

I absolutely loved Anderson's prior novel, The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You, which was a contemporary, geeky retelling of Much Ado About Nothing, one of my favorite classics ever. It featured a geeky Beatrice and Benedict in a genius school. It was so much fun and for a while, it hung out on my favorites shelf...until I kind of forgot everything about it? Well, good thing, I went and bought it after finishing this one because now I can refresh and perhaps get more excited with all the wonderful cameos from the other characters from the first. 

What has not changed from the first book to the second is Anderson's ability to write. She has showcased herself to be a retelling and contemporary genius with these two books, and I can't wait to see what she does next (um, her new book slated for 2018 sounds amazing and is already chilling on my give it to me nowwwwwwwwww shelf). She's witty, easy to read, and adds her retelling elements in so nicely and brilliantly. 

Obviously, what I loved about this the most was the Importance of Being Earnest inclusion. Anderson did a wonderful job with including a lot of the elements infused in the novel with and without the reader knowing it. The Bunburying of Ever and her "new brother" was brilliant, and the first few chapters had me cracking up with all the little remarks about it. I was fangirling hardddddd.

I also loveddddd Ellie. She was so much fun, she was funny, and she was the perfect heroine for this story. The rest of the characters were a lot of fun, but Ellie was the brightest star of the bunch.

I did have two gripes in this book that did take away a bit of the enjoyment. The first was there was kind of two many characters? I kept getting lost with the characters and I'm like, ah, I have no clue who is supposed to be who. I kept getting lost, which is a pitfall of the camp setting.

The other issue was the pacing, which I thought went a bit too slow. And because it was going so slow, I kept getting confused. I felt this book was a bit too smart for me at times? I would just sit there going, but wait, I'm confused? And I'm not even sure why. I'm not even sure how to explain it. But the pacing really threw me off. 

Overall, though, there were a lot of fun contemporary goodness in this book. Anderson does such a good job with the retelling, and she is a fantastic writer. However, there were just a few issues I had with this book to make it from being great. And if you're going to read this one, I definitely recommend reading the first book because the cameos would make far more sense and I mean, it's really good. ;) And thank you, thank you, thank you for creating an Importance retelling, and I so hope that more of these will show up in YA in the future. Three crowns for this book, and a Belle rating! 
Profile Image for Sophie.
1,235 reviews445 followers
July 27, 2018
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way impacted on my view.

The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You was one of my favourite debuts of 2016, and when I heard that their would be a sequel, albeit following different characters but linked to the prequel, I couldn't wait. Again, this was a case of forgetting all about having an ARC, and it was only recently that I remembered I had a copy of Not Now, Not Ever, so I thought it was time to give it a go.

Not Now, Not Ever follows Elliot, who, in order to go to a prestigious summer camp with the hopes of winning a scholarship, starts over as Ever. She has pressure from both sides or her family, to either join the Air Force or become a lawyer, neither of which sound like a good fit for her. Instead, all she wants to do is go to college, Rayevich College to be precise, to study their unique Science Fiction Literature program. Both sides of her family have opinions on this, and the only way for her to succeed is to go behind their backs, and prove to them that she is capable of winning the scholarship, and earning her right to go to the school she wants, to do what she decides. What throws a spanner in the works, however, is that her genius cousin has had the same idea, and now they're having to pretend to be twins, and know that if one gets caught, the other goes down with them.

Originally I wasn't sure how much of a 'sequel' this book would be to Anderson's debut, but I was pleasantly surprised that it was set in the same place, and the summer camp was linked to the school that original gang went too. Also, the main characters from TOTWTMIY were camp counsellors and Brandon, who was one of my favourite side characters.

Basically, the main premise of Not Now, Not Ever follows a competition in which the campers need to complete academic task, and the winner wins a scholarship. They are grouped into teams to work together, but when it gets to the final tasks, they will be on their own. In Ever's group is Brandon, and they get close while revising, and if I didn't already think that Bea and Ben from TOTWTMIY were the ultimate OTP, they would be in the running. They slowly open up to each other about what they've been hiding since they started the programme, and it was lovely to see how they grew themselves by having someone as a sort of soundboard to be there for them to vent.

Obviously, the whole plan doesn't go that way Ever thought (hoped/wished) it would, and there is a lot of angst at times that could've been solved with a bit more honesty, and I think between that and the rather abrupt ending, I couldn't give the book 5 stars. I've also never read The Importance of Being Earnest or anything by Wilde, so I don't know how close to the original this retelling is. However, if you enjoyed Anderson's debut, I'd say you would also enjoy this one.
Profile Image for Katy Kelly.
2,127 reviews76 followers
November 21, 2017
The geek shall inherit the earth

Anderson's first 'had me at hello' - a contemporary teen story based on my favourite Shakespeare comedy (much like Ten Things I Hate About You), set in a high school. A high school for genuises. So it really was a geek-fest of epic proportions, celebrating intelligence and wit.

I was absolutely prepared to break out the popcorn and feast for a second time of more of the same. And Beatrice and Benedick (or their modern counterparts) even feature as secondary characters!

This time, the world expands to feature a summer camp, in which high school students can win scholarships to an elite college by out-performing each other in a series of tests and challenges. Sneaking away from her aspirational family (half of whom want Elliott to follow the family military route), she reinvents herself as Ever, and even finds another relative doing something similar!

The stage is set for a comedy of errors as Ever/Elliott attempts to make friends, win the scholarship and keep her identity under wraps. All while quoting in her mind from Oscar Wilde.

The Wildean connection I found rather tenuous. I know 'Earnest' fairly well and just didn't see this as a modern retelling. Having Ever quote it regularly, because her stepmother has performed it so many times and rehearsed with her step-daughter just felt a little forced. I loved the book, but didn't feel it connected at all well, unlike its predecessor.

You can very easily read this without knowing Wilde, and though a knowledge of Anderson's first will help with some in-jokes and references, that isn't necessary pre-reading either.

The characters are not quite as sparky and punchily witty as Ben and Bea in the first tale, but Ever is a likeable sci-fi nerd, effortlessly cool in the physical trials of the summer camp (an athletic geek?!), with other characters around her just as standout on the page.

I was waiting for a 'handbag' moment, the final line or its equivalent from 'Earnest' but I did like the teen romance/comedy/geekfest I found.

And I look forward to seeing what classic Anderson looks to next for her inspiration.

With thanks to Netgalley for the advance reading copy.
Profile Image for Thamy.
488 reviews24 followers
November 27, 2017
3.5 rounded up to 4 stars.

I really liked Anderson's style in The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You and was excited to see what had done ever since. I don't regret it. I only pity the fact that it took me finishing the book and checking again the first one to notice there were many characters that had made a comeback. Now I'm super sad.

I guess my experience proves how this can be read as a standalone.

Tired of being in the middle of a family feud on what her future should be, Elliot has changed her name and ran away to Oregon to take part in a competition. The winner would get a scholarship to the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program, her dream. But the competition is crazier than she thinks, being surrounded by geniuses and crazy counselors as well as a cute nerd carrying a typewriter around and... what is her nemesis-slash-cousin doing there?

I remember I liked The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You, I really liked it. I was hooked to the characters, the writing, the romance. The moment I finished this one I went back to my review to check everything—that was when I found out that most of the characters came back as counselors in Ellie's competition. I'm sure knowing that would have made it all much more interesting because one of the troubles I had was the number of characters being introduced at once, but that is still a negative considering most of the readers won't have read the other story.

And the romance didn't get me. This was my bigger disappointment. I never got into Ellie's personality but I also couldn't really fall for Brandon. I think he could have gotten more depth. Anderson proved she could make other love stories, theirs was almost the opposite from what I had read in TOTWTMEY, I liked this but not the romance itself.

Talking about depth, the plot itself did have it. Ellie has divorced parents plus a stepmom who doesn't seem to be evil but also seems to be ready to dictate her life just like her own mother. Her whole family has her future planned since forever to a point Ellie isn't sure of her real self. That's a superb theme for a YA. Anderson gives it a comic twist while still exploring it well. I was afraid that Ellie would never have to face her own flaws but yes, she also needs to do it and I loved the subtlety of how it was done. One of the problems of YA conflicts is predictability and this one I hadn't really foreseen—not that it's a mind-blowing plot twist, it just wasn't there all along just making you anxious about the moment it would happen, I hate stories like that.

And the story as a whole was superfun. A bunch of high schoolers having the college-like experience of living in a dorm but controlled by some useless counselors who didn't really want to be there. Plot twist: they're all geniuses except when it comes to common sense. This was hilarious. Excellent idea, perfect execution.

If you like reading stories about having fun and don't mind some blah romance, you should get this one. Let's see what Lily Anderson will bring us next.
Profile Image for K..
3,796 reviews1,021 followers
April 17, 2019
Trigger warnings: some minor violence, minor racism/ableism/sexism (all of which is called out). I think that's it!

I stand by everything I said last time. This is stinking adorable, although I do wish the "YOUR FAMILY EXPECTS YOU TO JOIN THE AIR FORCE" plot wasn't as present as it is, because it makes me incredibly uncomfortable.

4.5 stars.

I was RIDICULOUSLY excited about this book when I found out it existed a couple of days ago. And I was ridiculously excited for two reasons:
1. It's a companion novel to The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You, which is a YA contemporary retelling of Much Ado About Nothing, which I read and adored last year, and

So needless to say, I had VERY high expectations for this book. And it didn't disappoint.

First of all, I love the cover and the fact that it accurately represents the protagonist and the love interest. High five, cover designers.

Secondly, what I love most about Lily Anderson's books is that she's not afraid to bring the nerd factor. In her first book, the kids were constantly discussing Doctor Who and Saga and Star Wars. Here, they're competing in what's basically a giant trivia competition to win college scholarships, they're all incredibly smart, and the protagonist wants to study sci-fi literature at university. It's GREAT. (There's a lot of Octavia Butler and N.K. Jemisin love in here too, which is A+)

I adored the fact that so many of the characters from the first book cropped up here (it's set 3 years later) and that they played pivotal roles but without feeling like they were taking over the story.

I loved how once again, Anderson took a classic story and retold it without making it feel like it was a step-by-step updating of something old. Elliott, our protagonist, knows the story of The Importance of Being Earnest inside out and back to front. She quotes from it in her head regularly. And it was obviously a retelling, but without feeling like it had to include EVERYTHING that happens in Earnest. You know?

And a big ol' slow clap for the number of times Anderson would have a character say something slightly shitty and have another character call them out on it. Someone calls the protagonist insane, and she immediately replies "Don't be ableist." Someone makes a comment about something being racist towards white people, and they're shut down immediately (and not by Elliott). And my favourite: "I can't even kiss you without permission." "You shouldn't kiss anyone without permission. That's called assault." P.R.E.A.C.H.

So why not 5 stars? It's probably very much a Me Thing and not a Book Thing, but I haaaaaaaaaaated that there was so much pressure from Elliott's family for her and her cousins to join the Air Force. I get that a lot of the family is in the Air Force and they consider themselves an Air Force family. But are you seriously telling me that you're not going to let your kid make up their own damn mind on potentially giving their life in the military?!?! Like...WHUT.

And like I said, this may just be a Me Thing because I come from a country with a population of 25 million and a standing military of under 60,000 (in contrast, the US has a standing military of ~1.3 million), and where out of my and my brother's graduating classes (nearly 400 kids), a grand total of one person joined the military. But that side of things just...NOPE. Not okay. Stop.

So on the whole, this was pretty effing great. Buuuuuuuut I could have done without the "YOU WILL JOIN THE MILITARY BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT WE DO" stuff.
November 22, 2017
Book Review
Title: Not now, Not ever
Author: Lily Anderson
Genre: YA/Family/Romance
Rating: *****
Review: In the opening chapter of Not now, Not ever we meet Ever as she runs away from home to attend Camp Onward where she could get a full scholarship to Rayevich College, her dream school. She is also a huge reader and has an inner voice that she named Oscar Wilde. She also meets Cornell Aaron who is buddy to help her through the three-week summer school but in learning why Ever has run away we also learn that Ever Lawrence is Elliot Gabaroche and everyone close to Elliot thinks she is somewhere different to where she really is. The one side of his family almost always joins the military and the other half go into practical jobs like law and business, but Elliot wants to take a science fiction literature course. As she begins to settle into the Camp things take a dramatic turn when Isaiah her cousin shows up from the same programme. Ever/Elliot is obviously panicked by Isaiah’s arrival but since neither wants to end up in the academy they both agree to work together to keep their admission to the Camp a secret from everyone that knows them and in the progress of creating a cover story the cousins now become twins.
The competition both Ever and Isaiah are entered in is called the Tarrasch Melee and the prize is a fully paid 4-year scholarship to Rayevich College but everyone there is competing for the same prize. One thing that was interesting to see was the introduction scene, as all the campers are sorted into groups that will compete against each other they do an ice breaker to get to know one another. In the ice breaker they must introduce themselves and give their chosen major on which they are then quizzed and despite everyone being classified as a genius in some way some know their subject areas far better than others. As we approach the ¼ mark in the novel we see the cousins now twins settle into the camp life and try to get their life story straight to avoid detection and getting thrown out of their only chance at a life of their own choosing.
The first lesson Ever’s group has is literature obviously her favourite and in the college library she finds a book that she has never been able to get her hands on before because the author took it out of print. Despite being over a quarter of the way through Not now, Not ever not a lot has happened apart from settling into the school and starting lessons, it also seems a little stereotypical with everyone being friends and no real conflicts being presented to add texture to the characters but there is still plenty of book left for it to happen. In addition to the Melee there are other non-academic challenge the campers will face, the first being a strange game of tag in the dead of night which Ever wins with some smart thinking and self-preservation skills. I also see a hint of a possible romance between Brandon and Ever which would be great as they are both smart although Ever seems to be the outgoing while Brandon is very awkward, and I feel they would compliment each other.
I really liked the fact that almost everything involved in the camp experience is a test including the evening movie showing of the Breakfast Club (classic by the way). As we approach the halfway mark in the novel I was really getting into the experience and connecting with the characters. Despite this novel not being in my normal genre preference as I am hardcore into fantasy this novel was surprisingly enjoyable. As the group face their first mock Melee some find themselves unprepared for the level of knowledge required in a vast area of subjects as each has their own speciality. Things become a little more dramatic when some of the boys get their hands on the test schedule, so they can prepare for what is to come although this may come back to bite them on the behind if they aren’t careful. I really loved the constant references to modern literature from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Hunger Games, Battle Royale and Harry Potter, it makes the dialogue between nerdy friends seem far more realistic.
My inkling about the romance was spot on but that first kiss scene completely took me by surprise, I am so loving this pairing it is perfect. Ever’s group has realised that the tutors are pushing them so hard to see how quickly they break and as the information and test come faster and harder you can literally see the cracks appearing in some students. There also seems to be a thief on campus, while one or two binders went missing early on in the novel a total of 32 are now missing and harsher rules have been put in place for the campers and everyone seems to be holding their notes for the Melee closer than ever now. Despite the school dorms being divided by gender Brandon and Ever find some time to be alone and he even manages to find a way to get them off campus for a few hours to take her on their first official date. One thing I can say about this novel is it isn’t at all cheesy or bland despite playing on the summer school/camp romance which is a little overused in this genre and it gets bonus point for being diverse.
I really like how Anderson threads together the contemporary and mystery elements of this novel and it was a nice to see the pieces of the puzzle coming together when one of the missing binders is found in a tree house on campus. As we near the end of the novel the Melee battles finally begin, and the stakes are higher for some than others as well can see with Ever and Isaiah. In the final section of this novel we see the mystery resolved, relationship repaired, and one extraordinary person allowed to live their own life. Overall, I must say I really enjoyed Not now, Not ever although I would have like the reverse resolution but it was a quick, fun read that took me completely by surprise.
Profile Image for Christiana.
1,453 reviews21 followers
September 14, 2017
This didn't feel as tight as Anderson's first, both in terms of the mystery (could anyone have figure this out on their own?) and things that were left without answers (without giving anything away, Brandon and Leigh's futures), but I have to hope that this is mostly because Anderson plans to continue with these characters in the future and I just have to be patient. Overall, the writing and story were good enough that I shirked most things to read instead and if that's not a win, I don't know what is.
Profile Image for Donna.
591 reviews
October 28, 2017
Lily Anderson wrote a great story about "nerdy' teenagers who entered a contest of sorts at a select college, Rayevich, in Oregon.

Elliot Gabaroche, a 17 year old girl is desperate to be on her own during the summer and not be pushed off to some military camp for the summer. Her mother is in the Air Force and has followed in the family's footsteps. Elliot does not want this for herself.

She wins a chance to go this college in Oregon and takes a train there. Family thinks she is elsewhere. She gives herself a new name, Ever Lawrence, and becomes a different person for the summer. She seems to blend in with all the others and no one suspects her. Here she will enter an academic decathalon competition to win a full scholarship to Rayevich. She gets a shot at trying to beat all the other genius nerds at a shot for her dream.

She does meet and fall for Brandon, another geeky genius. Their romance blooms, but when Ever is found out by her mother where she is, that's it for her and Brandon, for now anyway.

I think the end of the book was too quick. I think a little more could have been written about Elliott and Brandon and how they were going to stay together.

I won this ARC copy of the book from Goodreads. I really enjoyed it and you will too.
Profile Image for Lisa.
1,462 reviews55 followers
September 12, 2017
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

Lily Anderson did it again - she blew me away with her book. Her adaptation of classics into modern times are very well written and funny and fluffy and just charming my pants off. This time, she adapts Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest. I haven't read this play yet, though I've been meaning to for quite some time, and now, after reading this book, my desire to read it burns through me, renewed.

I have missed the adorable and nerdy geniuses from the last book, and the really fun part was realizing that they all make appearances in this one!! They are older now and it was so much fun to see what they have been up to. But our protagonist in this book, Elliot/Ever and her nerdy camp friends were awesome as well.
As well as in the first book, there is a bit of mystery happening which spices things up even more.

Happily, Lily Anderson did not disappoint and I couldn't be more excited for her next work to come.
Profile Image for Xanthe.
871 reviews33 followers
November 7, 2017
So, I’ve been entering Goodreads giveaways for years now, sometimes two or more a day, and after winning absolutely nothing since I started, I won two book giveaways in one week! First up is Not Now, Not Ever which I was delighted to win after I so thoroughly enjoyed The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by the same author (I also won Jane, Unlimited by Kristen Cashore, review forthcoming and then, a week later, won a giveaway from my local library for a Kindle!!! Time to buy a lottery ticket!!!)

Elliot Gabaroche has a loving, if overbearing family, and a plan. Her mother’s side is career Air Force all straight edges, iron wills and short hair, while her father and her step-mother are pushing Elliot towards a law degree with a side of summer theater to follow their interests. Elliot loves both side of her family, but wants something different, something for herself. So she hatches a plan to go to a summer camp for smart kids where she has the chance to win a scholarship to the college of her dreams to study sci-fi literature and be her own person. Her plan involves subterfuge, misdirection, and new name. Elliot becomes Ever plus her mother’s last name and with a few lies, she convinces everyone she’s somewhere else for a few weeks in order to follow her dreams, in a loose re-imagining of The Importance of Being Earnest.

Not Now, Not Ever is snappy, smart, and fun. Elliot – now Ever is thrown into a group of (fellow) genius teens and quickly makes a good friend in her roommate (who has a secret), finds a cute boy who might be a ghost or might be a fellow camper (with a secret), and discovers that this genius camp is full of super smart kids all fighting for the same scholarship and willing to do anything to win, including, as it turns out, resort to sabotage as the wacky hijinks escalate. Of course, as if the stakes aren’t high enough, her cousin turns up, sneaking out with a much less water-tight plan to fool their family and threatens mutually assured destruction if either of them rats out the other. This set up makes for a tense, peppery story, as Ever navigates the challenges of camp, doing her best to win, and sorts through what aspects of her identity she values as she steps outside of herself for these few weeks. Add in a little bit of romance (I found all the descriptions of making out immensely hilarious, not sure if that was intentional, but I hope it was), intense nerdery and references to sci-fi and fantasy favorites, plus a mystery and I was in high delight. I maybe have some quibbles with some of how Ever/Elliot decided to resolve her family’s desires for her future, but I suppose that’s my problem not hers. Overall, if The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You was a delicious chocolate cupcake, then is Not Now, Not Ever is one of those great funfetti cupcakes, you know with the little colored bits, and maybe just the right amount of frosting.
Profile Image for Gwen (The Gwendolyn Reading Method).
1,669 reviews475 followers
April 20, 2018
I'm beginning to really love this author. The only reason this isn't four stars is I'm still not sure how I feel about the ending, BUT the rest of the book is magnificent! The characters, how they view the world, the detailed minutiae she includes which adds richness to the world building, also the diversity should get a shout out too!
Profile Image for Lisa Simmons.
336 reviews4 followers
March 19, 2018
A really fun, smart story that defies categorization. A little mystery, a little romance, a lot of whimsy. I'm certain if you're more familiar with The Importance of Being Ernest, you'll catch lots of references there, too. You should definitely give this one a read. I'll be looking for the author's other books. Enjoy!
Profile Image for Brooke Banks.
937 reviews175 followers
December 15, 2017
Today is the day I finally get to tell ya'll how much I love Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson. After all my nerdy fangirl gushing, there's a giveaway and a tour to follow for more Not Now, Not Ever adoration, so please stick around!

I read Anderson's first book, The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You  last year, where a minor set-up believability issue and not really caring about the mystery it earned it 4 stars.

Neither of those are problems here and it continues with adorable geeky romance that I am living for.  Find out more about this five-star-er after the jump!


Opening line: There was no empirical evidence that the Lieutenant wasn't a robot.

- Not Now, Not Ever. pg. 1

Elliot aka Ever is a badass, but doesn't know it. She's stuck between a military family and a civilian one. Her mother and father may differ on their dreams of Elliott's future, but damn if they're not a united front about wanting the best for her. Instead of the typical dual family drama, it comes from being transracial with a white step-mom.

»FYI: Real Meaning of Transracial«
She's an Octavia Butler loving Sci-fi nerd that thinks about the ethics of ghost busting before investigating if someone really is a spectre. She fiercely loves her little brother and helps her step-mom with her community plays. Ever "runs away" to a summer camp to try and win a scholarship to the only program specializing in Sci-Fi literature.

Ever's government name, Elliot, is masculine coded and she's actually named after a relative. Sp she deals with other's preconceptions hearing the name, then seeing her as as tall, strong black woman. She handles this, not by putting down masculine coded things nor by embracing stereotypes. She just does her.

There is a throwaway line about coconut oil protecting her hair in the very beginning and I couldn't help but snort given the Twitter conversations going on. Ya'll really need to follow her on there.  I could be wrong, but it felt like a timely middle-finger to white supremacy and stereotypes. After letting that bird fly, it is promptly never mentioned again. Bye, bye birdy! (<----I had way too much writing out those puns.😆 )

Now, do not misunderstand. Her fro is mentioned often in all its glory, for how tall it makes her look and being against regulations. But that is not the same thing.

Dear fellow white people, don't act like coconut oil is all it takes to be black and forget "coincidently" that coconut oil is all over white pinterest like a fucking cult. 

Air Force Vs. Civilians: Diametrically Opposed Foes?
It's rare for me to find books with military families, let alone one where they aren't macho problematic (to put it gently) white people. My family were all "ground-pounders" so not quite the same as Elliot's but I get the pressure and duty more than most people.
Did you know the Air Force is 14% Black or African American?  Check out more stats here!

Unfortunately, Not Now, Not Ever is even more timely given recent hate crimes and the ever present systematic discrimination. 

While it doesn't delve into these issues or mention them, that's okay. It doesn't have to. The positive rep and experience are also necessary.  And valid. Maybe later we'll get a sequel with Elliot a couple years down the line. Maybe we won't.

Maybe it's damn okay just to fucking exist without making educating white people the focus with providing struggle porn to get a load off.

Happiness is a radical act for Brown Girls img banner
Other Good Shit:

Immediately engaging. Like jump of page, grab you by the throat and make you feel alive engaging.
Brilliant overachieving fuck up teenagers
Ever's  a realistic head on her shoulders and meets a dude that's all starry eyed. This reflects the reality I know: girls are thinking about the future and worrying about commitment while
Best possible ending.  Love how Ever squared up to deal with the fall out.
The typical romantic creepy gestures are avoided.
Major props for how they dissect The Breakfast Club.  Privilege and intersectionality are a day to day concern for these teens.
I. Did. NOT. SEE THAT comiNG!
Fuck yes: Awesome step-mom and half-sibling relationship
Ever and her cousin fight like enemies because of Reasons™ and family and gosh, I love their push/pull relationship of being so different but so similar with misperceptions.

Do not worry if, dare I say it,you're not a fan of the classics, or have never read it. I'll let you in on a little secret: I haven't either. Thank fuck there are badass librarian authors like Lily Anderson that can re-write the shit for modern times and people!

Favorite Quotes:
And he was wearing loafers. I couldn't get my swoon on for a guy who didn't wear socks.

-Chapter 2, loc 222

Because how could we know we were on a collage campus if there wasn't a loner with a hakey sack?

-Chapter 16, loc 1431

You had to leave home to make a home. You couldn't wait to leave to be yourself.

--Chapter 16, location 1440

Now I was feeling the heat get cranked up and my sand was figuring out how to melt.

-Chapter 16, loc 1458

I was pretty sure when real college kids got in trouble, no one told them to sit crisscross applesauce.

-Chapter 24, loc 2375

I could almost hear Sid's voice in my ear, telling me to go faster, to wear my Lawerence on the outside.

-Chapter 31 loc 3157

Other Similar Recs:
If you like this, or it sounds right for you, please also check out Future Leaders of Nowhere by Emily O'Beirne  with more wilderness and a W/W romance. It's another high ranking read for me, though I haven't posted my review for it yet. Sorry!  🤦🏼‍♀️ 😫

Giveaway Img Banner

Prize: 1 copy of NOT NOW, NOT EVER by Lily Anderson (US Only)

It starts November 14th and ends November 22nd
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Fantastic Flying Book Club ButtonThis review was originally posted on The Layaway Dragon

Profile Image for Kelli Spear.
520 reviews63 followers
July 6, 2017
Lily Anderson is a goddess. Or a genius. Or both.

Last year's The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You was at the top of my list for best reads, and I didn't think she could pull off another fantastic nerd story.

I am delighted to tell you that I was wrong.

I have to be honest, there aren't enough good/great geeky girl stories. I mean, the trend is definitely picking up, but not all are brilliant. That's what makes Lily's books so special. From the beginning of both, I was hooked. She has a way with words---and I can't help but get sucked into the world she's created.

Teen geniuses. Nerds. Geeks. Interwoven are POC, diverse sexualities...it really can't get much better!

Now, I was worried about this book. I loved the cast of TOTWTMIY so much. I didn't expect to like this crew as much. And to be honest, I didn't. But they're lovable in their own ways. Plus, hello cameos! That was actually one of the absolute best things about Not Now, Not Ever. Well, besides Elliot/Ever herself. Sort of a jock, but also a nerd, she's just a really kick ass chick. Her group of cam friends all have their own quirks and I found myself LOL constantly while reading.

At the heart of this, though, is a basis of family. And not wanting to disappoint, but also wanting to live your life the way that would make you happy. The entire time Ever was at the camp, I found myself wondering how it would end. Would she win the scholarship? Would she stay with Brandon after it was all over? But, thanks to a "revenge" act (or maybe spite), things get turned upside-down quickly. As it all unravels, I just wanted to hug Ever/Elliot. And tell her it IS okay to disappoint others if it means being true to yourself.

With a brilliantly written and brainy cast, Not Now, Not Ever is a wonderful follow-up to Anderson's debut. I hope she continues writing characters connected to this world, because I'd love the chance to see everyone (again!) a few years down the road.
Profile Image for Amanda.
956 reviews39 followers
May 16, 2021
Lily Anderson is the newest member of the "Authors Whose Grocery Lists I'd Read If They Were Published" collection of authors I adore.

Retellings are so tricky, but Anderson has them down to a science. Referential, but also unique in their own way, her stories are sweet and cute and compelling, and her writing is so teenage-voicey and awesome. While I didn't fall head over heels for this book as much as I did for her first, I still loved the characters and the swoon.

Ever aka Elliot is badass and awesome. I was SO happy to see so many of the characters from TOTWTMIY make appearances (dude Lumberjack Beard, I fucking love it), even if some were fleeting. I audibly squealed when B was revealed because I was so happy he got his own story.

Anerson's books are now at the top of my rereading list.

EDIT 3/28/18: Yeah I have a rereading problem, so what? If you had insomnia and woke up at 3am and needed distraction, I'd recommend you reread adorable YA romcoms too.

EDIT 5/15/2021: Still very cute!
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