Title: Now That I’ve Found You
Author: Kristina Forest
Date published: August 25, 2020
A YA novel about searching for answers, love, and your eccentric grandma in all the wrong places.
Following in the footsteps of her überfamous grandma, eighteen-year-old Evie Jones is poised to be Hollywood’s next big star. That is until a close friend’s betrayal leads to her being blacklisted . . .
Fortunately, Evie knows just the thing to save her floundering career: a public appearance with America’s most beloved actress—her grandma Gigi, aka the Evelyn Conaway. The only problem? Gigi is a recluse who’s been out of the limelight for almost twenty years. Days before Evie plans to present her grandma with an honorary award in front of Hollywood’s elite, Gigi does the unthinkable: she disappears.
With time running out and her comeback on the line, Evie reluctantly enlists the help of the last person to see Gigi before she vanished: Milo Williams, a cute musician Evie isn’t sure she can trust. As Evie and Milo conduct a wild manhunt across New York City, romance and adventure abound while Evie makes some surprising discoveries about her grandma—and herself.
I was really excited when this book was announced because of how much I adored Kristina Forest’s debut, I WANNA BE WHERE YOU ARE. This book had a lot of elements I liked, and also featured a brief cameo of Chloe and Eli, the stars of the romance in IWBWYA.
What I liked most about this book was how nuanced Evie’s character was. While I loved Chloe in Forest’s debut, I felt like she was a more cut and dry character who was easy to understand and to love, she was not as interesting to me as Evie. Evie definitely falls under the category of “unlikeable” characters, who I always end up liking because they feel more realistic to me as a reader. Evie comes across as kind of selfish and self-centered for most of the book, but underneath it, there’s the constant feeling she has of wanting people’s approval, insecurity, and feeling abandoned by the people she loves. Kristina Forest gives the reader a lot to unpack when it comes to Evie’s character, and that made her more interesting to read about and even root for her at times despite some of her self-centeredness.
Though at times Evie’s character got on my nerves, I still rooted for her and looked forward to the major emotional glow up I figured was coming for her character arc. Unfortunately, that aspect of the story fell a bit flat for me because it came at almost the very end of the story and was rushed through. Evie definitely learns a lot as a person and begins to recognize her own flaws, but the development of that part of the story was not as strong as I wanted it to be and there could have been a few more pages devoted to that.
In general, I really felt that the story could have been 20-50 pages longer to round it out and provide a meaningful ending. The twist in Milo and Evie’s romance felt rushed through, and they make up within the last few pages of the book without much build up between the last time they see each other and the resolution to their relationship. It felt like pages were missing between those two events and the jump that happened between them was a bit jarring.
I also did not find the romance between Milo and Evie as swoonworthy and ship-able as Chloe and Eli. I didn’t feel the chemistry between them as much throughout the story, because Evie is suspicious of Milo’s motivations with her grandmother the majority of the time, so the romance ended up seeming somewhat forced. I liked Milo as a character and wanted to know more about him during the story, but the relationship with Evie felt manufactured and planned versus natural and real. I do love to see a romance between two artists, but this one unfortunately did not do it for me.
The focus of the story seemed to be more about Evie’s relationship with her grandmother, which also made the romance feel sort of unnecessary. I think there would still have been a lot to like about this story without the addition of the romance. I also think because Evie’s relationship with her grandmother was explored so deeply and her grandmother’s life was delved into much more, that made Evie and Milo’s relationship seem flatter and not as interesting. I definitely would’ve loved the mystery to take hold of the story completely and for friendship and family to be front and center as themes.
Before this review becomes a full fledged essay, I’ll conclude by saying it did not meet my expectations and overall it fell flat for me. It’s certainly not a bad book by any means, but compared to the author’s first book it simply wasn’t as good. However, this is definitely one I’ll be recommending to teens at the library because there are still many fun elements to it that I think a variety of readers would enjoy. There is a little something for everyone in this book, from mystery to romance to interesting characters. While it was not as good as I hoped, I’d still consider this one three stars and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to readers who want something a little different in their contemporary picks.