Choices, and Consequences with a Science Twist
As Many Nows As I Can Get by Shana Youngdahl is a phenomenal debut YA novel that doesn’t shy away from big issues, instead it hits them head on with thoughtful eloquence.
I feel designating this as “YA” is doing Youndahl’s novel a severe injustice, and there isn’t a certain age or demographic that wouldn’t adore the journey of choices and consequences with a science twist. I’m (begrudgingly admitted) a few years away from when I was a young adult, and yet all the feelings that Youngdahl evokes in her work folded back the fabric of time and sent me straight to when I was a newly-fledged high school graduate and the future was at my feet.
Scarlett is a scientist. She approaches her story in a non-linear way, that at first takes a bit to get used to, but she’s smart about this. She needs her audience to understand the logic, and reasoning behind the choices she makes and then how she handles the consequences of those choices. She learns early on that a human reality is not nearly as cut and dry, black and white, as how her chosen field of science can be. This is why that I feel like anyone who is a teen, young adult, as well as all adults would find this story enthralling. There are themes like teen pregnancy, and drug use that prevalent, however with how Youngdahl approaches each topic I feel no reason for parents to be alarmed. After all, we all have consequences to the choices we make, and Scarlett and David are no different.
Graceville Colorado is the tiny town where Scarlett spends her childhood. She’s been with her peer group since before they were all in diapers. She didn’t know how she ended up in a pseudo-competition with David, the best friend of her boyfriend, but she realized that maybe their lives were meant to be entwined since childhood. Both of them are smart, driven, science-oriented and Graceville has all but had them crowned to greatness. But what happens when your destiny seems pre-ordained? What happens when you leave the comfort of your small town for life in college?
The summer after graduation becomes a catalyst for a journey that will shape Scarlett for the years to come. As a reader, we get to see how the choices of Scarlett’s summer shape the path for Scarlett’s present, as well as her future. Youngdahl shows a crafty hand at swirling emotions, with science, and the daunting unknown.
Near the end of the book, I couldn’t tear myself away. I needed to see how Scarlett would handle the twists and turns that life had thrown her. More than once, my heart ached with hers for the boy that was there, bright and bold, and then gone again on his own path.
Without a doubt, this is a 5 star read! This book will stick with you for a long while.