Forever Is Now

The first YA title from Mariama J. Lockington (For Black Girls Like Me; In the Key of Us) is an emotional verse novel about a 16-year-old queer Black teen trying to find her voice while suffering from crippling anxiety.

Sadie Dixon is just beginning to feel like she's managing her chronic anxiety when her girlfriend, Aria, breaks up with her. This is immediately followed by the teens witnessing a violent racial attack on a Black woman in their Oakland, Calif., hometown. These events trigger a panic attack that leaves Sadie homebound, agoraphobic, unable to feel safe venturing into even the backyard or garage. Sadie attempts to overcome her fear by posting livestreams about her mental health and social justice on Ruckus, an activism app. With the help of a therapist, her best friend, Evan, and younger brother, Charlie, Sadie slowly starts healing and finds unanticipated support and romance in her new neighbor, Jackson, who helps her find new safe spaces.

Forever Is Now is an outstanding novel in-verse that tells the story of a teenager's struggles to better both her mental health and her community. Lockington's approachable poetry covers heavy topics readers may find emotionally demanding--mental health, family dynamics, anti-Blackness, social activism, sexuality, social media, romance. The author elegantly and compassionately portrays Sadie's complicated, sensitive struggle with agoraphobia and depicts various realistic ways people might respond to the mental health of their loved ones. --Natasha Harris, freelance reviewer

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