Here We Are Now
Although she has been writing letters to famous indie rock star Julian Oliver for three years, 16-year-old Taliah Sahar Abdallat is stunned when he shows up on her doorstep one day. This is not a case of a superfan worshiping at the altar of her celebrity hero, though. Ever since she found an old letter from Oliver to her Jordan-born mother, Taliah has suspected he is her father. All the clues add up, from the "glacier-like blue" eye color they share ("I mean exact same eyes, dude") to the fact that Oliver is from the same small town in Indiana where Taliah's mother, Lena, got her undergraduate degree. And then there's that letter: "Lena. Please give me one more chance. This time it will be different. I promise. Always, Julian."
Now Taliah is face to face with her rock-star father at her Ohio door, her unwitting mother is in Paris for work, and Taliah is presented with an invitation to go on a road trip--literally and figuratively--through her secret family history.
Teen readers of Here We Are Now, even those who don't have long-lost celebrity fathers, will relate perfectly to Taliah. She is confused, feeling simultaneously angry at her mother for keeping her father a secret and disloyal to her mother for going with Oliver to Indiana: "My heart pulling me in one direction, my head pulling me in the other. There was a tectonic shift happening inside of me." Jasmine Warga (My Heart and Other Black Holes) writes with fluid authenticity about seeking (and finding) one's identity in the most unlikely places. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor