The Incredible Here and Now by Felicity Castagna
Giramondo Publishing, 2013. ISBN 9781922146366.
Recommended age: 13+. The summer that Michael turns fifteen, his beloved brother Dom is killed in a car accident. But this is not a novel that dwells on grief; it is a novel about Michael's growth as a teenager, and a novel that lets us into the highly intricate world of Michael's life. Told through a series of short vignettes describing Michael's world as he sees it - the local McDonalds, the endless parties, the bustle of the crowded, noisy apartment block where he and his family live - The Incredible Here and Now deals with the struggles of Michael's life in the year after Dom is killed.
Reading The Incredible Here and Now feels more like flicking through an old family photo album rather than reading an actual novel. Each chapter is like a snapshot: with each vignette we gain another glimpse into the world and character of Michael. This structure is quite unique, and actually very interesting to read, as we gain a thorough understanding of the characters and get attached to them. These characters are also, in general, quite realistic, and several feel like the sort of characters that surround us in our own lives.
The writing style is fairly simple, yet appropriate, as the novel is told in first person perspective from Michael's point of view, and this language style suits his character. His world is vividly described in luscious detail, which enables the readers to create a lush portrait of this world in their own minds.
All that said, The Incredible Here and Now fails to create the 'wow' factor of a truly great novel: it is an interesting and detailed examination into grief and adolescence, and a fantastic description of a somewhat broken world, but that's about as far as it goes.
Rebecca Adams (Student)