Don’t Fail Me Now – Una LaMarche | ARC Review

9:07 PM
Pages: 273 Paperback
Publication date: September 1st, 2015
Publisher: Razorbill
How I got the copy: Received by Penguin Random House Canada
Rating:  3 out of 5
Series: N/A


From the author of Like No Other, the novel Entertainment Weekly calls "One of the most poignant and star-crossed love stories since The Fault in Our Stars": What if the last hope to save your family is the person who broke it up to begin with? 

Michelle and her little siblings Cass and Denny are African-American and living on the poverty line in urban Baltimore, struggling to keep it together with their mom in jail and only Michelle’s part-time job at the Taco Bell to sustain them.
Leah and her stepbrother Tim are white and middle class from suburban Maryland, with few worries beyond winning lacrosse games and getting college applications in on time.
Michelle and Leah only have one thing in common: Buck Devereaux, the biological father who abandoned them when they were little.
After news trickles back to them that Buck is dying, they make the uneasy decision to drive across country to his hospice in California. Leah hopes for closure; Michelle just wants to give him a piece of her mind.
Five people in a failing, old station wagon, living off free samples at food courts across America, and the most pressing question on Michelle’s mind is: Who will break down first--herself or the car? All the signs tell her they won’t make it. But Michelle has heard that her whole life, and it’s never stopped her before....
Una LaMarche triumphs once again with this rare and compassionate look at how racial and social privilege affects one family in crisis in both subtle and astonishing ways.


Don’t Fail Me Now is about Michelle Devereux, Michelle takes care of her two younger siblings more than their mother who happens to be a single mother and a recovering addict. Their father, Buck left them when Michelle was around six, Cass a baby and their brother, Denny not even born. Michelle lives in urban Baltimore and works at a Taco Bell after school to help with bills and for when she needs to bail her mother out.

Buck’s obviously not father of the year and when he left Michelle’s family, he left them for another women. Daddy issues’ is a huge topic in this book and it’s understandable. The story really takes off when Leah and Tim are introduced, Leah being Michelle and Cass’s half-sister. Leah is the complete opposite of Michelle and it’s difficult for both Michelle and Cass to accept her as first. In meeting them they all decide to take a trip to California to visit Buck before he kicks the bucket. The road trip is a long and very eventful trip and this being a YA novel, we also run into some romance too! The romance of this novel isn’t a huge factor and it’s mostly at the end but I think it’s an odd romance… Michelle even brings up why it’s a little bit weird.

Other than the little bit of romance, this novel focuses on family and acceptance and I enjoyed that about this book. I enjoyed the story as a whole but I just couldn’t connect with the characters. I’m not too sure what it is but I just couldn’t.

I recommend this to YA contemporary readers and to those who have already enjoy LaMarche’s previous contemporary books.


Thanks for reading,
Alexa Talks Books

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