{Tour} Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson (with Interview, Excerpt, and Review)

Not Now Not Ever Lily Anderson

The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You was one of our favorite books of 2016, so we couldn’t wait to get our hands on Lily Anderson’s latest title, Not Now, Not Ever. We’ve got a fun interview with Lily for you today, along with our thoughts on the book (we ❤ it!), and an awesome excerpt from Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson. We’ll get right to it:


Thanks for stopping by Swoony Boys Podcast today, Lily. The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You was one of our very favorite books last year. We’ll get right to the questions: What was your favorite part of Not Now, Not Ever to write?

There’s a lightsaber battle in the book that was an absolute dream to write. I spent so long figuring out all of the logistics of how the game would be set up and then just wrote the whole chapter in one sitting. It was a blast and a half.

We loved that scene, too! Retellings are one of our favorite trends, and we love that Not Now, Not Ever was inspired by The Importance of Being Ernest. What was it like spinning this story your own way?

In my first book, The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You, the characters are in a retelling of Much Ado About Nothing in a reality where that play doesn’t exist. Their character names reference the source material and everything follows Shakespeare’s structure. Those same characters cross over into Not Now, Not Ever, so I didn’t want to do another faithful retelling because it seemed like it’d be setting up a horrifying universe where these poor people were just going to retell famous plays every year until they died. So, instead, Not Now, Not Ever is a meta retelling. The main character, Elliot, knows the story of Earnest very well and so she tries to use it to her advantage and ends up in a farce similar to Oscar Wilde’s but not exactly the same, which left way more room for me, as the author, to play with expectations.

If you could introduce one of your characters to another character from any other book, who would it be and why?

I think Meg from THE ONLY THING and Not Now, Not Ever would adore Dimple from When Dimple Met Rishi. They could code a life changing psychology app together!

We totally agree! We know it’s hard to pick one, but who’s your favorite character in Not Now, Not Ever?

Definitely Elliot. She’s so different than me—she’s sporty where I’m slothy and brave where I’m scared and into Sci-Fi where I’m into romance novels and musicals. I loved being in her head for the year I was writing the book.

What is your writing process? Are you a pantser? (That would be especially interesting given the literary conversation with the plays). Outliner?

I’m an outliner and my outlines get more serious with every book. With Not Now, Not Ever, I outlined a three act structure which was basically “Elliot runs away. Elliot is at camp. Camp is really hard.” If I were outlining the same story now, it would have a chapter by chapter breakdown with character beats.

What do you most hope that readers take away from your novels (either or both)?

I want all my readers to take away a sense of happiness. Not Now, Not Ever and its predecessor, The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You, are fluff. Hopefully well crafted, artisanal and organic fluff but fluff nonetheless. Not Now, Not Ever is very much a story about choosing a path, but also realizing that the paths don’t close behind you. I want my readers to have hope for Elliot’s path and their own.

Do you have any current or future projects you can tell us about?

My next book, Undead Girl Gang, comes out from Penguin Razorbill on May 8, 2018! It’s Veronica Mars meets The Craft in the fat Wiccan Latina book I’ve always wanted to write.

Wow! We can’t wait for that. Do you have a dream cast for if there was ever a movie version of Not Now, Not Ever?

In four or five years, I think that Marsai Martin (Diane from Blackish) and Finn Wolfhard (Mike from Stranger Things) would be a perfect Elliot and Brandon. Wendell Cheeseman, the professor in charge of Camp Onward, was written with Paul Scheer (from my all-time favorite podcast, How Did This Get Made, and TV shows like Fresh Off The Boat and The League) in mind.

Dreamcast Not Now Not Ever

Great picks! Thanks again for chatting with us today! We can’t wait for everyone to get their ::grabby hands:: on Not Now, Not Ever.

***About Lily Anderson***

Author Lily AndersonLily Anderson is an elementary school librarian and Melvil Dewey fangirl with an ever-growing collection of musical theater tattoos and Harry Potter ephemera. She lives in Northern California. She is also the author of The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You.

Find Lily Anderson Here:
Website | Twitter | Facebook| Goodreads

***About the Book***

{Tour} Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson (with Interview, Excerpt, and Review)Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson
Series: The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You #2
on November 21, 2017
Genres: Boarding School, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320
Goodreads Buy the Book
4.5 Stars

The sequel to The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You, inspired by The Importance of Being Earnest.

Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn't going to do this summer.

  1. She isn't going to stay home in Sacramento, where she'd have to sit through her stepmother's sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
  2. She isn't going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
  3. And she certainly isn't going to the Air Force summer program on her mother's base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender's Game, Ellie's seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it's much less Luke/Yoda/"feel the force," and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn't appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she'd be able to defeat afterwards.
  4. What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she's going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?

    This summer's going to be great.


When we perfect commercial time travel, everyone in the past is going to be pissed at us. It’s not only that their quiet, sepia-toned lives will be inundated with loud-mouthed giants. And it’s not even the issue that language is a living organism, so all communication will be way more problematic than anyone ever thinks about.

It’s jet packs.

At some point, someone is going to ask about jet packs, and no amount of bragging about clean water and vaccines and free Wi-Fi will be able to distract them. Even if you went back before the Industrial Revolution, someone is going to want to know if we’ve all made ourselves pairs of Icarus wings.

Defrost Walt Disney and he’ll ask to be put back in the fridge until Tomorrowland is real. Go back to the eighties and everyone’s going to want to know about hoverboards.

Hell, go back to yesterday, find your own best friend, and they’d still ask, “Tomorrow’s the day we get flying cars, right?”

People want miracles. They want magic. They want to freaking fly.

Unrelated: Did you know that crossing state lines on a train is pretty much the most boring and uncomfortable thing ever?

Despite sounding vaguely poetic, the midnight train to Oregon wasn’t much for scenery. Unfortunately, running away tends to work best in the middle of the night, especially when one’s cousins have a curfew to make and can’t wait on the platform with you.

Twelve hours, two protein bars, and one sunrise later, the view was rolling brown fields that turned into dilapidated houses with collapsing fences and sun-bleached Fisher Price play sets. Apparently, the whole “wrong side of the tracks” thing wasn’t a myth. Everything the train passed was a real bummer.

One should always have something sensational to read on the train,
whispered Oscar Wilde, sounding remarkably like my stepmom.

With my headphones drowning out the screech of the tracks, I reached into my backpack, pushing past the heavy stack of books and ziplock bags of half-eaten snacks, to the bottom. Tucked be- tween the yellowed pages of my battered copy of Starship Troopers was a folded square of white printer paper. I tried to smooth it over my leg, but it snapped back into its heavy creases.

Dear Ever,

On behalf of Rayevich College and our sister school, the Messina Academy for the Gifted, it is my great pleasure to offer you a place at Camp Onward. At Onward, you will spend three weeks learning alongside forty-seven other accomplished high school students from all over the West Coast as you prepare for the annual Tarrasch Melee. The winners of the Melee will be granted a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to Rayevich College . . .

The page was starting to wear thin in the corners from my fingers digging into it whenever it stopped feeling real enough. The packing list that had once been stapled to it was even worse off, high- lighted and checkmarked and underlined. I’d had to put that one inside of an N. K. Jemisin hardcover so that the extra weight could smash it flat.

I ran my thumb over the salutation again. Dear Ever.

I shivered, remembering how my hands had trembled as I’d read those words for the first time, stamped to the front of an envelope with the Rayevich seal in the corner. It meant that everything had worked. It meant that freedom was as simple as a checked box on an Internet application.

The train lurched to a stop. I shoved the note back inside of Star- ship Troopers and popped out my headphones just in time to hear the conductor’s garbled voice say, “Eugene station.”

I staggered down to the platform, my laptop case and my back- pack weighing me down like uneven scales. I sucked in fresh air, not even caring that it tasted like cement and train exhaust. It was cooler here than it was back home. California asphalt held in heat and let it off in dry, tar-scented bursts.

Oregon had a breeze. And pine trees. Towering evergreens that could have bullied a Christmas tree into giving up its lunch money. We didn’t get evergreens like that at home. My neighborhood was lined in decorative suburban foliage. By the time I got back, our oak tree would be starting to think about shedding its sticky leaves on the windshield of my car.

As a new wave of passengers stomped onto the train, I retrieved the massive rolling suitcase that Beth had ordered off of the Inter- net for me. It was big enough to hold a small person, as my brother had discovered when he’d decided to use it to sled down the stairs.

I’d miss that little bug.

There were clusters of people scattered across the platform, some shouting to each other over the dull roar of the engine. I watched an old woman press two small children into her bosom and a hipster couple start groping each other’s cardigans.

In the shade of the ticket building, a light-skinned black guy had his head bowed over his cell phone. His hair was shorn down to his scalp, leaving a dappling of curl seedlings perfectly edged around his warm brown temples. He was older than I was, definitely college age. He had that finished look, like he’d grown into his shoulders and gotten cozy with them. A yellow lanyard was swinging across the big green D emblazoned on his T-shirt.

“Hey,” I called to him, rolling my suitcase behind me. My laptop case swayed across my stomach in tandem with my backpack scrap- ing over my spine, making it hard not to waddle. “Are you from Rayevich?”

The guy looked up, startled, and shoved his phone into the pocket of his jeans. He swept forward, remembering to smile a minute too late. All of his white teeth gleamed in the sunshine.

“Are you Ever?” His smile didn’t waver, but I could feel him processing my appearance. Big, natural hair, baggy Warriors T-shirt, cutoff shorts, clean Jordans. Taller than him by at least two inches.

“Yeah,” I said. And then, to take some of the pressure off, “You were looking for a white girl, right?”

His smile went dimply in the corners, too sincere to be pervy. “I’m happy to be wrong.”

“Ever Lawrence,” I said, hoping that I’d practiced it enough that it didn’t clunk out of my mouth. It was strange having so few sylla- bles to get through. Elliot Gabaroche was always a lot to dump on another human being.

“Cornell Aaron,” the college boy said, sticking his hand out. He had fingers like my father’s, tapered, with clean, round nails. I spent the firm two-pump handshake wondering if he also got no-polish manicures. “I’ll be one of your counselors at Onward. It’s a quick drive from here.”

He took the handle of my suitcase without preamble and led the way toward the parking lot. I followed, my pulse leaping in the same two syllables that had wriggled between the folds of my brain and stamped out of my shoes and pumped through my veins for months.


It was a stupid thing to drive you crazy, but here I was: running away from home in the name of Oscar Wilde.

***Our Thoughts***

We absolutely loved The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson and were so excited that there was going to be more from her characters. Ahhh! We loved this book! (Too many exlamation marks? No.)

The 411:

Three years after The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You, 17-year-old Elliot Gabaroche heads to an elite academic summer camp, unbeknownst to her family, who thinks she’s at a military camp for the summer. There, she competes to win a scholarship to her dream school. There’s hijinx and romance and a light saber competition and we couldn’t get enough.

Heart Border

What We Loved:

Can we say everything? Because we seriously loved this book. Elliot was the best. She’s fun and just everything we want a MC to be. We love her! We also loved Brandon. He swoony and adorable and just gah! We loved him in The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You and were so excited he was here! We also loved the setting. Boarding school books are some of our faves, and this one takes place at summer camp, so it’s like the best of both worlds.

The characters are diverse and funny and so smart. We love their banter and nerdiness and the way they embrace it.

Heart Border

Um...Not So Much:

We wanted more at the end. That’s all we can really say about that. Except we’re really hoping that Anderson is planning to continue on and let us know what’s going on with them in the future!

Heart Border

Bottom Line:

Quirky and so much fun, Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson is an absolute MUST READ for fans of smart romantic comedies with realistic, amazing characters who are guaranteed to leave a smile on your face.

Heart Border


Swoony Boys Podcast Approved

Rating Report
4.5 Stars
5 Stars
4 Stars
4.5 Stars
3 Stars
Overall: 4.5


Featured on Swoony Boys Podcast

What do you think, pretties? How excited are you for this fun read?

4.5 Stars

OMG Let's Totally Talk About It...


Want to include a link to one of your blog posts below your comment? Enter your URL in the website field, then click the button below to get started.