Review–The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

The Here and Now
by Ann Brashares
Summary: An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.
Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.
This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.
Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth.
But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.
From Ann Brashares, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now is thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking—and a must-read novel of the year.

Source: I received a digital copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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I thought the premise of The Here and Now was interesting. I loved The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and I thought a contemporary author could take a cool time travel premise and make the characters stand out. After all, The Time Traveler’s Wife is one of my favorite contemporary novels and it also features time travel as a major part of the plot. I wasn’t expecting anything like that, but I was hopeful that the novel would be a good mixture of science fiction with great character building.
My first issue with The Here and Now was that it wasn’t well developed at all. Throughout the novel, I felt nothing for any of the characters. The community of Prenna’s people had rules, but I witnessed little interaction as part of that community to better understand it. The overall effect of this lack of world building and character depth was that the story felt rushed and quickly explained. The romance between Prenna and Ethan kind of came out of nowhere.

The second issue I had with the novel was the plot. I didn’t think it made any sense. I didn’t like the whole mosquito aspect of it. I’m not sure if that science makes much sense. I know the book was trying to make a point about the way we are ruining the planet with our actions and fuel, but I think it failed to really tie that in effectively. I needed more information and more development with the whole plague aspect of it. Prenna just started rattling off all of these historical (futuristic) facts without the story taking any of them and exploring the effect each action had on the future. It all just seemed like a hastily written story based on a passing thought. I hate to bash the story that badly, but it just seemed messy to me.

I did like Prenna’s narration. I liked the simple way she described everything and I think I would have enjoyed reading it as a teen. It was easy to follow in that sense and the slight romance with Ethan was innocent and sweet. The glimpse of them together and the way Prenna viewed the world was great and the shining portion of the book.

I think the novel had potential. If it was longer, better organized, with the major dystopian and science fiction themes better explored, it would have been pretty awesome. As it stands, it failed to grab me and I didn’t enjoy it.


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