Friday, April 11, 2014

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

The Basics:
The Here and Now by Ann Brashares
Delacorte Press
YA, science fiction, romance
Published April 8, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Why I picked up this book:

I loved the idea of time travel to save the future.


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.

My thoughts:

The Here and Now delivered on time travel conundrum-y goodness, but didn't quite give me what I wanted on a few other fronts.

So the good:

Our future is really messed up and this makes for an interesting story as travellers come from the future to our present to try to fix it all.

There's some excellent twists in this book - some I saw coming and still enjoyed and others I didn't entirely foresee and enjoyed. The plot is solid, I think, and I'd really like to know what happens beyond the end of the book.

I loved the way Ethan was with Prenna. So understanding and gentle and almost... grateful? Also, I liked that he wasn't just a romantic hero, he did act like a teenage boy some of the time!

The enh:

Ethan seems like a big nerd, which is fair, but he's presented as being this really popular guy. This is all part of the isolation of the story - Prenna doesn't interact with many people, and she doesn't have to. I would have liked to have seen a bit more action in the high school, a bit more evidence that somehow the kids from the cult - er - community are assimilating okay?

The bad:

The adults of the community, the leaders, are vicious for no apparent reason. How did these people end up in control of things? Really - how did that happen?  I needed them to have both more of a comeuppance on page as well as to know how the heck these people got into power.

There's a definite didactic tone through the novel, messages about both the future of our planet and making sacrifices to protect it as well as about questioning the status quo. Because it was all necessary for the plot, I'm going to give the book a pass, but it's a very near thing.

Side note, I don't think the cover is doing this book any favours. It wouldn't have made me pick it up at all. Poor book.

Bottom line:

I enjoyed this story, but I didn't love it. I do want to know what happens next - both immediately and to the distant future.


3.5 stars
For fans of time travel stories, YA romance

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