Author: Ann Brashares
Category: Young Adult
Release Date: 4-8-14
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. – Goodreads
The Here And Now had a very appealing plot to me, as a lover of time travel books. Unfortunately, there were some aspects of the story that left me wanting more. There were so many parts of this book that were unbelievably convenient. It was as if the reader never had to work for any conclusion because it would magically work out for the best. Guns, fighting skills, and engineering expertise were all there when you needed them. I like escaping through books as much as the next person, but when everything seems to fall into place too easily, it feels vaguely unsatisfying. The world building was also weak, overall. It was fairly strong when it came to life in the compound and The Rules that must be followed, but weak when explaining how the entire population of time travelers arrived, worked, and existed all over the world. It just didn’t really create a world that I felt drawn into as much as I would have liked. The rushed ending also felt a little jarring, as well. The character of Ethan, who serves as Prenna’s seemingly doomed love interest and her partner in adventure, vacillated between genius and typical teenage boy. It was a little odd, to be honest, and I never really knew him as well as I had to believe that Prenna did.
There were a lot of things that I did like in this story. I loved the way the author wrote about Prenna’s struggle to fit in. As the story progresses and we learn more about the people she had to leave behind, I realized that she really does have survivor’s guilt. After leaving a world that was falling apart, she is planted in a place that seems like paradise in many ways. That creates guilt, confusion, and a feeling of not really belonging anywhere. The purely human elements of this story were really well done and it’s what saved this book for me. The ethics of time travel might seem like a funny thing to think about, but any decent time travel book will have that foundation and it was definitely an important plot point in this story. I also like the mystery surrounding Prenna’s father and the mysteries behind the rules about living with “time natives”. In the end, I would say that I enjoyed this book, overall. There were some glaring issues that I had a hard time ignoring, but it was an interesting premise that combined interpersonal interactions with sci-fi elements.
I received this galley in exchange for my honest review.
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5 responses to “The Here And Now By Ann Brashares”
I didn’t not like this book, but like you I had a lot of issues. The biggest one was the horrible instalove. I could not get past it. And then the fact that it felt like Ethan was pressuring her to have sex. I just couldn’t make myself like him.
To me it was a simple plot. Things happened too easily. The time travel wasn’t well-developed. However, I found the premise interesting enough that I kind of just shrugged all that stuff off and enjoyed the story for what it was.
Prenna’s struggle to fit in really got to me as well, I love the time travel premise too
Me too! I heart time travel!!
I agree with you wholeheartedly about loving the escape into books, but not at the expense of plausibility. It’s a shame things are too convenient. I’m still curious enough to read this, but I won’t go in expecting to be blown away. Thanks for your thoughtful review!
Honestly, I wanted to read this book because Ann Brashares wrote it! But I’m kind of unsure of it now after hearing about it from various trusted sources. While the story does intrigue me on some level, I think I’ll have to take a pass for now. I am glad that there were elements that wound up working for you!