My rating: 3 of 5 stars
e-book, 183 pages
Published April 8th 2014 by Delacorte Press
Available on: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook
The Here and Now by Ann Brashares is a YA story marketed as “an unforgettable epic romantic thriller” about Prenna James, a 17-year-old girl from the future, year 2090, who might be able to save the world if she manages to “follow the rules, remember what happened and never fall in love“.
I first heard of this book on the NetGalley’s Book Buzz Spring / Summer 2014 edition. The premise is very attractive. Time traveling to “save the world”. But what attracted me the most was that cover. It is eye-catching. The colors are my favorite colors in the world. The photograph behind the diamond art is intriguing. Thumbs up for the cover designer. It’s on my list of pretty covers.
The Here and Now is a super-fast entertaining read. I had just read a long difficult classic so The Here and Now was the perfect light read I needed.
It starts OK. Good intro. Prenna comes back from the future. An ugly future where the human race is becoming extinct thanks to a dengue-like disease caused by mosquitos. She’s not the only one, there’s a whole colony of 1000 people from the future living in the past. Ethan meets Prenna. He falls in love with her instantly as expected in YA reads. Their relationship is forbidden. But they begin an adventure together, breaking the rules to save the world.
I liked this story. I gave this book 3 stars because it started with a good premise and had a refreshingly unexpected ending for a YA story, but there are many loose ends. I’ve said this before, I know it’s YA and nothing makes sense in YA fiction. But I mean, 1000 people travel back in time from the future where everyone is dying, not by an alien invasion or zombies, nope, people are dying from mosquito bites. Does that make sense? These humans from the future have developed the technology that allows them to time travel back in time 80 years, yet they can’t eradicate the mosquito plague that has infected and killed the human race? No super power mosquito traps or mosquito repellents could save the day? They found the cure for AIDS, yet they couldn’t find the cure for the mosquito disease? Huh?
Another loose end are the rules. These people come back in time and must follow 12 rules that oblige them to fit in while being invisible to the world? Huh? Why come back in time if you are not going to change the future? Why is Prenna the only one who wants to make something about this? She’s the only teen in the “colony” who wants to break the rules? All the other future peeps are content knowing that the life they had will never occur? Throughout the book we read letters from Prenna to her brother in the future. What’s the point? There is not going to be a brother in the future because the rules say they can’t change the course of history. Some might say that the letters were a romantic way for Prenna to say goodbye to her future life, sort of like therapy if you will. I tried that approach, but it just doesn’t add up.
The love story didn’t do it for me either. Even though these two were the adventurous type of love-birds breaking the rules and all in hopes for a future together, it was too instant. Prenna’s life depended on Ethan from the get go, and I would’ve liked Prenna to be a little more bad-ass than that, being from the future and all. Also their romantic scenes felt a little out-of-place. For example, there’s a love scene in the midst of their “mission” to prevent a murder. Who has time to go to the beach and chill in hotels before going to prevent a person from being killed?
I could keep going but then I would spoil completely the read and that’s not my point in this review. I don’t want to discourage you from reading it because it is an entertaining read. Even though there were many questions in the middle, the ending surprised me. It ended so differently than what you normally expect a YA love epic adventure story to end. These kids almost seemed adults. They took very mature decisions for their age. For some it may seem absurd, but to me it felt refreshingly good to read an ending like this. I don’t know if I’m was being too generous but this saved this book from getting only two stars.
I’m not a parent but I always comment on sex in YA books. I was gladly surprised that there is no premature teen sex in this book. Yes, they talk about it and even “sleep” together as in fall asleep in the same bed only, but gladly no sex. They get close, but they do have self-control. Also there are a couple of murders, graphically described, but sadly kids are watching so much violence on TV that maybe some might not be affected at all by this.
The Here and Now is definitely a book for teens 13 and up. It’s quick, light, entertaining and perfect for summer. If you are a grown-up and want to read it, do it with an open mind and don’t try to make sense of everything. That’s the only way you’ll fully enjoy it. There will be a movie about this book, no release date yet, it will be produced by the same people who produced The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, another book by Ann Brashares.
- dais: noun. A raised platform in a large room or hall that people stand on when performing or speaking to an audience.
- quaint: adjective. Obsolete.
- obliterated: verb. To remove utterly from recognition or memory.
- drones: verb. To talk in a persistently dull or monotonous tone.
Definitions taken from the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary.
Words have multiple meanings, what you read are those that apply at how the word is used in this book.
When you ask someone a question, it’s an invitation for them to ask you a question…
It’s a matter of great trust, I think, to be able to fall asleep in a person’s arms.