Title: The Here and Now
Author: Ann Brashares
Genre: YA, romance, sci-fi
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Synopsis from cover: 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.
This is my first experience with Brashares’ writing, and I’m sad to say that I won’t be picking up any more of her books. The Here and Now wasn’t anything like I was expecting, and not in a good way. I was hoping for a strong sci-fi/time travel thriller, like the synopsis promised, but instead it was an over-sappy, illogical contemporary with hints of science fiction.
The best way I can describe this book is vague: like a picture that’s been traumatized by the blur tool in photoshop and the saturation turned way low. It was just all grays and whites. No color – no passion or emotion or anything I could connect to. I maintained a disconnected interest the entire time, and I’m pretty sure it’s only because the book was so short and I figured I might as well finish it.
The characters were flat, and Ethan is this supposedly amazing guy who just so happens to have every single skill needed to complete their mission. But in reality we don’t get a backstory, we don’t see where he comes from or who he really is except how he relates to Prenna and their romance. And during their “time-limited, world-changing” trip, they take the time to sit around on the beach or in a hotel and talk about how much they want to schtoop each other but that they can’t because Prenna carries germs. Basically she’s a walking STD from the future.
Speaking of the future – the world building was minimal. And the time travel logic was nonexistant. I’m usually pretty good at understanding parallel timelines and all that, but there wasn’t even a shred of explanation for me to go off of. It was like Brashares said, “They time traveled, it happened somehow, now watch Prenna fall in love with the forbidden boy!”
And the ending? Don’t get me started. I won’t rant because when I rant I spoil stuff, so here’s a brief summary of my feelings: way too easy. There is no way in this world that what happened would actually happen. And then the epilogue (which by my definition, for a standalone book, should wrap everything up nicely) was so random and open-ended that I was swiping frantically at my kindle app, hoping for another page to explain what the hell just happened.
Maybe this book will tickle someone else’s fancy, but it didn’t for me. I was really disappointed, and I’m not sure what could have fixed it to be honest. I know everyone is so excited about its release, but this is one I won’t be buying for sure.
My Final Rating: