From the back cover:
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.
I’ve never read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Okay. There. Admission made. I picked up The Here and Now because–TIME TRAVEL!!! I’ve always been fascinated with the idea and this one sounded not only interesting, but also like a high stakes thriller, which was a definite plus.
WHAT I LIKED:
Ann Brashares has a lyrical writing style that’s very easy to fall into. She keeps you turning the pages and before you know it, you’re halfway through and you suddenly can’t put the book down.
I really liked the character of Prenna. She’s strong and courageous and loyal and not afraid to question the rules her “society” has placed on her. She has a wonderful bond with Ethan that both thrills her and frightens her. She doesn’t want to put him in danger, and yet, when the truth starts unraveling, he’s the only one she can trust. Though their relationship doesn’t really grow, they start out in love and end up in love, the romantic subplot is a sweet and enjoyable addition to the book.
Ann Brashares does a good job of setting up the backstory of the time-traveling, a world full of destruction and blood plagues, a society desperate to find a way to save it before it’s too late. I thought this was a unique approach and Ms. Brashares added plenty of twists and turns that kept me invested in the story.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK FOR ME:
While I enjoyed the world that Ms. Brashares created, I also found the whole “global warming/climate change/people are destroying the world” message to be a little heavy handed at times. It seemed to much like an agenda, and that detracted from the story for me.
Plus, while I really liked the character of Ethan, there were times when his actions became too far fetched for the story. He was good at everything. Need a ‘spy’ proficient in planting trackers and lasering out window glass? He’s your guy. Need a hacker capable of setting up secure servers? Yep, he’s your guy. Need a scientist capable of figuring everything out at the perfect moment? Well…you guessed it, he’s your guy.
I would have liked to see him have some flaws. Come to think of it, I’d like to have seen both him and Prenna have more weaknesses and face more setbacks. Everything seemed way too easier for them.
Ann Brashares’ voice saved this one for me. Despite the flaws in the story, I still found myself racing through the pages to find out what would happen. I’d recommend The Here and Now to anyone who loves science and time-travel and thrillers and doesn’t mind having to suspend disbelief to enjoy a story.