I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Here and Now by Ann Brashares
Published by Delacorte Press on April 8, 2014
Genres: Young Adult
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.
The Here and Now first reminded me of Lois Lowry’s The Giver. We begin at a ceremony to basically scare the shit out off youngsters with extreme rules and the creation of sameness. Hm, I vaguely questioned whether Ann Brashares was jumping off the stir for The Giver movie but eventually moved on. The Here and Now is not at all like The Giver, but I’m not sure which way it should be taken.
Brashares’ novel was hectic and a little discombobulated. As a time travel novel, it jumped around, and not necessarily in a good way. I actually found it a little confusing and for a time questioned which realm they were in. I’m not trying to say it was a bad plot because even though the “save the world” premise has been done before The Here and Now’s sense of sameness and cure/cause for the west-Nile-like breakout was interesting.
The big flaw was the community. Yes they are bad but when you got into it I thought most of the community members were in the periphery and Prenna’s advisers flipped in and out of the story so frequently I almost forgot they were there. Occasionally, they made an appearance to remind the reader how big, bad and scary they were but instead just made me yawn.
As for the romance between Prenna and Ethan, that was my favorite part. I usually don’t fall for the cheesy teen romance and didn’t for this one either. It was the outcome of the relationship that caught my eye as they usually end in a gushy kiss. This one not so much. In the world of teen romance, the outcome was sad but thought it rounded out the novel.
I think a fan of the futuristic genre would enjoy The Here and Now as it had all the elements, but the stars did not a line for me on this one.