The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

The Here and Now
by Ann Brashares
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Format: Kindle, ARC
Published: April 8th, 2014 by Delacorte Press
Genre: YA sci-fi, fantasy

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"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. " -goodreads

Review:

“Just because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened. It has. It is real. I am real. I am not some fabrication, out of nothing and nowhere, floating through time. I had a real family. I belonged somewhere once.” (loc. 1367)

The premise of this book is what initially greeted my interest. A time-traveling sci-fi dystopian book? Very different from other typical YA dystopias. While the subject and ideas were innovative and interesting, overall, the story failed to meet my expectations. 

“‘There is a moment in time when the entire path of the future shifts. It’s going to happen soon, and we can’t let it pass without doing something.’” (loc. 585)

The beginning became more and more confusing as I read on, and with the swift POV change from the prologue to the main story, I wasn’t sure who was narrating. I was pleased that a lot was cleared up by chapter five, and I began to comprehend the ideology of this new time-shifting dystopian world. I only wish the storyline would’ve stayed with the passion of taking down this dystopia, instead of zeroing in on a romance. Yes, the end point of this book involved forbidden romance, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that although Prenna and Ethan had known each other for a couple of years, it still seemed like instalove. While reading, it seemed like they were just classmates that occasionally talked (with Prenna actively trying to avoid him,) but all of a sudden they’re madly in love with each other, and that overwhelms the entire book. Even when they are forced to go on a mission to change the course of the future, something major that should be taken seriously, they go out fooling around on a beach and contemplate sex. It became ridiculous that these people are in charge of changing a horrible wrong that has greatly affected the future. Needless to say, any credibility towards these characters were lost on me, as “saving the world” obviously became an afterthought. There were other things such as Prenna’s letters, as well as her scare with Ethan, that didn’t quite fit in, but at that point I just threw logic out the window. 

“How can he expect me to do these things? Does he know about the rules? Does he not realize that my community, my past, and my continued existence hang in the balance? It’s not like there’s some other life I can choose.” (loc. 865)

In all, I had high hopes for this book as the ideas are amazing, and would have been spectacular if they had been taken seriously and elaborated on. With such great potential, I was excited to see where this book would take me, but I suppose I just didn’t like the turn it took. It’s evident through the author’s fluid and almost poetic writing style, that she’s good at it, I just think the plot could have been dealt with better.

“May it isn’t corruption or greed that makes you cowardly. Maybe it’s not weakness, suffering, or even fear. Maybe it is love.” (loc. 2200)

*Quotes I liked:

“It’s like any strict religious or political system. When your practices are hard to follow, you’d better keep reminding your flock of them.” (loc. 148)

“It’s an unthinkable sin to tell an outsider our secret. But what if that outsider already knows?” (loc. 964)

“Am I breaking rules? Yes. I am crushing them right and left. Am I intervening? You betcha. Am I cheating? Flagrantly. I am throwing elbows into the gut of time. I am lying like a criminal, and it feels both terrible and great.” (loc. 2179)


Galley provided by NetGalley via Delacorte Press

*Quotes are from uncorrected advanced galleys and may change before going to press. Please refer to the final printed book for official quotes.

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