Monday, March 3, 2014

Review: The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

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

Decent concept, bad execution.  Make no mistake – this is not a dystopian novel.  It is based on an apocalyptic event, yes, but one that was only referenced in a handful of pages in the entire novel.  Yes, the heroine and her people came from a dystopian setting, but the book takes place in 2014.  This is a time travel novel.  (Not a very good one.)

I’ve never read anything by this author before, and have no interest in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books, but she has skill, for sure.  Unfortunately, I think time travel is a little out of her comfort zone.  The parts of the novel where the heroine remembers the past (the plague that ended the world as she knew it) were actually decent.  If this book was just about that plague, it would have been better. 

So in this book, a thousand people from the future (around year 2090) find a way to travel through time and leave their devastated world.  But they have rules, and they will be drowned to death if they disobey them.  So they can’t have close personal relationship with the “time natives”, and are forbidden on doing a bunch of other stuff which is fading from my mind like a bad dream as I type this.  So Prenna can’t fall in love with Ethan or there will be consequences.  Like there wouldn’t already be devastating consequences from a thousand people taking up permanent residence in the past that they don’t belong in, but right, a committee in their system is going to micro-manage high school relationships.  They have time for that shit.

Also – this story would have worked better as a trilogy, or hell, even a longer book, so that we could have taken the time to get to know the characters.  If the reader would have had a chance to fall in love with the hero instead of just being told that the heroine loved him, we could have forgiven weak secondary characters or a plot riddled with holes if you think about it too much.  Maybe.  But no chance with the lack of character development we were given. 

Two stars, because it started off decent enough, and despite inconsistencies, I read it quickly and it kept my interest.  The more I think of it in retrospect, though, the more I realize that it just wasn’t very good.

I was invited by the publisher, Random House Children's, courtesy of Netgalley, to receive a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. 

Expected publication date: April 8 2014


  1. Oh no! This one sounded so good! It's a shame that the book had such potential but the execution failed to live up... :(

    Anyways, thanks for sharing and fabulous review!
    ~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

    1. I know, it sounded amazing from the synopsis. It wasn't that bad while I was reading it, either...

      Thanks for stopping by! :)

  2. It's always so disappointing when the book isn't as good as the synopsis- which most definitely seems to be the case here haha.
    Also, the whole segregation thing makes no sense. Where the eff are they going to get money and food and stuff?? And the moment they went back in time- did no one notice a THOUSAND people popping up out of nowhere? And none of those people would have identification papers or anything. Are these things properly explained? Because if they're not, this book is most definitely going in the books-to-avoid pile haha

    1. No, none of that was properly explained. It was eluded to the fact that things like identification papers and such were somehow obtained, but not the how. Not enough "hows" at all. :(

  3. Ahaha this book. I had the same problem as you when it came to finishing this book and then not remembering anything afterwards. Just shows how bad of a read this is, and not memorable at all.


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