Format Read: eGalley
Source: from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: April 8, 2014
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | OmniLit* | Barnes & Noble
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Blurb from goodreads:
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.
I'd heard of Ann Brashares before, she writes the Traveling Pants series, but I hadn't read any of her books. The premise for this was intriguing though so I thought I'd give it a try.
Set in contemporary times, "The Here and Now" is time-travel book, a romance, and a mystery with hunts of dystopian that touches on serious contemporary issues such as super bugs, global warming, and economics. I say touches on because they aren't the primary topics but they are the impetus for events. The future is a grim place but a small group of people, about a thousand, manage to travel back to the US in the year 2014. There are strict rules about how to behave in this time line and punishment can include death.
Prenna has trouble with the rules; she understands, mostly, why they exist but thinks that some could be relaxed, and she's certain that the travelers aren't doing enough to prevent the coming plague. Prenna is in many respects a typical teen - somewhat rebellious, problems with her parent, testing boundaries, and falling in love for the first time. That love, Ethan, is forbidden because he's not a fellow time traveler. She can't help herself though and soon they are involved and not just romantically; they're caught up in a mystery, trying to change the future.
"The Here and Now" is a story full of convenient plot devices, cardboard characters, and plot holes. Although, it's hard not to have plot holes in a story with time travel; I swear they're inherent in the whole concept. Yet, I did enjoy the story, and it was fast read as it's fairly light. It's a turn off your brain and enjoy kind of story.
Prenna is supposed to have a high IQ but she constantly makes poor decisions, resulting in obvious consequences. Though, often these events seem to be filler with no real purpose in the story. She also has asthma but other than an event in the past that's referenced once or twice, it serves no real purpose. On the upside, Brashares actually got her asthma facts right, which doesn't happen nearly often enough in stories.
Ethan also has a high IQ and he's wonder boy, he can do anything - a teen physicist, a computer hacker, a talented rescuer, a card shark, infinitely patient, etc. Whenever Prenna needs rescuing or the story needs a particular talent or skill to move the story along, Ethan's your boy.
There's not a lot of meat to the story, everything is all very superficial, including the characters. Despite that, there's a certain appeal to the story and I read it in two sittings. I'd have done it in one but I fell asleep. :D Prenna, despite being annoyingly stupid, was a good narrator and I got caught up in the story. But once I finished the story and thought about it, all the problems jumped up and smacked me in the face.
"The Here and Now" had potential but misses the mark. It is an engaging story so if you're willing to turn off your brain for a bit, give it a shot.