by Ann Brashares
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Release Date: April 8, 2014
Source: Received in exchange for review
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.
I was actually quite excited to read this one. I can admit without shame to loving Ann’s sisterhood series in grade eight. All of my friends would read the series and we basically idolized the books. Seriously, we even searched high and low for a pair of pants that would magically fit all of us. We sadly had to settle for a pair of cringe worthy pair of neon boots. They were definitely a crime against fashion.
So, my expectations for The Here and Now were actually quite high. I now realize that was an huge mistake, as I couldn’t even finish this story. I managed to slog through 80 percent of The Here and Now. I can honestly say that I haven’t read a book in quite some time that I was less invested in The Here and Now. I found myself reading the same line over and over again, this book was simply mind numbing for me. I wasn’t invested in the plot, characters, setting, and world building….not an thing.
What is logic and science? Well this book definitely isn’t friends with either. The Here and Now supposedly contains a world eighty years in our future. Instead of being quite livable, the world sucks. A disease transferable by mosquitoes causes a mass pandemic. People miraculously use the ability to use the “th” sound. Clearly that would totally happen over the course of 80 years. If we were to go back eighty years the year would be 1934. Obviously people in 1934 speak totally different then we do. Not. I found this random tidbit to be completely stupid. Clothes are no longer made by recycled.
You may think I’m not describing this world well, but guess what? That’s all The Here and Now describes it to be like, 80 percent in anyway. I don’t except there to be any sudden beautiful world building with that remaining 20 percent. You get bare bones descriptions that frankly make hardly any sense.
This book also had time travel in it. I just recently finished an pretty awesome time travel book, so I was excepting a lot from this one. Right away my hopes were dashed. The actual science of the time travel was loosely explained and parts often contradicted each other. Originally you’re made to believe that making any changes to the present is bad. You don’t want to mess with time. Wait .89897987 seconds later and you’re being told you must change the past to make for a better future.
You know that plague I mentioned above? Yeah, that’s the reason for the time travel. A select small group from the future are allowed to time travel to the past. How somebody as insipid as Prenna got picked, I’ll never know. The fact that technology has gone to the point where time travel would be ground breaking. So why can’t they cure this pandemic, or at least find a way to prevent it? It made zero fucking sense that people could time travel in this world yet not be able to do anything with the disease. Apparently travelling to the past was the only viable solution.
I mentioned Prenna in the above paragraph. She was the main character in this novel, and definitely not one I enjoyed. She supposedly had an IQ which was truly laughable to me. I haven’t met a character as dumb and careless as Prenna in quite some time. She makes truly stupid choices and has to be rescued by the love interest all of the time. She has no substance to her and I didn’t connect to her any way, except for laughing at her utter stupidity. An example of her lack of intellect is when she discovers that her glasses are how the strict time traveling leaders monitor her. How does she react to this knowledge? Oh, she just continues to make her plans against them out loud. The fact she reveals her plans is one thing, but the fact she does it knowingly? Complete idiocy. You’d think somebody in the future would be better educated but it appears Prenna missed that boat by a mile. Prenna never learns from her mistakes throughout the novel and keeps on needing the love interest to save her. She makes assumptions with little evidence. I honestly tried to find something redeeming about Prenna but I can’t think of a thing that would make up for her total incompetence.
The love interest is completely boring. In no way did I enjoy or connect to Ethan at all. He simply seemed to be a plot device, one that needed to constantly save Prenna from her stupid choices. He’s perfect in every way it seems and can’t do any wrong. HE’S SO BORING.
The chemistry between Prenna and Ethan was of course unconvincing and contrived. It appears out of nowhere and just keeps getting more and more ridiculous. I personally think The Here and Now has also set an new record for insta-love. This is evidenced by a quote, which is in the fucking prologue.
“She was the kind of girl he would dream up because she was approximately his age, her skin was bare except for the dark wet streamers of hair around her body, and she was supernaturally beautiful, like a mermaid or an elvish princess.”
It’s insane to me that the very first second Prenna walks into this time period that Ethan’s one hundred percent in love with her. Their romance was truly nauseating and it definitely took over the book. Instead of doing something that could possibly save the future world Ethan and Prenna’s romance takes centre stage. I mean why save the fucking world? You could instead drink sangrias on the beach, kiss, talk about sex, learn card games and kiss some more. It was laughable that all of the aforementioned was done instead of anything useful. Certainly there was some talk about possibly going against the time travel leaders and maybe not taking suspicious pills. Still, there’s no way anybody could argue against the fact that priorities were seriously skewed in this novel.
I stopped reading this book in the climax of the book, and that should definitely be a red flag to you. I’m pretty sure the characters were in a life threatening position. Did I care? Nope, not even in the least. I couldn’t care less about what happens to Prenna or Ethan. I couldn’t even be bothered to read the final few pages. Honestly, I hope the stereotypical antagonist prevails in this case.
Overall this book was a huge disappointment to me. This book wins a prize for being the book I was the least invested in this year. I can’t honestly pick out any positives in The Here and Now, and believe me when I say I actually tried. If you’re looking for a book that actually contains some good time traveling and gets better with every book I’d recommend checking out Julie Cross.
I certainly hope our world doesn’t go to shit in 80 years and we have to rely on Prenna. We’d be so fucking screwed.
~Thank you Delacotre Press for sending me this copy!~
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