Thursday, March 27, 2014
Review: THE HERE AND NOW
TITLE: THE HERE AND NOW
BY: ANN BRASHARES
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.
RATING:3 OUT OF 5 STARS
I received this ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Here and Now by Ann Brashares was an exciting and fast read. While it probably isn’t one of those books that will change your life, it is an entertaining way to pass an afternoon. I read it in one sitting, which is pretty impressive considering my ADD. TH&N is a fast paced story of mystery and conspiracy that makes it a page turner. Plus, who doesn't like time travel and forbidden love?
I admit I wasn’t in love with this book, but I was intrigued and there were many aspects that I did really enjoy. The promise of “an unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future” drew me in immediately. However, it didn’t exactly live up to my Mt Everest high expectations. For one, it wasn’t wholly thrilling. Most of the storytelling consisted of lines like, “We did this…and then we did that…and then we brainstormed what it would take to save the world in 24 hours over a game of cards”. Obviously, that’s not a direct quote, but hopefully you get the idea. I just felt that most of the book wasn’t in-the-moment as much as it should have been to create that air of tension. Not to say there wasn’t any action, because there was quite a fair amount. And, as always, Brashares' writing enchants.
Although some might criticize the seeming insta-love, I was a fan of the romance. In their fictional defense, I’d like to point out they were school friends for a couple years, undoubtedly lusting after one another in that ever expected hormonal, teenage way. So while their relationship may have seemed to evolve rather quickly, I do recall a friend in high school who fell for a boy after one supposed remarkable conversation. Brashares knows her romance, that’s for sure. I loved the dynamic between Prenna and Ethan, and the conversations they shared. In fact, I would have liked a lot more dialogue between the pair. I couldn't get enough.
I do wish a couple things would have been different. First, that the “Bad Guys” had more depth. I mean, at least they managed to be irrevocably infuriating, but some sort of relatable or human quality (aside from controlling and abusive) could have made them more believable. As for the time travel itself and the future from which Prenna had left behind, there were wholes and questions that were never addressed. And one thing that particularly grated on me (and I don’t know why specifically, as it’s practically insignificant), was this: Prenna is from the year 2090. That’s not even a century from now, hardly 3 or 4 generations. You are telling me that that my grandchild isn’t going to tell her children what Christmas is? Even if by her generation, the celebration is obsolete (because she’s living in a dying, apocalyptic world), how would stories of such a tradition not be passed down? Two centuries into the furture, sure, I could believe that, but eight-something years? It's not a big deal, but when I read that, I did the math in my head and was like
But I digress.
Aside from those very minor transgressions, Ann Brashares is a talented writer and storyteller. It’s definitely no Sisterhood… or My Name is Memory, but if you’re a fan of Brashares' writing, time travel or dystopian YA, I think you should give The Here and Now a shot. You’ve got nothing to lose…although you just might discover a new-found phobia of mosquitoes.