Title: The Here and Now
Author: Ann Brashares
Genre: ya, sci-fi, romance
Published: 8 April 2014
Rating: 3 / 10
Challenges: NetGalley Reading Challenge
Full Disclosure: I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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. (from GoodReads)
My Review: This is a really difficult review to write. I actually finished the book over a month ago, but I kept putting off writing the review because I really, really didn't like it. I was so excited when I was approved for Anne Brashare's new book on NetGalley! I loved the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, so I expected to enjoy this story as well. Here's the thing, though: Prenna is really boring and dumb. Reading everything through her eyes was incredibly frustrating, because I wanted to shake her and point out all the clues that she was missing. I was also not a big fan of the romance. Ethan is a "nice guy," and while Prenna swooned over him from day one, I found him seriously suspect. By the end of the book, I felt as though I had read a story about Ethan's journey rather than Prenna's. Is it possible for a male character to be both a Mary Sue AND a Manic Pixie Dream Girl? The only thing I really enjoyed was the paradoxical implications inherent in time travel, and I really didn't feel like that was explored enough.
That said, I'm positive this book would be a big hit with my students. Between the pseudo-science, the dystopian future, and the romance it pretty much hits every YA trope on the BINGO card. The ending also leaves the story up to serialization, but I think it works better as a stand-alone.
If you have reviewed this book as well, leave me a message in the comments and I'll link to your review.