"The Here and Now" by Ann Brashares
Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.
Seventeen-year-old Prenna James immigrated to New York when she was twelve years old. But she didn’t come from another country, she came from a different time. In the future, a mosquito-borne illness has killed millions of people and is threatening to wipe all life from earth. But Prenna and others have discovered a way to escape, by going back in time.
Once in the present day, their community is strictly controlled and everyone must follow the rules so that no one discovers where they are really from and so that they can help prevent the plague they are escaping from. Prenna doesn’t want to break the rules but when she falls in love with Ethan, a boy at school, she finds herself in trouble. And when Prenna and Ethan find out a secret that could save the future, they soon find themselves on the run from the community and in a race against time.
The Here and Now is the newest novel from Ann Brashares, the bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. Young adult, science fiction, romance, this book packs a lot in to a quick read.
I really don’t read much from the Young Adult genre but when I saw this book available on Netgalley and I read the blurb I thought it would be interesting (I also got the author mixed up with another whose book I enjoyed many years ago.) This ended up being a book that was okay for me, not fantastic but not bad either.
The premise is very cool, a community of people who travel from the future to escape a plague that is wiping out the earth. I wish though that this part had been expanded upon a bit more. The book only gives a glimpse part way through of what life was like but I think this could have been developed more. I also wish that more about how the community arrived in the present time and how they set themselves up and functioned was included. It felt as though it rushed into setting up the romance between Ethan and Prenna.
I really enjoyed how the book touched upon the current issues surrounding climate change and illness. The plot of the book gives this good light and touches on an very important subject in a great way for young people. I do think, however, that this also could have been developed a little bit more.
As I have said, I’m not much of a YA reader, so I’m not sure if my some of my grievances with the characters and their actions are because the genre is just not for me or if they are really silly. One example of this is when Prenna and Ethan are supposed to be off saving the world but they take a break to go shopping and head to the beach. I was thinking surely they could be doing other things to prepare. And the way their relationship developed, well it was all just a little surprising to me.
As I said, I thought the premise of the book was very interesting and a great idea. But where the book falls flat for me is how the story is developed. I think more attention could have been given to certain points. It would have made the book longer, but in my opinion, more well-rounded. It all felt rushed and that is unfortunate for such a good start.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher through Netgalley. The opinions expressed above are my own.