Review: The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

The Here and NowPublishing Date: April 8, 2014 by Delacorte Press
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 288

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.

The first thing I really liked about The Here and Now was that it was not quite as focused on the romance as the blurb led me to believe. I tripped over a lot of the time travel stuff, to be honest – I spent too much time wondering about the plausibility of it and the implications of every action to 100% enjoy everything that was going on, but once I learned to let it go and just enjoy the story, it took me for a ride that didn’t stop until the book came to an end.

To say that I was glad the book was not as focused on the romance as I initially thought implies that I didn’t like the romance, but that actually isn’t true in this case. I have mixed feelings when it comes to a lot of romance (not just in YA, but in general), so I went into the book with that impression, and thankfully it wasn’t anything like I thought it might be. Prenna and Ethan’s romance is a breath of fresh air in the face of what I’ve gotten used to reading, and other than one bit where it made me uncomfortable, I really liked it overall.

I enjoyed Brashare’s writing style. I haven’t read any of her other book yet (just realized she wrote The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants!), but think I am more interested in reading the Sisterhood books now that I know what her writing is like. The words and sentences flowed really well and I liked Prenna’s voice a lot.

All in all, I had three issues with this book. The first (and biggest) was the time travel stuff. I know not every reader will be able to just push past it and take it at face value like I was able to, but I think that once you can, the story will be a lot more enjoyable (though the story still threw me for several loops that I struggled with, haha). The second was that the story takes a little while to get going, but once it did, I found it extremely difficult to put down. The third was a minor sideplot thing that wasn’t 100% resolved, and I WANT TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED, but I guess we’re not meant to know.

I would definitely recommend The Here and Now to anyone that’s able to look past the headache of the time travel stuff. It was really enjoyable and is one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read so far this year!

I was pre-approved for this title by the publisher via NetGalley. Thank you for the opportunity to read this book!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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