I received this book for free from the Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Here and Now by Ann Brashares
Published by Random House LLC on 2014-04-08
Genres: fantasy, Young Adult
Source: the Publisher via NetGalley
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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. 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.
I’ve had a hard time making myself sit down and write this review. It’s never easy writing a ‘meh’ review but it’s even harder when you’ve been a fan of the author’s previous works and you just can’t say the same about their new book. And that’s exactly how it is for me and The Here and Now. When I read The Traveling Pants books, I became a big fan of the series and of the author. Unfortunately, The Here and Now just didn’t live up to her Traveling Pants series for me. And that makes me sad.
At first, I really loved The Here and Now and really appreciated it’s uniqueness. I’m a fan of time-travel books and I really enjoyed learning the whys and the hows of the traveling and the rules of the community that traveled in this book. I enjoyed the politics involved and the intense control the ruling group had over the rest of the community. I liked the psychological power the ruling group had over the rest of community and was interested in seeing how it played out through Prenna and her struggles with finally defying the group she had always trusted. I always think it’s interesting to see how different the futures could be when just one event is changed in the present and this book did offer that. But even with all of these good points, I did have some problems with the book.
My biggest issue was just how off the pacing was. The beginning was really great and interesting and I was really looking forward to learning more about everything that had happened with Prenna and the time travel. But the middle dragged a lot. A lot. When Prenna finds out what she needs to do to help the future and get’s to the right location and get’s ready, then we are literally just waiting for the next part to happen. And waiting. Brashares takes this time to really focus on the relationship between Prenna and Ethan and some of it is very nice. But mostly I just kept wondering why they were sitting around when there was so much that was going to happen. Why weren’t they preparing more? Why weren’t they talking about it more? We hear that they have a plan but we don’t really know it. I was just frustrated that the pacing was not more consistent and that after having so much interest in the story and characters in the beginning, then I was forced to just sit around and wait for the last part to happen.
And I have a few other smaller issues. In the beginning, Prenna felt strong and determined and brave but partway through she starts making some really stupid choices and I started getting frustrated with her. I also had a small problem with Ethan and felt as though he didn’t really have a very strong personality. I had a hard time getting a really good feel of who he was and where he was coming from with his feelings. I know Ethan and Prenna have known each other for a couple of years, but their relationship still felt a little bit like insta-love to me once it got started. These are small issues but they all kind of happen in the second half and add them to the problem I had with pacing and the whole book just sort of fell apart for me.
I’m so sad to be writing this review and truly wish my feelings on this one were different. I will continue to love The Traveling Pants series and will read more books by Ann Brashares when she writes more, but this will not be a book that ends up on my shelves. If you do still want to check this out, I will say that even with the uneven pacing, it was still a very fast read with some interesting ideas on time travel. If after reading this review and/or other reviews, you don’t feel like you want to read this book, I won’t argue with you.