The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

The Here and Nowebook, 288 pages
Expected publication: April 8th 2014

I’ve never read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants; the most I’ve been exposed to it was seeing the previews to the movies, which I also didn’t see. So The Here and Now is my first experience to Ann Brashares. Was it a good one? Kind of, yea, kind of is a good word to use here.

When I first started the book, I was pretty into it. I like time traveling stories and seeing what the authors do with them. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it isn’t, but the journey is usually what I’m after so I was excited to read this.

Prenna comes from the future where the world has gone out of wack and people are dying in huge numbers. In order to save some of the remaining humans, someone created a time machine and POOF they popped up in our time period. They’re saved from their disaster, but that doesn’t mean that they’re free. Since they’re in our world, Prenna and her fellow time jumpers have to live a strict life filled with not exposing their way of life. You can’t change what’s to come, you can’t have relations with anyone other than those who jumped with you, and you are definitely not allowed to tell people the truth about you.

Sounds interesting, right? Kind of like a dystopian like world set in our world. But here lies the problems.

We’re told that the time jumpers are not allowed to expose themselves to ‘normal’ people, but everything they do exposes them to the outside world. Prenna, for example, goes to public school where she interacts with everyone. She’s also a teenager, so for her not to fall in love or develop a crush on someone is highly unlikely.

It would have been better if they lived like the Amish, secluded and only seeking outside help when needed, other than that, they keep to themselves. That doesn’t happen here. It’s almost like the time jumpers want to expose the truth by being so open to the public. It might be true that hiding in plain site is the best way to hide, but not when you’re a YA teenager. That’s just asking for trouble.

And trouble is what happens. Prenna starts to question everything, after Ethan, a guy in her class who first showed up in the prologue to declare his undying love for her, starts to give her funny ideas. I already have a problem with the rules that this group thought of, but it’s after Prenna starts to be a thorn on their side that I really started to wonder if the future is more like Idiocracy than what was being sold to me here. Ever time Prenna does something that goes against the order; they go after her friend, but never her. When they finally do go after her, they don’t send her away they practically lock her in her room.

However, this is where the story finally starts to pick up and unfortunately, this is also where the story starts to lose my interest. I liked everything before this point, but once Prenna escapes her jail and heads off with Ethan it stops being interesting. We’re told that they’re trying to find the man responsible for killing an important scientist who can help save the future. This is pretty awesome and provides a good amount of angst for the two. Yet, this never really comes into fruition. In order to understand this, let me ask you a question:

If you knew that a killer going to kill someone in a few days, and this someone was important when it comes to saving humanity, would you

a. Play cards
b. Go to the beach
c. Discuss whether you should or shouldn’t have sex with a guy that you really really like
d. Wait until the last possible moment to do something
e. Play more cards
f. All of the above

If you asked yourself, “Pdbkwm, what kind of choices are those? I’d find the killer as soon as possible and finish this, or I’d save the person as soon and possible and finish this.” Then congrats, you are officially smarter than Ethan and Prenna who chose f, all of the above.

Trying to find the killer or the scientist would have been pretty thrilling; instead the book wastes time with all of the above and then some. I don’t really mind this, but Ethan and Prenna are meant to be smart, and in Ethan’s case street smart too, but they never display this. They could have done all of this after saving the world, but instead they chose to go to the beach and play hearts.

I just can’t. This made no sense to me.

Overall: I do think the writing was great and the idea that you can’t change history was pretty good too, but the thriller part of this romantic thriller wasn’t thrilling. It was long winded and unnecessary. I also didn’t like the ending. [spoiler]Prenna becoming the head and being voted into power by the other time jumpers just seems like a bad idea. She’s still a teen. A teen who plays cards instead of saving the world. I wouldn’t want her as my leader.[/spoiler].

But the writing was good and there were things that I did like, it just kind of fell short. It’s disappointing too, because there was so much potential, it was just ruined by an insta love romance and card playing. Also, everyone who I found interesting was either killed or exiled.

Oh well, hopefully my next Brashares book will be a good one.

The Here and Now was provided by netgalley.

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