Thursday, April 10, 2014

Review: The Here and Now

The Here and Now
By Ann Brashares
Delacorte Press April 2014
288 pages
Read via Netgalley

The Here and Now

Prenna James might seem like your normal teenager. She lives with her mother, goes to school, spends time with her best friend, and tries her best not to be distracted by the cute boy in her math class. But looks can be deceiving. Prenna is actually a time traveler, sent back in time with others  in the hopes that they can stop a horrifying future from becoming reality. Their time is a nightmare, a society that is broken by a deadly and virulent disease. Prenna believes in following the rules. She obeys the mandates to not question authority, to not change history, and to only trust the people she came back with. But when Ethan reveals that he knows more about her story than she does, Prenna has to decide who to trust and discover if she can actually change the future. 

The Here and Now is an ok read. Now I know what they say about faint praise, but I basically mean that the story is entertaining and you won't be shouting angrily at the sky when you finish reading it. There are downsides, though. Prenna as a character is rather underwhelming and Ethan seems to basically exist as perfection in teenage boy form. He is kind to her (and apparently in love with her) although she has been trying to ignore him in order to follow community rules. He happens to be a genius, which works out well when they have to team up to save the world. And there are no repercussions when he just takes a few days off from life with a car borrowed from a neighbor so he can save Prenna.

There also seems to be some confusion about science. The book has a very clear message about taking care of the planet, but the methods that Prenna and her fellow time travelers used to go to the past are a bit more nebulous. It's also unclear how we have the technology to travel back in time, but we can't stop a disease, create enough clothing for everyone or figure out how to grow fruits like mangoes. This story really would have benefited from some more answers about the future, the people who traveled back, and their plans to save the world.

The Here and Now is a quick and easy read. The romance between Prenna and Ethan is actually sweet and awkward. It just falls flat as a dystopian story. It's light on science, as our heroes spend a lot more time going to the beach and learning to play card games instead of explaining exactly how all of this works. This might be a good introduction to dystopian lit for the middle grade reader, but there are much better choices for teens and adults looking to get their fix of saving the present in order to preserve the future. 


  1. I was also underwhelmed by this story, expecting more from the woman who brought us the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. It was a quick read, and perfectly fine, but I totally agree that there are MUCH better choices for teens and adults out there.

    1. Interestingly, I found this review sort of hard to write. It's hard to explain a book was just "meh" without making it sound terrible!

  2. I guess this one is a skip for me :(