The Here and Now by Ann Brashares
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.
Publishes in US: April 8th 2014 by Delacorte Press
Genre: YA time travel
Source: Random via Netgalley
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I wanted to read The Here and Now for two reasons. The first, I love any thing in ya dealing with time travel, especially if it has romance involved, and even more so since it is a forbidden love. Second, I enjoyed Sisterhood, and I wanted to see how Ms. Brashares handled paranormal.
I know that a lot of my blogging buddies didn't really fall in love with this story, but despite some issues, I really got into the story, especially the friendship and longing to be more forbidden aspect between Preena and Ethan. Their easy friendship that has morphed into something sweet, and longing, as well as the fact that we know Ethan saw her when she first arrived, but Preena doesn't adds an extra element of suspense. It also explains his patience and that he doesn't pressure her for answers even though I know that curiosity must be burning a hole in his brain. But he accepts that he can't and he just befriends her, and doesn't pressure. That respect that I gained for him went so far in being team Ethan.
Preena herself quickly shows to be a mild rebel. She wants to help the future and uphold the integrity of time, but she also wants to be more than just casual friends with Ethan. She wants to know things, and she asks questions. I admire her that she doesn't just silently accept, and the fire she has for really wanting to make a difference. But then she started making stupid decisions and it became too focused on just the two of them whereas the whole saving the world thing took a bit of a back seat. I get it, teenage hormones, the friendship turned into attraction turned to love/lust. But there are huge risks, and while I want to cheer for them, it is so hard knowing possibly consequences. It had me so torn right along with them because I did feel their chemistry and I know that it is so easy to get caught up in a moment and not think how it will effect tomorrow, others, or anything besides that moment feeling so right.
There are other issues, like not really understanding why characters were so in the dark as to how they are supposed to be changing the future. The silly decisions. The fact that even though I liked Ethan, there were things he could do that were just a little too convenient and at times, pretty darn weird that he did in the first place, I think. And the random sex mentions. Maybe it just read that way to me but yeah, their conversations about it felt a little forced and unrealistic.
But then there were other aspects that I really enjoyed. I liked the world building that we see when Prenna writes the letters to her brother Julius. It helps to see how the two time periods are different, and set up the environment that Prenna grew up in without it seeming too forced like a story dump. It also showed a family connection that felt lacking with Prenna's mom so depressed and her dad decided last minute not to make the trip through time.
The first part really got my attention and I read through until about 40% in one sitting, so obviously some of the things I mentioned as issues didn't get in the way of readability and the fact that I didn't want to stop in spite. I had to take a break due to illness but then I read the last 60 in a sitting too, so it definitely kept my attention and I wanted to know how everything worked out.
In some ways, I really enjoyed the ending. It fixed the main problem of the book, and it tied up a lot of things, but there is still too much unknown for me. I am not sure if it is supposed to be a series, and if it is, then that fixes said issues. I think that the forbidden part of the love story and really thinking of Ethan's health since Prenna comes from the future with epic and deadly diseases keeps them apart, and while it is smart and the right thing, I still am holding out for some way for them to be together.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
Given the opportunity would you travel in time if you were given strict protocols--no seeking outside medical treatment, never revealing who or where/when you're from and no getting too close or being involved with people from the other time period?