Title: The Here and Now
Author: Ann Brashares
Provided Synopsis: 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.
Review: Well, this book was an unexpected disappointment. I absolutely adore Ann Brashares’ Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, and was therefore very excited to be offered an opportunity to read an advanced copy of her newest novel, The Here and Now. But, unfortunately, the book did not live up to my expectations.
The story began with promise as our protagonist Prenna makes her immigration from the future to the year 2010 with a community of others like her. Her arrival is noticed, however, by a then-fourteen-year old boy named Ethan, who goes on to remember her and the disturbance time travel can cause to the air for the two year it takes Prenna to appear in his life again. Fast-forward another two years (to 2014), and our story finally begins to unfold. Prenna and Ethan have become friends, or at least as close to friendship as can be allowed since the rules for time travelers insist she not become too close to time natives. He remembers her, but she can remember nothing about her arrival; all Prenna has done in the four years since her arrival is follow the rules while remaining suspicious of their true intent and the restrictions they provide.
For the story to move forward it took a homeless man to corner Prenna and tell her that he knows she is from the future; he goes on to insist that she must do something to alter the future to prevent the blood plague that will destroy the world. The stakes were set and they were high. But they never went further than this point. The premise lauds this book as a thriller, yet there is not enough depth in the book to make it be so. The characters have very little development; those who should be the villains have no power to do anything, the secondary characters are weak, Ethan seems to only be whatever the plot needs him to be, and everything unravels with very little suspense. The plot holes are numerous, as are the plot detours, and the romance did very little to inspire. I left this book feeling incredibly under whelmed, and that is never what I want.
(I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The expected publication date is April 8, 2014.)