The Here and Now by Ann Brashares: Book review

The Here and Now
Book title/Author: The Here and Now by Ann Brashares
Publisher/Year: January 1st 2015 Hachette Children's
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Series: No
Pages: 320
Source/Format: eARC | NetGalley
(Thanks Hachette/NetGalley!)
Rating: 2 stars out of 5

*This review may contain spoilers!*


Seventeen-year-old Prenna James emigrated to New York when she was twelve. But 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 and take the lives of her younger brothers. But everything changes when she falls for Ethan.

My review

I went into this book with no expectations whatsoever, which turned out to be the right thing to do, as I have no strong positive feelings towards this book.

I couldn't connect with the story particularly, or any of the characters. They all seemed to have no personality and were each written in for a sole purpose to move the story along. They also didn't develop at all throughout the span of the book, which is unusual. Normally you see at least some character growth throughout the whole length of a book, but the characters remained exactly the same, which certainly wasn't a good thing in this case.

The general plot was quite predictable, at least for me. The time-travel aspect wasn't executed well, and it didn't interest me. It also managed to be both confusing and simple in equal measures, which is an achievement, albeit not one you would want.

I disliked the two main characters in this book very much. That clearly means I wouldn't like this book very much, even if I loved every other aspect. A pet peeve of mine is insta-love in books, and this one had it. That put me off right from the start, but I wasn't about to give up on it yet. Ethan and Prenna both had no redeeming qualities, or anything interesting in their personalities, sadly. Ethan was a massively horny teenager who only cared about Prenna, or more specifically trying to have sex with her. I mean, I know teenage boys, and I can safely say that none of them are as bad as Ethan. He doesn't care in the slightest that Prenna's not having sex with him for a perfectly valid reason - a deadly virus from the future -  but that doesn't stop him from bringing it up as much as possible. Also, it seemed as though Ethan was only in the book to help Prenna in sticky situations. It would've been nice to actually find out more about him, instead of just witnessing his creepy advances.

Prenna wasn't much better, however. She too lacked in the personality department, but in a different way. Instead of being perceived as a horny creep, she came across as just plain weird, and lacking in common sense. She made some REALLY stupid decisions in this book and is supposed to be really clever when we see no example of this at all.

All in all, I'm disappointed in this book. Although I wasn't expecting much, I also didn't expect it to be quite this bad. On the other side, this did introduce me to YA Science Fiction and I hope to give this sub-genre more of a go. If you yourself enjoy sci-fi, then see if you enjoy this!



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