YA Book Review: The Here and Now by Ann Brashares
As soon as I started reading this book, I was drawn into the story. The premise is reminiscent of Terra Nova (cancelled TV show from a few years back). Basically, people from a failed future decide to go back in time to a better time on earth. However, in this book instead of going back to the time of the dinosaurs, the future people in this book decide that 2014 is the golden age that they want to return to, a time when global climate change is only just starting, and the mosquito plagues that ravage humanity haven’t yet happened (according to the book :)).
While the premise for this novel isn’t entirely original, it still felt completely fresh (and yay, T-rex doesn’t show up). The story centers on two teenagers, Prenna and Ethan. Ethan saw Prenna arriving in the present from the future, though Prenna doesn’t remember it. He is instantly besotted by her, though she disappears from his life for years, only to return in high school. Prenna meanwhile, is living in an extremely restrictive society—a society of time travelers with leaders who aren’t above browbeating and shaming their members to keep them from altering history.
For the first third of the book, I really loved the writing, the introductions of the characters and the society, and the sweet forbidden friendship between Prenna and Ethan. However once the plot really starts to get going, things quickly begin to unravel. The complex backstory is laid out in awkwardly long dialogues, the romance between the main characters jumps from slow hand-holding to something more much too quickly, and exciting plot twists feel a tad predictable. But perhaps the thing that I was most disappointed by was the fact that by the end of this book, there were more questions about the premise than answers, and I found myself unable to believe that the extremely restrictive, borderline abusive society that Prenna had grown up in made any sort of logical sense.
Even with all that said, I was conflicted about how to rate this book (on Goodreads), because it was still an extremely compelling and enjoyable read–just don’t expect everything to make sense by the end and you’ll be fine.
Disclaimer: Review of free ARC requested through NetGalley