The Here and Now by Ann Brashares
The Skinny: 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. – From Goodreads
BFF?: I didn’t really feel like I got to know Prenna for who she was. I think I got to see more what she was: a nobody living among us, struggling with wanting to be a somebody. Prenna’s life pretty much revolved around “fitting in” and not standing out. Until she finally did stand out to someone and it opened up this entire new world of possibilities. We got to see her eyes finally open to the world she lived in and then enter into this world she wanted to live in. All that being said, I felt like she didn’t have much in the way of personality. It wasn’t until the very end that I got to see a glimpse of who she really was and I liked it, but it wasn’t enough for me to really bond with her. More on this phenomenon in the Commencement Speech.
Readability: This one was pretty easy to read. The language flowed nicely and there were parts that just felt so beautiful. I think what I struggled with was boredom and, therefore, missed out on enjoyment of the language of this one.
Crush Level: 5
I’ll be honest: I can’t even remember the kid’s name from this book. He was sweet though. A little bit of an odd duck though. But I found him very endearing, especially when it came to how he handled Prenna. I can see how she would be a very odd girl to want to get to know, but old what’s his name really embraced her as a friend. Of course, it helps that he randomly saw her naked one day in the woods. But that’s besides the point. He understands that she’s different – and not in an odd girl kind of way – and that she doesn’t get things most people do. I like that even though he gets shocked by her lack of knowledge he doesn’t stoop to teasing or mocking; he takes her under his wing and explains things to her. Overall, he’s just a sweet guy and I wish I could remember his name! ETHAN! yes. Nice kid.
People from the future
There’s always something appealing about people from the future living in the past. Hell, us UA fans have been doing it since the Bear died. And I think on some level we understand that there are rules you have to follow should you find yourself living in the past. But this book opened my eyes a little to the repercussions of not just messing with the past, but living in it as well.
Commencement Speech: I haven’t read many reviews for this book and the ones I have read have not been too positive. After finishing The Here and Now I can see why they weren’t positive. I have mixed feelings towards this book, but overall my response to it is fairly positive. So let me start with the negatives:
Character development – I think they were fully developed; that’s not my complaint. I feel like I didn’t get to really know any of the characters. Rather I feel like I missed out getting to know everyone on a deeper level. Everyone has these complex stories but we’re only given hints of them.
Ethan’s all too easy acceptance of Prenna and the future people – I found this extremely crazy. EXTREMELY crazy. Like who accepts stuff that easily? I don’t care that you’ve always had a theory about your friend; finding out she’s a brainwashed future girl is weird and takes more than 20 seconds to be cool with.
Other dramatic moments – Don’t want to get all spoilery on you, but there’s a point in the book where all hell seems to break loose and it becomes entirely too far fetched. But I don’t think it would be quite as far fetched had there been more back story and not all of a sudden “this person who we have not seen before is the bad guy!”
Now the positives. Yay! Really, the main positive is that we got dropped into the middle of this story and then pulled out quite quickly. And now for a Narnia reference. In Prince Caspian the Pevensies are brought back only to help Caspian defeat Miraz and the Telmarines and then they’re sent back on their merry way. That’s how I felt about this story. We’re dropped in on this one incident and then taken out again because it’s not our story. It’s not for us to live Prenna’s life; we were only meant to see this one part of her life but the rest was not for us.
I’ll admit this book was a little difficult and not everyone is going to like it. I can’t say “if you like these kinds of books…” like I normally do because I think this one was so far out in left field only one or two will catch it. But I’m glad I read it and the more time that passes since I’ve read it, the more I seem to be able to appreciate it.
Yearbook Quote: “A paper is an object. An actual thing. It can’t be modified, overwritten, updated, refreshed, hacked or anything else. It is fragile, but it’s a snapshot of history that hasn’t been messed with. It’s one version of history we know happened.”
Superlatives – Most likely to make you question changing that past mistake
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