One of my favourite series of all time is Ann Brashares' The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. Because of that, I've read her other novels. And I keep reading them even though I haven't loved them. I was pre-approved for the newly released The Here and Now on NetGalley so I thought I'd give her another shot. While I didn't love this new novel, I didn't outright dislike it either.
Here's the 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.
I don't really read sci-fi and The Here and Now sort of felt sci-fi-ish to me. That might be my biggest issue with it. And since it's pretty personal issue (obviously others like sci-fi), I encourage you to look past it...but I'm still going to talk about it! When I read non-contemporary novels, I tend to go more for fantasy novels...magic, dragons, wizards, you know. Time travel is a sci-fi concept I can get behind, though. In a way, this book was actually kind of a mix of contemporary and dystopian. Prenna came from the future and her world was all but destroyed by an awful pandemic. Instead of fighting her way through that barren world, she, and many others who also escaped, went back in time for a do-over, of sorts. It was interesting to read about what the world was like in the future (they came from 2080something or 2090something, I can't remember) and how they were trying to fix things. Trying to connect the dots and figure out how to save the world was stressful, in a good way.
To generalize, it wouldn't be YA without a love story. I have to say that I liked Ethan more than Prenna. Not really sure why. Maybe because he was more relateable...I can't imagine losing almost my entire family, going back in time, and then being constantly monitored. I did like that Prenna was rebelling as that showed that she had a spark in her. Part of that rebellion included spending a lot of time with Ethan, which was a problem as she is forbidden from being emotionally or physically intimate with anyone from the present day. Bummer! I liked that Ethan automatically accepted Prenna once he learned all the details of her past (his future..weird). Even though they're trying to save the world, they're still teenagers and it was kind of fun to read as they figured out their feelings for each other.
Random note: I actually really like this cover. It's different than the YA covers we've been seeing and I think it really conveys the feel of the story. Plus the colours are pretty. :)
I have to say that I went into reading The Here and Now with low expectations, since I hadn't seen very many good ratings or reviews. Like I said, I didn't love Ann Brashares' latest novel but I didn't dislike it. This was one of those hard reviews to write because I was so middle of the road with my feelings. I think if you find the synopsis interesting then you might enjoy the book. In the meantime, I'm going to keep hoping for another Brashares book that blows my socks off like the Sisterhood!
*An eARC of this novel was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*