- Title: The Here and Now
- Author: Ann Brashares
- ISBN: 0385736800 (ISBN13: 9780385736800)
- Series: Stand Alone
- Published: April 8th 2014 by Delacorte Press
- Format: Hardcover, 288 pages
- Genre: YA/Sci-fi
- Source: Publisher
- Rating: C+
Though perhaps not as malevolent sounding as Schwarzenegger’s iconic line “I’ll be back” from this little known James Cameron film The Terminator, said ironically, because truly, has anyone not seen the 1984 cult classic or the any of the three soon to be four film sequels not to mention the television series with a second in pre-production?
While reading The Here and Now I was strongly reminded of Kyle Reese’s demand to Sarah Connor “come with me, if you want to live.” This badass yet strangely romantic movie contributed to my life long love of time travel story lines which in turn fuelled my insatiable appetite for science-fiction, specifically sci-fi/romance. Truly how could anyone raised on Doctor Who not love time travel stories? Throw in a reading or two of Daphne DuMaurier’s The House on the Strand, Connie Willis’ Doomsday Book and of course Outlander (but that is a story for another day) and my fate was sealed. Obviously, I was quite predisposed to like Ann Brashares YA The Here and Now.
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.
While Prenna did not travel back in time to fall in love, by Murphy’s Law that is precisely what she did. Note: Murphy’s law is an adage or epigram that is typically stated as: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. The Here and Now started off strongly with a captivating opening scene. Clearly, newly arrived from the future Prenna, naked and confused comes upon Ethan fishing alone on the riverbank, see the Terminator parallel anyone? Not quite as compelling as Arnold with all of his glorious muscles but considering I am not a teenage boy…
Being a gentleman Ethan gives her his sweatshirt and she disappears to be seen again until she turns up in his English class with no memory of their previous meeting. Not surprisingly Ethan has not forgotten and wonders why she doesn’t remember him but I guess it isn’t the type of thing one brings up in idle conversation. “Hey, did you write down the assignment? And by the way do you remember me? I was the guy who gave you the shirt off his back.” No? Guess not.
Unfortunately, that was about the extent of the intrigue for me, all the right things seemed to happen, the council elders begin to focus on Prenna, members of her tight knit community who act against established rules begin disappearing yet I found that the story was easy to put down and walk away from.
Both Prenna and Ethan were likeable characters and the plot in and of itself was interesting there just seemed to be some vital spark missing that made the reader care about the outcome of their plight. Ultimately I felt that The Here and Now was somewhat clinical in its approach despite the presence of all the required components to make a great story, the feeling or passion was missing, which was a disappointment. Despite this I will check out another compelling sounding work, My Name is Memory a previous work by Brashares before I make up my mind completely.
Ann Brashares is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series,3 Willows, The Last Summer (of You & Me), and My Name Is Memory. She lives in New York City with her husband and their four children.
Disclaimer: ARC was kindly provided by the publisher for an honest review.