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Book Review: The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

*Gasp* another week of more than one book review?

What am I getting myself into?!

The thing is, I really feel that once I finish reading an ARC, I need to get the review done and back to the publisher in a reasonable time frame.  If you are a fellow book blogger and receive ARCs, do you feel like that?  How do you handle it within your usual blogging routine?  I know most people post more than one review a week, but I don’t want to start stressing myself out by demanding that of myself, at least not yet.  Can I get some feedback on the subject?

From NetGalley:

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.

Disclaimer:  I was given an electronic ARC of this book via NetGalley to review before it’s release.  As always, all opinions are mine and mine alone.

Initially, I liked this book, particularly the way it was written.  Brashares does a great job giving you the puzzle pieces to describe what the future world Prenna came from is like – not all at once, but bit by bit as the story unfolds.  She also includes letters Prenna wrote when she first arrived in the “past,” showcasing how they had to adapt to their new surroundings and how different the two time periods were.  At first, these letters seem jarring and unneeded, but by the end I could at least see what Brashares was trying to do with them.

I actually enjoyed the underlying romantic tension between Prenna and Ethan.  It felt a little forced at times, probably because of Prenna’s awkwardness, but it didn’t take away from the points that Brashares is trying to make about what the future could hold if we aren’t careful.  You don’t get much backstory into their friendship before they start admitting their feelings to each other, but you do get the sense that there is a backstory.  However, while I enjoyed most of the tension between them, there were several times when she kept telling him “No” and “It isn’t safe” that made me feel like I was reading Twilight.

And then there’s the fact that the plot kept reminding me of I Am Number Four.  The secret identity, the kidnapping, the moving from place to place with a specific “save the day” goal in mind, the male/female tension, etc etc.

(It’s never good when a book keeps reminding you of other books.)

Unfortunately, I think I Am Number Four was written better .  Like I said, I initially really liked The Here and Now, but the more I thought about it afterwards, the more I realized there were a lot of loopholes in the whole time traveling/apocalyptic future story. **SPOILER ALERT** For example, how could Baltos have been Traveler One if his world was completely different than hers? AND, how could the rules have come from him if it’s not possible to travel back?  It also seemed odd that they would take their good ole time driving down to New Jersey to “save the world”, including a stop at the beach and an awkward hotel bed scene.  I get that they had to wait several days before THE day arrived, but I felt like they would have been doing more than just biding their time.  **END SPOILERS**

I both liked and hated the ending.  It wrapped things up, and I liked how it all worked out.  But the unfinished business between Prenna and Ethan makes you think a sequel could be in the works – except that I have no idea how it would even be possible to continue the storyline based on the ending.


I liked this one while reading, but upon further thought, there really were a lot of issues with it. I give The Here And Now 3 out of 5 stars, mainly because of the story loopholes and the fact that the beach trip seemed so unnecessary except to build on the romantic tension.  I’d probably only suggest this book to someone who wouldn’t look too closely at the plot inconsistencies.

One extra note: the book cover was originally appealing to me because I’m naturally drawn to blue and green color shades, but it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the story, which makes it jarring.


6 responses to “Book Review: The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

  1. Pingback: March Book Round-up | Books Are My Thing

  2. Pingback: The Here and Now by Ann Brashares | booking rehab

  3. Michelle @ In Libris Veritas March 18, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    I’ve had a few books recently that after a bit of thought seemed to fall short of what I originally expected. I haven’t read I Am Number Four, so I’m hoping that brings this one up some for me.

    As for review copies I do feel that pressure, which is partly my own doing because I request about 3 for each month and that doesn’t include the packages another publisher sends to me at random. I try my hardest to get reviews for those that I actively request back to the publisher within a month of receiving it, but my blog reviews always go live within a week of the release date. As for the unsolicited books I get I try to get to those when I have a bit of time between netgally/edelweiss books. Publishers understand that you can’t read all of the books they send you unsolicited so as long as you attempt to get a decent amount of reviews back to them they’ll continue to provide the review books.


  4. Emily @ Oh Magic Hour March 13, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    I was interested in this book but have heard enough mixed reviews that I don’t think I’ll prioritize it right this minute. I think I would like to check out some of this author’s other works though – I still haven’t read Traveling Pants!

    As for ARCs, I try to read/review within 30 days of publication, no matter when I receive the book.


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