Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Book Review: The Here and Now, by Ann Brashares

The Here and Now is time travel done well, We don't get much of the "how" of the time travel, but that's OK. It's the "why" that is important.

Prenna and a group of people have come from the future, back to our present day, presumably to fix the problems that have led to horrible blood plagues in the future that have devastated the population.

They have strict rules of "non-interference" of course, but some of the other rules are stifling. They are not allowed to talk about where they came from or anything about their past -- even to each other. They have "counselors" to make sure they follow the rules. And, it seems that those who violate the rules end up either disappearing or dead.

Ethan is attracted to Prenna. She does her best to stay away from him, but he's so nice it's impossible. What Prenna doesn't remember is that Ethan was there four years ago when Prenna first appeared in this time.

Prenna begins to suspect that the leaders of her group from the past aren't really doing much about changing what's happening. "Some events occur" (no spoilers) and Prenna and Ethan end up running away, trying change the present to save Prenna's people in the future. It was exciting the way it all played out, and the pacing really moved.

The characters were likable, and the romance was well-played. I didn't really feel desperation for them, but I was definitely interested in the outcome. The ending was pretty sad in some ways, but realistic.

I'm not a big "quote-er," but I thought this was an interesting message for us readers:

"For now people are thrilled about everything digital, endless data farms, your own piece of the cloud and all that. Nobody has much respect for paper at the moment, but I think the excitement kind of dies down after a while," I tell him. "As time goes on I think people, definitely my father, come back around to respect the power of actual things you can actually touch." (note: this is from the ARC and may change in the final copy.)

There are other subtle messages in The Here and Now, such as the impact of climate change and the dangers of ignoring the problem. But Brashares doesn't hit you over the head with it.

While The Here and Now didn't blow me away like The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants did (nothing could), I really enjoyed my time reading it and I'll recommend it to my teens who like a time travel/forbidden romance story.

AND: Just a bit of "personal trivia." The Here and Now is the 200th book I've read on my Kindle. I always put books in a folder called "read" after I'm finished, and I've reached 200!!

Published by Delacorte Press, April 8. 2014
eARC obtained from NetGalley
256 pages

Rating: 3.5/5

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  1. Way to go with the 200! I've really only started using my Kindle app in the last six months maybe so I am no where near that many!
    I'm intrigued about this book because I have only read her Sisterhood books and I would be interested to read something that is so different from her. Please don't hate me though, because I really didn't enjoy the second Sisterhood book and my review which will be up in May is not too favorable. I am looking forward to the third one though, I haven't given up on the series yet!
    And in my own personal bit of news, I wanted to let you know that I took a job at my local library as a circulation clerk! I don't know if you will remember or not but I was the one who emailed you for advice about a year and a half ago when I decided I wanted to become a librarian. All this time later and I can tell you I am back in school working towards an education degree one semester at a time. And I'll be getting my masters in Library Science some where down the road. But for now I feel like taking the circulation job will help give me behind the scenes knowledge, along with giving me a chance to meet the people who run our local library system, that covers three counties. Plus, working in the library so close to the job I ultimately want to do will do nothing but help keep me motivated and focused on my big picture goal.
    Anyway, I really appreciated your advice before and so I wanted to give you the update!

    1. So happy to hear about the new job, and that you're pursuing your dream! Sometimes I'd like to be a circulation clerk -- I like interacting with people (students, in my case) and talking about books. Have fun. I hope all goes well. Please, keep me posted!


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