Review: The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

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 received The Here and Now from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I’m just going to admit right upfront that I have a strange relationship with Ann Brashares’s books. I don’t really like them.

But I read them anyway.

I’ve read — and rated two stars — the entire Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. Two stars is about as low as I go for books that I finish. I liked the idea of the books, but I didn’t actually like any of the characters. 3 Willows was slightly better, attaining three star status. I don’t remember why. I don’t know why I keep reading the books of an author that I can’t grade any higher than three stars. Six books I’ve read!

Seven, now. Maybe The Here and Now should be my last attempt (although I am interested in My Name is Memory…). Maybe I should learn something from this experience.

My main issue is again with the characters. There wasn’t anything interesting about Prenna or Ethan, or the two of them together. There should have been, at least in Prenna’s case. After all, she was a time traveler! Surely that’s interesting, right? No, not really. She traveled back in time from 2098 to 2010 with a group of people that included her mother. (Her father was supposed to travel, too, but he backed out.) Their goal was to somehow change the future so that their world wouldn’t be destroyed, with people dying of dengue fever all over the place. Mind you, I didn’t see any evidence of any of these people actually doing anything to achieve that goal, at least not until Prenna took matters into her own hands. Thank God for Prenna. It’s up to a teenager to save the world yet again.

She also, allegedly had a high IQ, but she said and did a lot of dumb things. Like, she thought that her glasses were a monitoring device, so did she “lose” them or even hide them? No, she had to be told by a crazy old homeless guy to ditch the glasses before she did it.

I didn’t really see what Ethan saw in Prenna, or what she saw in him, for that matter. In fact, I didn’t believe that they saw anything romantic in each other at all. What a dreadfully boring couple they were. On the run, in the midst of all the danger and excitement, Prenna and Ethan sat around playing cards for hours. There were also some awkward attempts at intimacy that were awkward mostly because they just didn’t seem into it. It was like that’s what they thought they were supposed to be doing, so they did.

Things I liked: The Community learned how to behave and how to relate to 2010s people by watching TV; the idea of a group time traveling together, rather than just one person to save their world; the ending; Prenna talking about how we in 2014 or 2020, or even slightly farther into the future knew that we were destroying the world and didn’t do anything to stop it besides a little recycling to make us feel better (which is probably true).

On a shallow note, I really dislike the name Prenna. Brenna would have been a better name.

The Here and Now isn’t a bad book, but there’s nothing special or memorable about it to lift it to a higher level. In a few weeks, I won’t even remember what it was about.

2 1/2 stars



  1. I think I understand where you are coming from when it comes to carrying on with a series/ author, finishing them but not liking them. The same happens with me when it comes the the House of Night series by PC Cast. I like them and carry on but while I am reading them I can happily drop it and pick something else up.

    Also, nothing worse than characters that aren’t consistent. High IQ and dumb things. Not a fan! 🙂

    GReat review! 🙂 xx

    Alex @ The Shelf Diaries
    Alex 🙂 recently posted…Review: Kindred by Octavia E. ButlerMy Profile

  2. Sorry this one was disappointing. I got a laugh out of your comment about teenagers saving the world again- good thing they have their act together! 🙂 And group time traveling does seem to make more sense- I mean, why send just one person? Too bad it wasn’t better…
    Greg recently posted…Sunday Post #42/ It’s Monday. What Are You Reading?My Profile

  3. Sorry to hear this was a disappointment. I like your comment about teenagers saving the world- good thing they have their act together I guess! And I like the idea of group time travel- I mean, why send just one person? Too bad it didn’t come together better. The environmental element reminds me of a book I read a while back with a similar theme- I think it was Yesterday. Kinda the same thing- not a bad book, just didn’t really wow me. Anyway nice review!
    Greg recently posted…Sunday Post #42/ It’s Monday. What Are You Reading?My Profile


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