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.
Design – Natalie Sousa Rating – 5/5
I absolutely love everything about this cover. It’s so different from the usual dystopian / sci-fi covers and that’s definitely in a good way. The half of a girl’s face coming from the edge is livened up by the semi-transparent triangles over it. The little touches of other pictures are great too, especially the clearest one on the bottom right that balances out the attention-drawing eye at top left. The color scheme is the perfect mix of pastel and bold. The slightest variations in colors and placement of some of the triangles are so interesting. I also like the simple sans-serif font and how the words are placed on the cover. I just love the overall feel of this cover.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Ann Brashares’ 1st non-contemporary book, because I liked the Traveling Pants books but hated The Last Summer of You and Me. Regardless of how you may feel about any of those books, The Here and Now is a unique read. It’s a peculiar mix of sci-fi and a touch of dystopian with a murder mystery. I found it to be the ideal blend of high-stress situations and more low-key romance.
- twists – I was pleasantly surprised by the twists the plot took. A few I never saw coming. With other, I was certain I knew what was going to take place, yet the plot diverged from the path it had set up so clearly. A few times, I thought I had figured out what was going on with Prenna and her community. Despite my various theories, none were correct – which is something I adore in suspenseful books.
- concept – The sci-fi / dystopian concept of people from the future settling in the same area in the current day is fascinating. The near-cultish control their leaders are able to maintain through fear and twisted scientific facts is awful, but clever. The amount of thought that was put into the science behind everything in this book is clear. Because so many YA books operate in their own worlds, it’s great to read one taking place in the real world, yet through the eyes of someone who doesn’t quite belong there.
- action – The Here and Now is fast-paced and exciting. There isn’t much lull in the action and suspense. At times it seemed that the plot was going to slow down because Prenna was stuck, but she worked everything out quickly between her own smarts and Ethan’s assistance. The smallest things that seemed so innocent turned into clues or significant events.
- love? – The foundation of the love story in this book is shaky at best. Ethan first encounters Prenna when they’re 12 and she is disoriented and frightened. Years later, they are seated together in a high school class and he’s in love with her. I can understand why Prenna would connect with him – he gave her clothes…but she doesn’t remember that. Why is Ethan in love with her? She barely speaks to him for fear that she’ll reveal something personal. If she’s never talked to him about anything personal, then why is Ethan so crazy about Prenna? Just because she’s something strange that happened in his past? Once everything is revealed, Ethan begins to pressure Prenna for physical intimacy. He begs her for sexual contact, only to call her cruel when she refuses – jokingly, which is almost worse. I believe this exchange occurred on the date of their first kiss. They’re in a life or death situation, yet lover boy can’t keep it in his pants, despite a complete lack of evidence of a true emotional connection. The story is interesting enough without a love story. I believe it would have been better without it, as the dynamic between Ethan and Prenna grows stranger as the book progresses. Her partner in crime could have easily been merely a friend.
The strange thing is, I think I’m keeping all these secrets from him, but he seems to know more than I do. He’s full of certainty and I’m not sure of anything anymore. I can’t keep straight what is supposed to be true and what is true, they are diverging so quickly. – Loc. 1021
“Think about it,” I say. “A paper is an object. An actual thing. It can’t be modified, overwritten, updated, refreshed, hacked or anything else. It is fragile, but it’s a snapshot of history that hasn’t been messed with. It’s one version of history we know happened.” – Prenna Loc. 1388
Acquired: NetGalley (ebook)