Friday, May 2, 2014

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Release Date: April 8, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Prenna spent the past five years trying to navigate the world of an American teenager after immigrating to the US at age twelve. She carried the burden of growing up as well as the burdens of her community - the rules, the obligations and the secrets. It wasn't just that Prenna was new to the US. She was new to her place in time.

Having come from a plague-ravaged future, she did her best to keep within the rules. Until she met Ethan, a time native with his own secrets. Prenna began to question everything she thought she knew and soon a new, heavier burden was given to her. She must stop her future from happening at all costs. Can she do what was asked of her? Will she ever understand where all the puzzle pieces fit?

Browsing through the offerings at NetGalley, the premise of this book caught my eye. The fact it was was both a time-traveling story and a YA book intrigued me. Stories about time travelers often fall victim to the "either like them or hate them" category. Because not everyone shares the exact outlooks, beliefs, etc., some readers find it hard to suspend enough belief in order to simply enjoy the story. Add the YA elements to that, and it may not go over well at all.
However, I think this story was able to pull off many of the elements that were attempted. While some of the information from Prenna's future seem far-fetched, I can see how the people within the story got to that point and how gradual that slippery slope led them there. It was hard to relate to Prenna in the beginning, but I feel that went along with the rigid rules under which her community lived in order to keep them and time natives safe. I'll admit that I had a couple of head-scratching moments when a few characters went completely against what I knew of them at the time. Some were later explained, while others were simply weren't.

The pace of the story did start out slow as the groundwork was laid. Once the basics were covered, the book gathered speed. In fact, it nearly reached a frantic pace as the emotional and mental health of a few characters neared their breaking points. The resolution was somewhat expected but written in such a way that the reader can see the hope in the characters. The fact that there are things left unexplained and a few doors still open lead me to believe there may be another visit with Prenna and friends.

Overall, it was a good book and I think it will work well within the YA genre. The Romeo/Juliet element as well the setting in modern times will help young readers to connect with it on many levels. Though there aren't many technical discussions about the time travel, the ones that appear aren't watered down completely. I felt the explanations were easy for the common person and yet not too easy. This actually made me want to keep turning the pages. If you're looking for a thrill ride into the future (and the past) and a bit of romance, pick up this book!

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares is currently available for purchase at many retailers in hardcover, Kindle or Audio CD. A link to the book's Amazon page is provided below.
The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

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