Friday, May 29, 2015

Review: The Here and Now


The Here and NowAuthor: Ann Brashares
Series: Standalone
Released: January 1st 2015
Publisher: Hodder Children's
Length: 303 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository

Thrilling, exhilarating, haunting and heartbreaking, The Here and Now is a twenty-first-century take of an impossible romance. 
There are rules.
Never reveal where you’re from.Never be intimate with anyone outside the community.And never interfere with history. 
Seventeen-year-old Prenna James emigrated to New York when she was twelve. But 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. Prenna does as she's told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth and take the lives of her younger brothers. But everything changes when she falls for Ethan. 
She might be able to save the world ... if she lets go of the one thing she's found to hold on to. 

Having read several negative reviews back when The Here and Now was first released, I nevertheless decided to give it a fair chance hoping I would feel differently, as I sometimes do. The opening part seemed very promising, which allowed me to think my stubbornness would be rewarded, but it quickly became clear that my opinion would align with those of several trusted friends. The Here and Now is not a bad book as such, but I found it lacking in characterization, scientific background and sometimes, unfortunately, even common sense.


My main problem with Brashares’ novel is that it completely neglects any scientific theories involving time travel. It addresses possible consequences superficially, choosing not to base them on one of many existing scientific debates. This lack of research, especially when there’s so much material to draw from, is truly the only thing I can’t overlook or forget.

Prenna starts out as an excellent character. She lives in a community of time travelers from the future under very strict rules. Her world was ruined by the plague and while those that traveled seem to be immune, they can nevertheless be extremely dangerous for the so called time natives. Unlike her peers, Prenna is no stranger to critical thinking and she’s ready to defy her elders when their many rules make little sense. Although I liked her at the start, I soon noticed that Prenna was a pretty generic character, with nothing that would make her stand out and be remembered. She was rebellious, but not convincingly so, and it didn’t take long for her to lose my affection.

After four years of living by the rules, Prenna breaks them because of a boy. Ethan was present when she first arrived to her new life, but she doesn’t actually remember him. Still, there’s an undeniable closeness and a strong friendship that develops despite all the lies. Despite genuinely liking him, I was a bit perplexed by Ethan’s character because he seemed to transform into anything the story (or Prenna) required. He had access to tiny tracker devices, he understood very advanced physics, was able to run away with Prenna and rescue her from a well-guarded facility. His many talents were so unlikely that they constantly challenged my suspension of disbelief.

The upside of this book is that it’s fairly short and very easy to read. Even though it’s severely flawed, it’s pretty entertaining while you’re actually reading it. The story may not be able to withstand close scrutiny, but parts of it are enjoyable nevertheless.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations,monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


15 comments:

  1. Frankly, I've had my fair share of time travel books. Enough to realize it really isn't something I'm into. Good on you for giving this one the benefit of the doubt amidst your trusted friends' popular dislike for it.

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  2. I remember reading this when it first came out and feeling the same way. That ending, especially was horrible if I remember right.
    Either way, like Joy said, I'm glad you did try this though because you just never know. ;)
    Happy Friday!

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  3. I remember reading this one but I had some problems too, I don't know the rating I did, but even if the idea was good I know that something was missing. Sorry it was a bit like that for you too.

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  4. So..maybe not this book either for me :/

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  5. Oh that is such a shame that you didn't enjoy this book. I think I was of the very few that actually did enjoy it. Whilst I can certainly see the flaws you say, I think I sort of overlooked them if I'm at honest at the time of reading. Great honest review! :)

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  6. I remember reading this and though it was overall enjoyable,I do remember how the end felt open and unfinished. I'm so glad you gave it a try though, because as the others mentioned - you never know!
    Have a lovely weekend, Maja :)

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  7. I'm sorry this was an unbelievable read for you, Maja. I totally understand the disappoint. Time travel books are hard for me to grasp so I never picked this one up, but I'm glad I didn't.
    Great review, Maja!

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  8. I was so excited when I first saw this one last year, but then I got declined and was happy once I started reading the dismal reviews. You have cemented in firmly, I won't be reading this. I need the details in my reads and this sounds flimsy and unimpressive. So sad.

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  9. I liked Prenna as well but the time travel was a bit iffy

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  10. Mah, I'll skip the upside along with the book ;) Lack of research in unforgivable. Also, incomprehensible too - I mean, it's such a fun process! Who would want to skip it? As always, delicious review :) Have an amazing weekend, Maja <3

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  11. Hm... I was also hoping this one wouldn't bother me as much as some. If you look at any time travel book you will always find scientific flaws but usually you can overlook them. Too bad it wasn't easy to overlook. *sigh* Characterization would help, but if it is lacking in that as well, I know this book isn't for me. Brilly review!

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  12. Urgh, my comment got eaten.

    I hate it when authors don't do their research, especially when it comes to scientific matters! This sounds like a rather frustrating read. That said, the author's Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants was my FAVE series as a teen, but Ann Brashares other novels don't seem to have reached the same level of success.

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  13. That was pretty much how I felt about the book. I was disappointed as it did start off promisingly but it went downhill quickly. I don't understand why authors fail to do research for their books. I've had several like that recently.

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  14. Well, I guess we can't win them all. Too bad this one didn't turn out to be a gem.

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  15. I agree 100% with you! I didn't highly dislike the book but I wasn't really into it... Prenna managed to annoy me so much, dammit!

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