The Here and Nowby Ann Brashares
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now is an epic star-crossed romance about a girl who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.
Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now is an epic star-crossed romance about a girl who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.
Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.
The world Prenna James comes from is in ruins. She and the others who escaped are here to prevent humanity’s destruction. But if they don’t follow The Rules, everything that matters will be gone: Friends. Families. Dreams. Love.
Ethan Jarves can never know Prenna’s secret. That she’s not from another place.
She’s from another time.
"This gripping story is set in a world unlike any other and inhabited by beautifully imagined characters that stay with you long after the last page.” – Sara Shepard, bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars
“Fast-paced, gripping, and romantic.”—Publishers Weekly
“Lightning-paced . . . like a cinematic blockbuster.”—Kirkus Reviews
“An exciting time-travel adventure complete with murderers to thwart and mysteries to solve.”—Booklist
“Compelling.”—School Library Journal
“An appealing romantic thriller, The Here and Now also serves as a potent reminder that we inherit the future we buy with our actions today.”—Cassandra Clare for the New York Times Book Review
“The Here and Now could just as easily sit among the time-travel sci-fi, coming-of-age, or romantic thrillers of YA. Honestly, even though I really don't know how to categorize it, I loved it — and the ending made me hope (really, really hope!) for a sequel.”—Happily Ever After/USA Today
Best known for her Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books, Brashares forays into science fiction in this fast-paced, gripping, and romantic novel about a girl from a future that seems eerily possible. Seventeen-year-old Prenna James is from the year 2098, but she, her mother, and nearly 1000 other Travelers have fled an Earth devastated by climate change and plague, and are now living in 2014. The Travelers are a tight-knit and secretive community, and their 12 cardinal rules forbid everything from seeking outside medical care to interfering in the “natural sequence” of time or engaging in “intimate” relationships with outsiders. Prenna has long had a crush on her classmate Ethan, but she has always followed the rules until a mysterious homeless man upends Prenna and Ethan’s lives, and she begins to question her community’s dictates and intentions. Brashares focuses on Prenna and Ethan’s burgeoning romance, rather than the nitty-gritty details of her time-travel premise, and her fans will be happy to find that her prose is as resonant and realistic as ever. An Alloy Entertainment property. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, William Morris Endeavor. (Apr.)
In a stark departure, Brashares, of Traveling Pants fame, returns with a lightning-paced sci-fi time-travel romp that, much like a cinematic blockbuster, offers intrigue, romance and a healthy dose of implausibility. After blood plague ravages her world, Prenna James emigrates with a group of refugees, known as travelers. However, it's not where she ends up, it's when. Her community tries to assimilate into a society decades in the past, with stringent rules about how they must conduct themselves in the time natives' society. Predictably, Prenna falls in love with Ethan, a handsome time native—one of the gravest offenses a traveler might commit—and quickly learns that her tightly knit authoritarian community may indeed be harboring secrets. Brashares' worldbuilding is solid, and she handles the time-travel elements with a fluid, cinematic ease. Unfortunately, she relies too much on dei ex machina to propel Ethan and Prenna forward. Cars, money and opportunity pop up with uncannily good timing and convenience, helping the time-crossed lovers right the wrongs of the past. Those willing to overlook such shortcuts will surely be swept into the whirlwind romance and breathlessly turn pages to discover if there truly is a possibility for a better future. This quirky tale of love and time travel demands that readers totally suspend disbelief to enjoy some of the more contrived plot elements. (Science fiction. 13-16)
- Cassandra Clare for The New York Times Book Review
“From the author who brought us The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants come the gripping page-turner about a girl who’s willing to risk it all for love and the fate of the world.”
- Teen Vogue
“Best known for her Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books, Brashares forays into science fiction in this fast-paced, gripping, and romantic novel about a girl from a future that seems eerily possible. . . her fans will be happy to find that her prose is as resonant and realistic as ever.”
- Publishers Weekly
“Brashares . . . builds on her adroit adolescent characterization and ear for teen dialogue and transports them into an exciting time-travel adventure complete with murderers to thwart and mysteries to solve.”
"Skillfully weaving together time travel, planetary devastation, climate change, plague and young love, the author creates an engaging, adventurous tale."
"Brashares' era-hopping race against time is fast paced and heady...perfect for fans of Brasahres' earlier work, as well as Veronica Roth's Divergent."
- RT Book Reviews
"Fantasy and science fiction fans will enjoy the intricate cause-and-effect Brashares defines in her story. Filled with suspense and spiced with romance, the story will satisfy any reader who appreciates a well told story. [Brashares] is at the top of her game."
From the Hardcover edition.
Prenna James has traveled to the present from a future plague-riddled Earth on the verge of collapse. She and her community have made the trip ostensibly to prevent this catastrophe, although their rigid rules restricting altering the present and oppressive leadership make that nearly impossible. When Prenna gets close to "time native" Ethan Jarves, their relationship both threatens the community and generates the only hope for Earth's survival. Like the girls in Brashares's "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" series, Prenna is smart, self-deprecating, and believably mesmerized by a first love characterized by mutual respect and intimacy. The less detailed female friendship subplot, though, is all the more disappointing in light of the author's gifts in capturing young women's emotional lives. In terms of sf, Brashares crafts a plausible future and satisfyingly metes out time-travel plotting. Much of the science is foggy, though, and the exposition-heavy denouement feels rushed. VERDICT The author's younger fans will enjoy the relationship between Prenna and Ethan, and adult fans will appreciate the moral gray areas complicating their lives. It would be a solid introduction to sf for YA and adult readers curious about the genre. For a more sophisticated look at postapocalyptic fiction, readers should turn to Peter Heller's The Dog Stars or Brian K. Vaughan's Y: The Last Man.—Nicole R. Steeves, Chicago P.L.
Gr 9 Up—Prenna's life is shrouded in secrecy and intimidation. She's part of a select group of people who not only survived the Blood Plagues but also immigrated to present-day New York from more than 80 years in the future. Bound by rules that force her to sacrifice her personal freedoms and isolate herself from the local community, also known as Time Natives, Prenna can't help developing a close, yet guarded friendship with a classmate, Ethan Jarves. Both high schoolers are gifted science students who have more than a friendly, academic attraction, but physical contact with Ethan could endanger him as well as Prenna and the other Travelers. When a local indigent man, who mysteriously knows about the Travelers' origins, prophesizes a time fork on May 17, Ethan and Prenna are launched into a plan to stop a murder that could save the future of mankind. The story moves along at a compelling pace with enough foreshadowing and plot twists to keep the pages turning. The sense of adventure as the teens escape Prenna's corrupt leaders and fight off a murderer is stronger than the romance between the two. Older teens may enjoy the more palpable romance in Brashares's book for adults, My Name Is Memory (Riverhead, 2010), in which a love story transcends time. The Here and Now has a satisfying ending that only slightly hints at what would be a welcome sequel.—Lynn Rashid, Marriotts Ridge High School, Marriottsville, MD
Read an Excerpt
April 23, 2014
We all know the rules. We think about them every day. How could we not know them? We learned them by heart before we came here, and they’ve been drilled into our heads by constant use ever since.
But still we sit, nearly a thousand of us, on plastic benches in a former Pentecostal church (desanctified in the 1990s, I don’t know why) listening to our twelve inviolate rules recited over a crackling PA system by nervous community members in their best clothes.
Because it’s what we do. We do it every year to commemorate the extraordinary trip we all took together four years ago: our escape from fear and sickness and hunger, our miraculous arrival in this land of milk and honey. It’s a trip that almost certainly had never happened before and, based on the state of the world when we left it, will never happen again. So April 23 is kind of like our Thanksgiving, but without the turkey and pumpkin pie. It is also, coincidentally, the day Shakespeare was born. And died.
We do it because it’s easy to forget amid all the sweetness and fatness of this place that we don’t belong here, that we pose a danger to it. That’s why the rules are critical and the consequences of forgetting them are grave. It’s like any strict religious or political system. When your practices are hard to follow, you’d better keep reminding your flock of them.
I put my feet flat on the floor as the projector hums to action at the back of the hall, cutting a beam through the dark air and slowly illuminating the first face on the wide screen that hangs behind the old altar. It takes a moment for the shadows and shapes to become a person, to become someone I know or don’t know. It’s hard to watch this, but they always do it: as we recite the rules they show the faces of the people we lost since the last time we met here. It’s like the “in memoriam” tribute you see on the Academy Awards or the Grammys, but also . . . it’s not. This year there are seven of them. There’s no explanation or commentary. They just scroll through these faces again and again. But most of us have a sense of the story behind each face. We understand, without saying so, the overrepresentation of the fragile, the wayward and the incompliant members of our community up there on that screen.
My mother glances at me as Dr. Strauss stands up from the dais at the front to recite the first rule, the one about allegiance.
The rules are never displayed, never even written down on a piece of paper. That’s not how we do things. We’ve gone back to an oral tradition.
I try to listen. I always do, but the words have been stirred around so many times they’ve lost their particular order and shape in my ears. They’ve melted and dissolved into a chaotic mix of impressions and anxieties.
Dr. Strauss is one of the leaders. There are nine of them and twelve counselors. The leaders make the policy and the counselors hand it down to us and translate it into our daily lives. We are each assigned to a counselor. Mine is Mr. Robert. He’s sitting up there too.
A girl near the back in a green dress stands to recite the second rule, about the sequence of time. Heads politely turn.
It’s an honor to get to recite one. Like landing a part in the Christmas pageant. I was chosen once, three years ago. My mom dressed me in her gold ballet flats and her most expensive silk scarf. She mashed rouge into my cheeks. I got to read the sixth one, about never submitting to medical attention outside the community.
After the girl speaks, we all turn back to the front, obediently awaiting rule number three.
The black-and-white face of Mrs. Branch now takes its turn up on the screen. She was an acquaintance of my mother’s, and I know she died of breast cancer that barely got treated. The photo doesn’t exactly hark back to happier times. It looks like it was taken on the day she got her diagnosis. I look away. Briefly I catch the eyes of my friend Katherine a few rows behind.
I find it’s hard to figure out from watching the leaders fanned out on the dais which one of them is really in charge. No one will tell you, but I think I know. I think this because of something that happened to me when I was thirteen, not long before my turn at reciting the sixth rule.
It was around nine months after we’d gotten here. I was still disoriented, still way too skinny, still watching TV to learn how to talk and act. I hadn’t started going to school yet. I was having chronic breathing problems. My mom said it was really incredibly fortunate that somebody with asthma got to make the trip at all. She said something about my “enhanced IQ” making up for it, but barely. We tried to pretend it wasn’t as bad as it was.
And then in February I caught a bad cold and it turned into pneumonia. My mother knew this almost certainly because she is an MD and keeps a stethoscope in her bathroom drawer. A couple of other members of our community’s medical team came over. I was pretty whacked by that point. I was using an inhaler and they were pumping me full of antibiotics and steroids and God knows what else. There was an oxygen monitor clipped to my finger, and I know it was dipping too low. I struggled. My lungs couldn’t take in enough air. It’s a horrible feeling, in case you’ve never had it.
By the second night it had gotten dire. I was completely out for some stretches, but I saw the look on my mother’s face. She was shouting. She wanted to take me to a hospital. She said a simple ventilator for one night was all it would take to save my life. I guess we didn’t have one in our community clinic then; we were still pretty new here. But putting me in a regular hospital wasn’t something any of them would even consider because of the danger we pose to them, to regular people who were born here, who have different immunities than we do. And because what if, in taking my medical history or getting too close a look at my blood under a microscope, a doctor or a nurse started asking questions?
“There’s no need for her to die!” I heard my mother crying from the next room. She was begging them, promising she would watch over everything, she wouldn’t let anyone else care for me. No blood tests, no diagnostics. She would figure out a way to do it, to keep everything secret and safe.
Sometime later Mrs. Crew arrived. I could feel the mood shift in the house, even deep in my oxygen-poor brain. The screaming and cajoling stopped and there was just this lulling voice from the next room. For a few moments I was strangely alert, strangely cogent, listening as she calmly talked my mother down. “After all we have sacrificed, Molly. After all we have been through . . .” My mother left the room and I heard my counselor, Mr. Robert, talking to Mrs. Crew instead. I felt like I was listening to them from a perch on the ceiling, like I was already dead, as she coolly explained to him the procedure for dealing with my body, the issuance of a death certificate and the proper strategy for handling what remained of my identity in the state and federal databases. They had created our identities here; they could take them away. Finally she offered him some injection or pill or something like that. “The angel of death,” she called it in a low voice, to make my passing more comfortable. She assured him she would stay until it was over.
But it wasn’t over. Sometime in the early morning my lungs started to open up a little. And by the end of the day a little more. And six weeks after that I was reciting the sixth rule in this very hall.
Mr. Botts, two rows behind me, stands up to recite the third rule, about not using our knowledge to change anything. I remember him from our early tutoring sessions. Mrs. Connor, with the thinning hair and in a weird orange tunic, takes up the fourth, which is kind of an extension of the third. I forget how I know her.
A guy named Mitch, who’s a star because he goes to Yale, recites the fifth one, the secrecy rule. That may be the rule we think of most often. The leaders are obsessed with the minutiae of it, with us fitting in and never letting anything slip that might give us away. But at times I seriously wonder, if one of us did let something slip, could anybody ever guess where we are from? And if they did, could they possibly believe it?
The sixth and seventh rules, the ones about medical stuff, are recited by two people I don’t really know and who, like me, probably just barely survived those rules.
I zone out on rules eight through eleven because a purple bead pops off my shoe and I scan the floor for it without appearing to. I’d frankly rather look anywhere than at the big screen up front, because for the finale they’ve left up the photo of Aaron Green, and I suspect that’s no coincidence. It’s a heartbreaking picture of a confused and well-meaning fourteen-year-old who tripped over his lies so clumsily they stopped him from going to school in the middle of last year. His teacher went to his house to check on him, and two days later he drowned in the Housatonic River on a rafting trip with his dad and his uncle. There was no ambulance, no emergency room. Mr. Green quietly followed the protocol; he called the special number he was supposed to call.
I snap to attention for the twelfth rule. It is Mrs. Crew, the angel of death herself, who stands up to deliver it. She is about five feet tall and her hair looks like a cremini mushroom, but she still scares me. I swear she recites that rule staring directly at me.
1. WE MUST UPHOLD ABSOLUTE ALLEGIANCE TO THE COMMUNITY, TO ITS SURVIVAL AND ITS SAFETY, AND ACCEPT THE GUIDANCE OF OUR LEADERS AND COUNSELORS WITHOUT QUESTION OR DISCUSSION.
2. WE MUST RESPECT TIME’S INTEGRITY AND HER NATURAL SEQUENCE.
3. WE MUST NEVER EMPLOY THE EXPERIENCE GAINED IN POSTREMO TO KNOWINGLY INTERVENE IN THAT NATURAL SEQUENCE.
4. WE MUST NEVER CHALLENGE THAT SEQUENCE TO AVOID MISFORTUNE OR DEATH.
5. WE MUST UPHOLD ABSOLUTE DISCRETION ABOUT POSTREMO, THE IMMIGRATION, AND THE COMMUNITY AT ALL TIMES AND IN ALL PLACES.
6. WE ARE FORBIDDEN TO SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION OR SUBMIT TO MEDICAL CARE OF ANY KIND OUTSIDE THE COMMUNITY.
7. WE MUST USE ONLY THE SERVICES PROVIDED BY OUR MEDICAL TEAM IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES AND EMPLOY THE EMERGENCY PROTOCOL IF REQUIRED.
8. WE MUST AVOID INCLUSION IN THE HISTORICAL ARCHIVAL RECORD, WHETHER IN PRINT, PHOTOGRAPHY, OR VIDEO.
9. WE MUST AVOID PLACES OF WORSHIP.
10. WE MUST MAKE STRENUOUS EFFORT TO FIT INTO SOCIETY AND NOT BRING ATTENTION TO OURSELVES OR OUR COMMUNITY IN ANY MANNER.
11. WE MUST AVOID CONTACT WITH ANY INDIVIDUAL KNOWN TO US FROM POSTREMO WHO DID NOT TAKE PART IN THE IMMIGRATION.
12. WE MUST NEVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, DEVELOP A PHYSICALLY OR EMOTIONALLY INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH ANY PERSON OUTSIDE THE COMMUNITY.
A bunch of us get takeout from a Chipotle around the corner from the former Pentecostal church and walk with it to Central Park. The ceremony has fallen on a Wednesday this year, so we’ve taken a vacation day. We eat it on the Great Lawn and kill a couple of hours between the end of the ceremony and the beginning of the semiannual “teen social.” Because our spirits are so light after the Rules Ceremony, why not have a party?
It seems crazy, but that’s what we do. The night of the ceremony everybody in our community between the ages of fifteen and eighteen gets together and tries to fall in love with each other over dumb music and soggy chicken fingers. Good luck with that.
Because if we’re going to love at all, or even like or lust, we have to do it with each other. See rule twelve. And it’s not just for our own safety, as the counselors are quick to point out. It’s for the health and safety of the people outside our community too. It’s not something you can even joke about. Not that we joke about so many things.
At the park it’s me, Katherine, Jeffrey Boland, Juliet Kerr, Dexter Harvey and a few others who go to school in Rockland County. Jeffrey falls asleep in the sunshine, Dexter puts on his headphones, and Katherine and I go for a walk around the reservoir.
“So hard to see Aaron’s face up there on the screen,” I say slowly, glancing at the side of Katherine’s face as we walk. I see the color blooming in her nearly transparent skin.
Aaron lived around the corner from her. He had a little dog, a pug mix or something, named Paradox, that used to run to Katherine’s house every chance it got. Katherine worried about Aaron. It was harder for him than for most of the rest of us. Maybe I worried too. Katherine gave Aaron her old Mongoose BMX bike, and you always saw him riding around on it.
I know how sensitive Katherine is, and I know she’ll hide everything she can, but I want to say something. I want to say at least one true thing.
“He wasn’t much of a swimmer. He never was,” I add. It’s a morbid point for me to make. I realize that, but Katherine looks relieved because it’s my way of telling her that I’m not trying to be too honest here. I’m not trying to challenge anybody. I’m accepting the story of Aaron’s demise, as we all must, even though we know it is total bullshit.
She smiles a tiny bit. I can see the tears welling in her eyes. I see her look up at the cherry blossoms spread like an awning over the bridle path. I can see how much she doesn’t want to cry.
I reach for her hand. I hold it for a moment and let it go. She is the only person I can do that with.
“They renamed his dog,” she says, so faintly I can barely hear her.
“Aaron’s dad renamed his dog Abe. He doesn’t come to it.”
Meet the Author
Ann Brashares is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, 3 Willows, The Last Summer (of You & Me), and My Name Is Memory. She lives in New York City with her husband and their four children.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I want to thank Delacorte Press and Net Galley for providing me with an early copy of this book to read and review. I loved Brashares Traveling Pants books so I thought I would give this a try. And it's a bit of a sci-fi read, which I totally love, so I was happy to jump right in. Receiving this book for free has in no way influenced my opinion or review. Blurb from Goodreads: An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to. 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. From Ann Brashares, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now is thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking—and a must-read novel of the year. I love this cover. It's just so pretty. The colors are completely eye catching. I love the effect of the triangles on the cover, as well. Even without reading the blurb I would pick this up just on the shear look of it alone! Prenna, I really liked her character. She is relatable as a teen girl. Given her strange circumstances, I think she fits in rather well. She very free spirited and wants to experience the world, despite the rules that have been set out for her. She is not above breaking those rules to try and see what's out there. But breaking those rules can cause all kinds of problems she does not even understand. She has a certain vulnerability to her that makes her charming and her determination to figure things out is endearing. Ethan is the perfect companion for Prenna. He's a friend for sure, has been for a long time. Someone she can trust and hold on to. But then he is so much more. He cares about her and wants to protect her. And he knows that she is different, that she is not who she says she is. He is certainly loyal and he wants nothing more than to be with Prenna. I love that he's sexy, in a bit of a nerdy kind of way. It's his smarts that really win me over! There is certainly some swoony romance in this story, which makes me like it all the more. I enjoyed watching the relationship grow between the two characters. But it's not too much. And you know from the start that Ethan has a pull towards Jenna, from the very first chapter. Brashares makes her book fast paced with action that keeps you enthralled and wrapped in the story. It's different and exciting. I love the mystery. And the Sci fi elements is wonderful. I love time travel. It's not too intense and there's definitely not confusion. She incorporates a lot of twists and turns you won't see coming. I ran the gamete of emotions in this one. I was happy and sad. The ending was appropriate, even if I was a bit sad for what had to happen. I definitely wanted to cry, throw the book across the room and then just scream. But I knew that there was no other way for it to go down. It is totally engaging. Not necessarily for fans of time travel, but the sci-fi element is prominently there.
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Preena James could be seen as your average 17 year old; someone who moved here from a different country. Just minding her own business & trying to survive, just like everyone else. But there is a slight difference. She kind of shimmered here, out of nowhere. To be more precise, she moved here from the future - one that is ravaged by a pandemic, killing off a huge portion of the human race, withering the world. Somehow, her people figured a way to time travel to an earlier point & so enters Preena. She can't talk about what she knows or interfere in any way. Only one problem - the boy who witnessed her shimmery entrance. 'For the next two and a half years Ethan thought of that day so often his memory began to warp. So much that he began to wonder if he's imagined the whole thing after all. Until the first day of his sophomore year, when the very girl, now clothed, walked into his precalculus class and sat down one seat behind him.' Interesting story line, a little different twist on the classic sci-fi time traveling what if genre. Good character development and you could feel the angst and turmoil that Preena was going through. Highly recommend!
I really liked this novel because it takes a popular story line (Dystopian novel) and gives it a new twist (time travel) and it was really well done. As the future continues to shift and change, I was hooked. Prenna is a very likeable main character and Ethan is the perfect mix of determined and charming boy. He is smart, good looking and cares about the planet. While the main driving force in the book is the love story, there is enough substance and depth with the rest of the plot line to make this more than a romance story. With strong Dystopian lines, The Here and Now is set in present day. If you are looking for a fresh take on this type of book, I recommend checking it out!
I don’t know whether I had high expectations because I loved “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” so much, or whether it was the book itself, but I found “The Here and Now” to be underwhelming. The premise is original, and there is no real fault in the storytelling, but it seems like it would have been more suited to a short story. There was quite a bit of filler in regard to the plot and the romance felt sudden, jarring, and forced. The only character that seemed to be fully developed was the protagonist. All of those being said, while there are sexual situations, it is a very easy and quick read that can easily appeal to younger middle readers. In spite of there being plot filler, it does flow well, and it is technically well-written. I would recommend it for the younger set, but not for older young adults or adults. This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Ethan is your regular nice guy from the present and Prenna the girl from the future who is contained by her community of time travellers. Together they are reckless and ready to save the world. There's no possible future reading scenario in which you are not falling in love with these two! You might have guessed by now that time travelling is involved in THE HERE AND NOW. I've been used to single individuals being able to travel through time under certain limitations. In this story it's a group of people from the future that comes to the present in order to save themselves, the old world and humankind's future. Like they are fugitives of time itself, awesome and complex concept! Prenna and Ethan have their magic moments. Their moments that have been destined by fate. And they have their absolute ordinary teenager moments. You are going to love that their relationship is off to such a natural start because Ethan and Prenna have known each other for some time now. They go to school together and fall in love just like any other couple would. Well, that doesn't say that there aren't tons of problems pre-programmed. A big conspiracy is brewing and Ethan and Prenna are determined to save the world. There are some dangerous leads Ethan and Prenna are following. The story could've used some additional explanations here and there, one or two chapters stealing time for Ethan and Prenna to actually be together, buying them time for some sweet romance. Ann Brashares really did think up a horrible future scenario that is to be prevented at all costs. When you are not scared about it you are fascinated trying to puzzle over how it could all come to this future. THE HERE AND NOW is an intricately spun story about our world's future with all its possibilities and dangers. So you can expect big action scenarios, the bad guys being really corrupt and scary and more than a few conflicts between Prenna's desire to be with Ethan and her strict community standards. 4/5 **** THE HERE AND NOW - Conspiracies, time travel and a timeless love story. What else do you need? When I got a copy of THE HERE AND NOW I read it believing Ann Brashares a debut author. Well, she's only the author of the very famous THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS series. Ann's writing is practiced, love and suspense aren't battling for the reader's attention, they are complementing each other. I can easily count THE HERE AND NOW to my favourite time travel stories and new releases of 2014! So all we've got to do now is hope for a sequel!
Received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. THE HERE AND NOW is an extremely interesting mix of dystopia and time travel. I loved the issues raised and the progression the story took. The dystopian society functioning within our current time frame is a cool idea. The characters were interesting and well fleshed out. The romance didn’t feel contrived. The pacing made for a super quick and easy read (once I had the time to sit down with it). Highly recommend!
Time travel being one of my favorite topics, The Here and Now certainly got my full attention. Prenna James, an immigrant from a distant, gloomy future, is here to make the change that will ensure a different future. Slightly supernaturally gifted Ethan Jarves wants to help. Only, do the authority figures from Prenna's time really want things changed? This short, fast moving novel has a captivating start, several clever plot twists throughout the story, and an unusual but highly satisfying end. Until the second half of the book I really struggled to connect with the characters. When Prenna, however, shakes off the fear she feels for her authority figures, she seems to come alive. Even her sense of humor seems to gain momentum. As though encouraged by Prenna's sudden awakening of personality, Ethan Jarves also becomes a bit more lifelike. This meticulously planned tale shows what can happen when several people travel to a certain time from different times, and the devastating results when those same people are not careful about the diseases they bring along from their time. Although The Here and Now is a light romance, it is also a story of choices, decisions and sacrifice. I would recommend this book as a light, engaging, often suspenseful, but very relaxing read. (Ellen Fritz)
I received this book free from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review! The thoughts in this review of are my own! I began this book almost a month ago. I had to keep putting it to the side in order to read and complete reviews for other books with timed deadlines! I am happy to have finally finished this book. Oh boy, it was worth the wait! What a story! Ann Brashares is mostly known as the author who wrote the young adult series, the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Most authors can not branch off from a series that launch their writing careers. I have seen this with Gossip Girl author, Cecily Von Ziegesar when she wrote Cum Laude following the conclusion of the Gossip Girl series. Brashares has shown that can branch off in her writing with "The Here & Now." And boy, was I impressed with her writing, story, and characters. A complete departure from "the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." Brashares introduces us to Prenna James, a 16 year-old from the year 2096. She arrived in early 2010 escaping the plagues that threaten her time. While there she meets Ethan, a boy who has been in love with her since the day he saw her. Ethan does not know is that Prenna is part of a time-traveler community that has a set of rules that she must abide by. I found this book to actually be very, very realistic. Over the course of the book, Prenna is threatened by elders in her hierarchical community with potential punishment. I guess they were scared of what this little girl could find out. This would have caused a collapse to their controlling structure. Prenna also finds out that she has been lied to by not only the leaders in her community, but also her own mother too. Prenna and Ethan learn the truth from an unkown souce what is really going on within her community. They also learn about an impending danger that they must help to reverse or there would be lethal consequences. This book reminds me of the 1984 movie, "the Philadelphia Experiment." Only mix with dystopian elements, and for the young adult reader. I gave this book 5 stars not only for being an enjoyable book, but also from Brashares' work! A very departure from "the Sisterhood" franchise!
The Here and Now is written by Ann Brashares. She studied Philosophy at Barnard College, part of Columbia University in New York City. Ann’s first novel was The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, which was a best seller. She also wrote three more for the series that are The Second Summer of the Sisterhood, Girls in Pants, and Forever in Blue. Ann Brashares currently resides in New York City with her family. In the book The Here and Now the main character is named Prenna James. She immigrated to NYC when she was twelve years old. She had to leave the place she was at due to a plague that caused many deaths and destroyed humanity. In the NYC Prenna and the others who came along with her are given a set of rules and regulations to follow, they cannot break any of them or it will result in punishment. The leaders of their community interrogate them and watch their every move making sure they aren’t breaking any rules. Prenna goes to school and presents herself as ordinary, never drawing any attention to herself. She has a friend named Ethan Jarves who she secretly is attracted to. They know a homeless man named Ben Kenobi who is close to Ethan. When Ben Kenobi tells Prenna to remember a special date Ethan confesses that he knows her secret and he’s going to help her on this mission Ben Kenobi has challenged them with. Ben Kenobi dies but luckily he has a close enough relationship with Ethan that he has left them tools to prevent this upcoming event. Together Prenna and Ethan work on this mission fall in love, go against all the rules and in the end they save something very important. The point of the book was that sometimes you can break the rules and go against the odds, maybe to save something and achieve a goal. In The Here and Now Ann Brashares was trying to say that love will happen and you may even break all the rules just to have it but sometimes things cannot go your way, it’s just an inevitable thing and you will have to understand that. The book The Here and Now but it was a very confusing plot, I couldn’t figure out the time sequence and how the past connected to the future. The author could have given a time line to have some order and a better understanding. Another way to fix this problem is to completely start the book from the past to the future. People who enjoy mystery and a romance should read this book. It is filled with suspense and mystery. You would need a clear understanding of who the characters are and how the order of events really is.
The Author pens "The Here and Now" in a well written plot filled with romance, mystery and time traveling. I found the Author's characters to be very believable, likable and they kept my interest from the start. What I found interesting is that the storyline is written in first person or present tense, which is a rare find with a time travel plot. A truly fun and interesting read for those ages 14 and up. This review is based on a complimentary copy from the author which was provided for an honest review.
The back cover calls this book "thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking". I'd heard some good things about this book and I was excited to read it. Unfortunately, it fell a little flat for me. It wasn't cheesy or anything, but it wasn't the exhilarating thriller the back cover promised either. Everything felt two-dimensional in the story—the characters, the setting, the "save the world" conspiracy. It was almost like watching a movie that didn't have any music or sound effects to draw you in. It was a good enough story, but lacked the extra something that would have made me love it. Don't get me wrong, the writing is decent. It's a quick read that you can easily breeze through in a few hours. It kept me reading all the way to the end. I liked the time travel aspect and the idea of finding the fork in time and changing events to alter the future. But other things felt weak to me. I didn't really believe the romance. I found the mystery of the fork and the community too easy. They figured everything out without even trying. While this book didn't have the depth I hoped for, I think the right person would like it. I am giving it 3 stars because it had some things I liked and some I didn't. It wasn't a horrible book by any stretch, but it wasn't a must-read either. Content: Some language (no f-words), some innuendo and sensuality (they sleep in the same bed, have a difficult time keeping hands to themselves, and they discuss having sex a few times). Source: I received a digital galley of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I chose to read The Here and Now for two reasons. First of all, I’m completely in love with the cover. Well done, design team! Secondly, I was interested to see what the Ann Brashares (of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants fame) would do with this type of book. Initially, I was very bored and disappointed. The early parts of the book seemed clichéd and unoriginal. I was afraid the book would be a generic dystopian novel with nothing to set it apart and no unique plot. Fortunately, I was wrong! The more I read, the more interested I became in The Here and Now. I was surprised and impressed by a few plot twists, and I began to really care about the main characters. This book is SMART in a way I wasn’t expecting. I felt like the environmental aspects of the book were exaggerated to prove a point. I assume the author is concerned about climate change, and this was an interesting way of getting that across. While I really enjoyed The Here and Now, I can’t give it five stars because of the dismal beginning. However, I’d give it a strong 3.5! If you’re a fan of YA Fiction, Dystopian books, Time Travel novels, or Sci-Fi, you’ll like this book!! *I received a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This is the book that made me get back into reading. I thank the author for writing such an amazing story. I would reccomend this book to anyone wanting to read a new version of a love story!!!
The Here and Now is a time travel young adult story that involves mystery saving the future and forbidden love. I loved it from the moment I started reading it. I recommend this book for fans of time travel, romance, young adult stories and the author herself.
I guess I just don’t have it in me to truly trash a novel. At least not in the manner currently undertaken by certain individuals. Should you wish to read a review where THE HERE AND NOW is dragged behind a pickup truck for 248 miles on the I-405, I’d direct your attention to a different public service announcement. I bring up this particular calamity, because I read a review filled with wrath and vengeance that tainted my reading experience. Did I like the novel? No. Would I have liked THE HERE AND NOW had I not read this other review first? No. But after reading said review, I might have been slightly traumatized for a brief moment in my otherwise happy existence. When I finished the story, I realized it was an okay read, but might not have deserved the full-on shellacking it had received on a previous occasion…Sorry, getting back on track and on to the review. The word repetitious comes to mind early and often in my description of this novel, to the point that I might have to repeat myself to further emphasize a few dramatic points. But that’s okay, as long as I wash my hands first. The dialogue felt more forced than natural, and it circumvented the point a bit too often instead of being more direct and hard hitting. It resembled Elmore Leonard if he had smoked too much weed and fried nearly half of his brain cells and couldn’t remember who he was for long periods of time and possibly had a metal plate in his head and his wife fired up the microwave a little too close to his presence. Would I call this novel thrilling? I’m going to go with no here, Bob. The pace was too slow for most thrill seekers, and the characters were whitewashed and steam cleaned to the point of a starchy outer coating. Prenna James might have been interesting if she hadn’t been a tad too bland, and Ethan Jarves wasn’t doing a whole lot better for himself. Mr. Robert and Ben Kenobi and Mona Ghali and Andrew Baltos proved on about the same wavelength as our hero and heroine. The romantic relationship felt a bit lacking in the spark department. Maybe electricity doesn’t work as well in the future as it does right now. Instead of recalling basic pieces of the novel as I write this, there are gaps in the logic and plot that just aren’t there for me. Almost like a hacker deleted random lines of code in the program, and now it’s just not working properly. If time travel were possible, this book doesn’t exactly endear me to that particular experience. Maybe you’ll feel differently, and that’s perfectly okay, but my enthusiasm died within the first few pages, and it never managed to regain its composure. I received this book for free through NetGalley. Robert Downs Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator
The Here and Now by Ann Brashares is a book that will appeal to the younger audience of YA readers. I think I would have enjoyed it more when I was in junior high, than I did now. It has the potential to be a lovely story if there is a sequel in the works, but this book felt a little too rushed. I have so many questions about the time travelers. First of all, why did they stop trying to fix the problems of the future? I knew there would be corruption among their leaders. There always is, but why? What's the motivation? I feel like we needed this detail to fully understand what was going on and why so many things were forbidden. This book has me curious, and if there is a sequel, I would read it to learn more. The Here and Now by Ann Brashares was kindly provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley for review. The opinions are my own.
I guess I am going to go against the curve for this one because I really liked the book. Didn’t love it, it did take me 7 days to get into the first 50 pages after all. But I was just 5 pages away from putting this one back on the shelf when it grabbed me and I finished the remaining 200 pages in a day. Now I do see some of the points other reviewers have made for their reasons for not liking the book, no matter how poorly made. But you know what none of that bothered me. There was one concept that kept me reading and made the book for me. It all revolved around a little insect, the mosquito. You see I am a firm believer that global climate change is a very real threat and I loved the political side/lesson this story had to tell. I also desperately hope that it teaches some of the YA readers to think about their environment and the damage that we are doing to it. I loved the part where Grace tells Ethan about how in the future they thought we all in this time must not have realized what we were doing, that we did not know the implications of our actions. She was right most of us know, but like she said we are unwilling to make any real changes to stop what could be coming our way. We all want someone else to be inconvenienced, much like the characters from this story. We want to hide our head in the sand and hope things work out. The climate change elements of this story still have me thinking this morning. What will the future be like. There are going to be consequences for our actions and way of life right now in the not so distant future. I don’t want to go into too many details, have already deleted one paragraph because it gave too much away, but I could totally see the motivation for the bad guy in this story. Now for other parts of the story, the romance was alright, but not the greatest like others have mentioned. I don’t think it was so much forced, but never really leaves the crush stage for these two. Sure they think they are in love, but really what people this age really are in true love. It is a crush, and I enjoyed the bitter sweetness of it in this story. I think I would have had a bigger problem if it had ended differently. Probably what bothered me the most in the story is the role of the bad time travelers or councilors. I don’t think Grace would have gotten away with her mouthing off at the end. They were beaten back just a little too easily for me. I think if we followed this story further in to the future we would see the plot they are surely thinking up to bring Grace back down. Well there you have it. I hope you give the book a shot, don’t let all the haters stop you from reading this one if it looks interesting to you. It is like what I tell my husband as he picks apart my Star Trek movies. Stop it. It is just a story, let everything go and just enjoy.
I don't know what to say about this book. It wasn't so bad that I couldn't finish it. But it wasn't good enough for me to be excited about reading and reviewing it. The blurb had my attention from the start. Coupled with the gorgeous cover, I knew I had to request it. But I feel like the synopsis was the most exciting part of the book. The story felt choppy to me in the beginning. I really had to push through to get into it. Even though the idea could have been great, it really fell flat for me. The characters didn't feel developed. I had zero attachment to any of them, and I was often more annoyed with them than the glaringly obvious plot holes. I don't know. I just had zero interest from the beginning, and I was never able to find anything to be interested in as the story went on. Can we stop here for a minute to talk about the cover confusion? I knew going into this that it was supposed to be a combination of time travel and dystopian. The cover is gorgeous, yeah? We can agree on that. But it totally gives off this mermaid vibe. Then at the beginning of the story, the love interest casually mentions Prenna (or was it Henny or Prenny or WhatsHerFace?) as like a mermaid whenever she materializes over a pond. I went on for a few pages thinking that the cover and that mention meant I should expect mermaids soon. There weren't mermaids. Just another layer to add to the confusion, I guess. **I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to NetGalley and Ann Brashares.
When The Future Comes to the Past Prenna is like no other. She doesn’t come from our time. Doesn’t share our blood. She is here from the future, but not to protect us, but for her and her people to stop a virus from happening. She didn’t plan on becoming a savior. Or, falling in love with one of us. Sixteen Year Old Prenna James lives a very sheltered, secluded life. Forced to wear glasses that has a surveillance system installed on them and take pills that only weaken them, Prenna’s adapting to the “past” or our present hasn’t been easy. There are rules upon rules. And, lies. Lies she begins to uncover with a boy from the present. A boy she can’t help but fall in love with, Ethan. As they search to uncover the truth about her journey and reason for being in here, and stopping a murder that will change everything, their lives become ever so complicated. There were two paragraphs that immediately pulled me in. After the day The Rules are read, a yearly practice/celebration where all the residents gather to remember the strict rules and remember the dead/those who broke them. Prenna is in the park with fellow teens. She hits the feelings on the nail. No one talks about what really binds us together. The gap between what we say and what we feel is so big and dark that sometimes I think I’ll fall into it and just keep falling. At least, I think we feel it. Does anybody else feel it? I don’t know and I won’t find out. We follow our scripts like actors in a very large, very long production. And even with no audience, none of us gives a hint that it isn’t real. There is such alienation that is universal, at least to me/for me. I connected so much to that. Especially when you are a teenager, even if you’re not from a different time. Ann Brashares writes a novel for everyone while disguising it as something extraordinarily unfamiliar to use. But, as we pull apart the layers it’s so universal and real, it’s beautiful and real.
I requested this title as an eARC from Edelweiss because both the cover and the synopsis grabbed me. I was intrigued by the storyline. I love time travel romance teen novels. I find them to be very entertaining and quick reads as the suspense and action keeps me tied to the book. With that said I went into this book prepared to love it. While I didn't LOVE it, it was okay. I would rate it overall 3 stars. Depending on the person I am talking to, I may or may not recommend it. I will say this about the novel: 1. It was a light time travel romance. This can be a good thing as some that I have run across can get bogged down in the time travel rules and details which can distract and confuse the reader. 2. I liked the relationship and how it was built between Prenna and Ethan. I felt at times that Ethan seemed a bit immature though in regards to the advancement of their relationship (i.e the physical parts). 3. The Mr. Robert character was a little flat for me. While I understood his premise in the story I felt that he could have been developed a little more. 4. I felt that in the beginning the author was very blatant about laying out the "rules" of Prenna's society, but as the book progresses some of the rules seem to be ignored. 5. Lastly, the ending seemed to wrap up but I also felt that there could possibly be room for more as if the author might have been leaving it open for a second book although I am not sure if this is going to be a series. Overall 3/5 stars. An okay read.
Brashares' newest book The Here and Now is about Prenna James a girl from the future. Prenna is from the future because it had become impossible for humans to continue survival there. When her past catches up to her she finds herself caught up in a world far different from any that she has ever known. The future of humanity and herself is dependent on the course she chooses. By her side is Ethan Jarves. Ethan has known Prenna longer than she can understand and that gives him the distinct advantage of helping her fail or succeed. What will Prenna and how will she change the world? This was a fantastic read. I loved it. So much so, I kept finding myself thinking about it when I was not reading it and wondering what was going to happen. I highly recommend this book. I think fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Host will really enjoy this fast-paced read. An electronic advance copy of this book was provided to my by the publisher through my NetGalley account. All opinions and synopsis are my own. I really do recommend this book!
I received a copy of this book from Random House Children's and NetGalley I requested this book because I have read a lot by Ann Brashares, but this was not what I expected. I don't normally read about time travel, so this was different than what I normally read. I feel like the whole teenagers saving the world thing has been done over and over again. I think that the standards have been set pretty high in this area. I can't say that I was super impressed with how it all played out in this book, it seemed too easy, and we don't even know if they were successful. There were things in this book that made me think a lot, such as the concept of memory banking, which is recording all of your memories. I wasn't overly attached to the characters, but I found myself intrigued. I think that the book had a good concept, but could use some better character development. I wasn't sold on the romance, I think this was because there was more telling than showing. Normally I love forbidden romance, but in this book I was just kind of bored. I was disappointed because I went in having high expectations because I like the author. It was certainly an enjoyable read, but I expected more.