Ann Brashares is better known for her Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, which in all honesty, I have never really been interested in reading. The concept of The Here and Now was so intriguing and so different from anything I’ve read that I was really excited to check it out. Prenna James is seventeen and has been in our time since she was twelve. Prenna and her family and friends traveled through the past to escape a horrific future, where mosquito-borne diseases decimated the population and the Earth was essentially in a perpetual state of chaos. Prenna’s group is forced to follow community-enforced rules in order to keep them from potentially infecting present-day locals with their future diseases, although it seems more like a mini-dictatorship led by a cast of baddies posing as good leaders. Of course, Prenna meets a dashing local (naturally) that sweeps her off her feet and makes her question everything she’s ever known.
I found this book exciting and inventive. The situations that cause the chaos in the future are relatable and very cautionary. It made me want to run out and get a Prius after reading it! I really liked Brashares’ writing, some of the prose was really lovely. I have read a lot of complaints about the characters, but I really found Prenna and Ethan to be a cute couple. It was a quick read and I felt that the time-travel story was fascinating. Granted, I’m also a Whovian, so I dig the whole time-travel vibe. I feel like a lot of people didn’t like this book, either because they were coming into it hoping for something similar to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series (which I am assured it is not) or that the author is ‘trying’ too hard to be dystopian. I went into it with no preconceived notions, hoping to find a good time-travel book, and thought it was exactly that.
My only complaint (if you really even want to call it that) is that it was on the short side. It sort of left the potential to be continued, although I did read an interview with Brashares where she mentions this book was an attempt to get away from the whole series idea. As a writer, I can totally understand that thought, however, I would love to see a sequel to see where the future (future past?) takes Prenna and her community.
Karly Kirkpatrick would stay home and read all day if it were possible. When she’s not reading, she’s teaching stuff, writing, at the movies, or traveling. You can find out more about Karly at www.karlykirkpatrick.com, or look her up on Facebook or Twitter (@karlkirkpatrick).