“The Here and Now” by Ann Brashares

the-here-and-nowI’m impressed with this concept, but also a little disappointed at the same time. The book follows Prenna James, who is actually here from the future. There is this whole setup where the Earth is bad in the late 2080s or so and this group find some kind of time-hole and go straight through to 2010. So she and a bunch of other teenagers and adults come through to our time.

The book has so much potential, but I just don’t feel like it delivered. With something like time travel there are opportunities to talk about the different technologies of the future and how exactly it got to be so bad, but most of these things are mentioned casually and then glossed over.

Throughout it all, there is one “time native,” Ethan, who knows what is going on because he saw Prenna come through the time portal thing. Side note: what I want to know is how they discovered this time portal and knew that they would be safe just walking through to the other side.

Ethan is supposedly in love with Prenna but it seems like she has just been pushing him away for the entire four years she has been in this time. But that doesn’t stop him from literally telling her he wanted to get it on with her multiple times once she admits that’s she’s not from around here. Blame it on the teenage hormones?

There are also several characters that you just don’t dive into very deeply. Prenna’s father, who we meet and then leave pretty much simultaneously; her best friend Katherine, who even is this person?; Mr. Robert, etc. Also, how the heck did Prenna have these numbers written on her arm? Who put them there? Why is she the only traveler that Ethan saw in the woods? Why does she have amnesia? How in the world is she supposed to be a leader at 17? Did her mom fix the blood plague issue? Did Andrew Baltos change the future for good? So many questions unanswered. Plus it’s a book about people who have time traveled but we don’t get to see any time traveling and that’s a letdown.

Maybe it would take a second read to feel more favorably. Hard to tell.

One thing I noticed though is that all of these Ann Brashares books seem to be connected. This book isn’t the next one that she wrote time-wise, but it mentions Fire Island, which is the same place Alice and Riley spend their summers in “The Last Summer (of You and Me),” which is interesting.

Even though I have now finished this book, I am still reading three books at once, with “A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Grim Grotto” by Lemony Snicket, “Turtles All the Way Down” by John Green, and the audiobook version of “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls, which I just started this morning.

Many books to read and not enough time to read them in,


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