Monday, March 20, 2017

The Here and Now - Ann Brashares

Summary:  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 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 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.  Thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking, The Here and Now is a twenty-first-century take on an impossible romance.  A girl from the future might be able to save us...if she lets go of the one thing she's found to hold on to.  (Summary from inside flap of book)

My Review:  When I picked up this book, I was looking for a little light reading to smooth over some stress in my life and this book seemed like it might fit the bill.  It was written by Ann Brashares, author of the Sister of the Traveling book series, and had a promising premise so I dove in without hesitation.  Big mistake. Huge.

At 246 pages, I should have been able to finish this book in an afternoon.  Unfortunately, it took almost a month for me to wade through.  I picked it up with high hopes that slowly tanked as the book fell flat at every turn.  The story line felt basic --  like the author had a good idea for a story and put it on paper so she wouldn't forget, but then she went out for coffee or something and her assistant found the manuscript and sent it to the publisher by accident.  As characters, I really wanted to like Prenna and Ethan, but they each felt void of any real depth, emotion, or convincing chemistry. In fact, all the characters felt that way.  Like paper dolls instead of people. The conflict within the story lacked any real sense of urgency (think, let's take two sentences to make a 'plan' and then go swim suit shopping and make out on the beach) and the subsequent resolution was all too easily reached. The final nail in the coffin? Ethan spent an inordinate amount of time trying to convince Prenna that their physical intimacy was more important than survival. Pardon me while I *eyeroll*.  I will give the book credit for not ending in a complete shower of butterflies, rainbows, and glittery unicorn poop, but even that couldn't save it.  Honestly, I expected so much more from the author who created Bridget, Lena, Carmen, and Tibby.  Lesson?  Light reading doesn't not always make good reading.  Time to make a 246-page donation to my local thrift store and move on.

My Rating: 2 Stars

For the sensitive reader:  Some adolescent groping, a murder, and a few instances of profanity. Possibly only one.

Sum it up:  A promising premise that fails to deliver.

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