Lisa Reviews: Ann Brashares’ – “The Here and Now”
Before reading The Here and Now, I had never read anything that focused on time travel and the consequences it can have on the future. I mean, I’ve seen movies, and I know that all kinds of crazy things can happen through just the smallest change in the past. When I picked up The Here and Now, I was ready for a mind blowing story that would completely twist my brain and make me think differently…
…but I didn’t get too much of that from this story.
The Here and Now is about a girl named Prenna who is from a futuristic world where mosquitoes have taken over and being stung by one causes a horrible disease and death. Prenna has lost her brother to this disease, along with almost everyone else she knows. When Prenna and her parents decided to travel to the past—our time now—she knew life would be completely different.
But she didn’t know that she would be living by a strict set of rules and under constant pressure to remain in hiding. These rules include no intimacy with a time native, keeping her real identity secret, and never interfering with history (which ties in with the other two rules). There are a few leaders in charge who make sure that no one breaks any of these rules through intimidation…even if it means spying, and possibly killing.
While a lot of these rules seem to be pretty simple and easy to follow, Prenna can’t help herself. She can’t stop thinking about Ethan, a guy from her class, despite knowing that she can never have a relationship with him, tell him who she is, or get too close.
Alongside this, Prenna has always questioned why people from the future have to wear glasses and take vitamins every day. The leadership claims that their eyes are damaged by time travel and the vitamins keep them healthy—but she doesn’t believe a single word.
Especially when a homeless man comes up to her and claims that he knows who she is and where she’s from. He says that he both knows what’s coming in the future, and knows a scientist who may be able to prevent the mosquito epidemic.
Prenna knows she can’t do this on her own. But with her best friend sent off to boarding school, her mum not standing up for herself, and the community doubting her, Prenna has no one—except for Ethan. She knows what she has to do: stop a murder.
I haven’t read any books that included time travel, so when I discovered The Here and Now, that was the element of the story that keenly anticipated! I was excited to see how the author would bring the concept into the story and make these two different worlds work. There was a bit of time travel stuff going on, but not as much as I expected, which was slightly disappointing. Though there was one really big twist that came out of nowhere and made up for it.
There weren’t very many characters in The Here and Now, and, sadly, I didn’t really feel much of a connection with any of them. Prenna wasn’t very open—I mean, she did give us some information about her feelings and what happened to her in the future, but I felt like I didn’t really know her. Ethan was a sweet guy who seemed to really care for Prenna, and I loved him for it. But, again, I just felt confused by how he knew so much about her. I understand that he was the one that found her in the woods, but what happened for him to know so much? Did I miss something?
Don’t even get me started on Prenna’s mum. She was the reason I strongly considered throwing the book across the room. Why wouldn’t she be on Prenna’s side? Why was she doing everything they told her to?
The ending wasn’t anything too crazy or surprising. For some reason, Prenna gets away with everything she did; the ‘leadership’ never really takes control or goes through with their ‘threats’. Overall, the story was okay, but the characters were a bit colourless, and the story only had one big twist. There wasn’t anything that kept me on the edge of my seat.