Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 8th 2014 by Delacorte Press
The Here and Now comes with a fantastic premise and from an author with a solid reputation for storytelling. I expected to like it a lot. I expected to tear into it and not let go until I was done reading the last page at least five times. I loved the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Brashares won me over with her characters and her word weaving and I wanted a repeat of the magic. Granted her starcrossed lovers book didn’t do anything for me especially considering the presence of another book with very similar characters and premise released at the same time but we’re talking about The Here and Now now.
So the book starts off on a bad note, for me. The prologue has the love interest seeing the protagonist, Prenna, appearing, naked, out of nowhere, in the middle of a stream. He falls immediately in love and it is established that she is SUPERAWESOMELY AWESOME beautiful. Then he, being the chivalrous dude he is, gives her his jacket to cover her nakedness, and she accepts it and stumbles away from him without saying anything more but definitely taking his heart with her. And that’s that or so we think but unfortunately, she appears in his classroom two years (or so?) later and then the show starts.
So Prenna is a time traveler, no, she’s a fugitive of time. Along with her really useless mother and other horribly useless adults and a missing father she has traveled back in time to, ostensibly, change things so the future doesn’t end up barren and plagued. Only, the time traveling adults do not seem to want to change anything. They have a strict set of rules, actually, they have a little dystopia going on with counsellors and other evil adults making all these rules and not just controlling their movements but putting all time travelers under constant surveillance. Yeah so Prenna doesn’t like any of that since she’s a special snowflake.
She questions even though she’s not supposed to and she is in love with Ethan, the dude who saw her naked arrival into the 21st century. Of course she doesn’t remember him because hey, drama, and to spice up the love stew, there’s the rule that sexytimes are not allowed between time fugitives and time natives. So pent up lust and frustration and whatnot. Then Prenna is told by a random hobo that he might need her help to prevent a murder because apparently that is the pivot point – that is what changes the future.
Then comes action with Prenna kicking ass, behaving stupidly, stealing kisses, guns, maybe some junk food, more kisses, fighting, jails, some introspection and a lot of angst.
The trouble I had with The Here and Now is that it was underwhelming. There is nothing fresh or new about the story line. Everything has been said, done ad infinitum. Prenna as a character brings nothing new to the genre; there are no quirks to her that set her apart in her cohort, she’s not funny, or interesting. Ethan, too, does very little for me as a character though I admit I like him better than Prenna. The parents in this novel are ridiculous. The plot has holes in it – if they succeeded in changing the future, Prenna would disappear as there will be no need for her to travel back in time to do what they did. Right?
I had a lot of expectations for this book – if it was not going to present anything new, I expected it to at least entertain me with the same old story and it failed to do even that. So I’m afraid I cannot recommend this to you. Check this out of the library or read a sample before you buy this.