Monday, May 5, 2014

{ARC Review} The Here and Now: Ann Brashares

Rating: 3/10
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Time Travel, Science Fiction,
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Page Count: 288
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

Goodreads Synopsis: An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.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 a 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, ever 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. 

From Ann Brashares, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now is thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking—and a must-read novel of the year.

Disclaimer: I received this book as an eARC from Netgalley which does not in the slightest effect my honest review of the book.

*My reviews, while they normally do not have spoilers, there are always exceptions when I NEED to get my feelings out about a book in a way that I don't have to feel like censoring them. Normally, I would compose separate posts, spoiler and non-spoiler versions, but in this case, I will just establish when there are spoilers*

*If this is your first time visiting Loving the Language of Literacy, I would like you to know that I don't actually sound like this (hashtags & sarcasm) usually in reviews but this book is unusual for me*

Before You Read: This book got a lot of bad pre-publication press, as in I was seeing review after review on my Bloglovin feed about it. Let's say I read 10 reviews of the book, eight of ten of those reviews were negative, at a 2.5 star rating or less. 

There was also one overall complaint on every single one of the reviews, even the positive ones: the mention of sex. There is a rule of the time travelers that states that time travelers cannot be 'intimate' with people that did not travel with them for fear of spreading the epidemic, because even though the time travelers themselves were immune, it was not certain if the people they might make out with had that immunity as well. So, the second Ethan and Prenna admit their feelings for each other, Prenna tells Ethan that they can't have sex.  

I, personally, did not have a problem with the whole "I just kissed you, but I need to establish that we can't have sex now." thing, but what I did have was numerous issues with the book itself in all aspects of the book. I am also aware that The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is an extremely well-regarded series, and is what established Brashare's merit as an author. I do think the numerous negative reviews I read of this novel impacted my opinion and low rating, but at the same time, if I had picked this book up knowing NOTHING about it, I would have still had complaints about it. 

My biggest complaint of all was that it seemed like a carbon copy of a book I read for a blog tour in February which was Unite by Jamie Campbell which I highly suggest you check out in order to understand my frustrations with The Here and Now, if not that, then at least to read the synopsis of it so you can recognize the parallels as well. 

While THAN has humans that time traveled to escape a pandemic, and UNITE has aliens from another planet that have come to this one in order to save the population, the idea of it is the same. 


I hate to say it, but neither is very original. Time traveling to now may be creative, but the wide spread epidemic people had to escape from was not. Aliens trying to save the human race sounds very I Am Number Four. 

Another aspect that the two books have in common is KIDNAPPING (I feel like that word should be flashing in neon colors, what about you?). While it was Amery's best friend Lola in UNITE and Prenna herself in THAN, the girls still had to be saved by their boyfriends/best friend's boyfriend and the best friend. 

This is a pretty universal theme in dystopian novels, and it appears in both of them. 

***Spoiler Alert***
Another similarity with another book, which wasn't annoying, just a little confusing, and a "Why was that needed?" kind of factor was with the weird time traveling guy that serves as a HUGE plot twist for the story. In When You Reach Me it was Sal's older self that protected current Marcus and Miranda. In THAN, it was the very first time traveler that killed the #evil_scientist. I never understood why the older Sal was needed in WYRM and I don't understand now why having the killer as THE FIRST time traveler made such a huge difference in THAN.  
***End Spoiler Alert***

Characters: #It's_Honesty_Time The characters were such a deal breaker for me. Prenna and Ethan felt so unreal, and not even in the supernatural being unreal way, but the "Are people that boring?" kind of way. I hate to sound so uncompassionate, but they probably could have been kidnapped and murdered by Prenna's fellow time natives and I would have routed for the people killing them. My feelings towards the characters were a lot like my feelings towards America Singer, Prince Maxon, and Aspen from the Selection Trilogy. (I'm bringing up every review I've ever wrote practically in this one) When I was reading The Elite, I brought up Prince Maxon's dictator father was the saving grace of the story, and was also similar to Uther from the BBC show, Merlin. The actual point of all this sidetracking is to say that I didn't care about the main characters at all because they seemed like plot devices, and the villains of The Here and Now seemed more realistic.

***Spoiler Alert***
Ending: Do I even remember the ending at this point? Now I remember.....Prenna and Ethan blackmailed the authorities in the community of time travelers. Good overcame evil. The virus hopefully won't spread now. Oh my gosh, everything is right with the world now. It was completely expected, and didn't leave a window for a sequel.
***End Spoiler Alert***

Conclusion: I was extremely disappointed with The Here and Now because of its cliche plot, stone-like characters, Oh-so-evil government, and overused ending. 

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