Your world is dying.Imagine living in a world where death by plague is the most common ending of any story, regardless of age, gender, or status. Imagine a world filled with isolation, screens, chemicals, and the fear of a droning buzz that could signal your end. Now, imagine the only way out was to back.
The Here and Now by Ann Brashares is a far different read than what fans acquainted with her Sisterhood books may have come to expect by Brashares.
The premise is intriguing, due in part to the possibility. A world devastated by plague, environmental change, and crumbling infrastructure. A world where children die and bodies are left lest the grief stricken become the next to be grieved. The only plan for salvation? Travelling into the past to establish new lives and maybe change the future.
Main character Prenna was a great character and one I enjoyed watching come to life. While this book has a blend of mystery and adventure, the core of the story, in my opinion, is Prenna's coming of age. Brashares did an excellent job bringing Prenna from scared refugee to an emerging, confidant young woman. It was the little touches that made this character exude her depth. While some may find the trip to the beach as lazy given the timeline, the touches such as the mosquito, the slow building of trust, the breaking out, were all necessary to move the story along in it's often fast paced sweetness.
That said there were a few things that left me saddened as I turned the last page.
(Warning - here be spoilers sweetie)
I actually know some unique people so his character does not seem as over the top as some people say, with a mind like his and the people he had encountered, his skill set was not surprising. If Brashares hadn't put the time into his character, building up his backstory the physics, the early genius, the ability to spot little details, his networking, most of his skills just naturally flow out of a well developed character.
Now that I've got that out of the way, I was disappointed with how Ethan and Prenna ended up. To have their future ripped away (seemingly) at the very end felt a bit like being robbed.
If I'm honest, the whole ending felt a little short all though I'm torn. If the author's intent was to tell the story of the exodus back through time, she accomplished that fully. The story accomplished it's set goal. However, the characters that were created as the connection point for readers were left hanging with tantalizing heartbreak and promise all rolled into one. I'm still rooting for Ethan/ Prenna, Katherine, and Molly.
Now, mind you, if this book does get a sequel all this could be resolved and I'd be a happy reviewer (hint, hint Brashares)
All in all, I found The Here and Now to be a fun and engaging read which I devoured in an afternoon. I would give this book a 4 out of 5 though due to my reservations about the ending