[We’re continuing our guest blogger posts, courtesy of our friends from the Green Forest Public Library. This one is from Green Forest’s director, Tiffany Newton. She also wrote about Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore a few weeks ago.]
“You can’t even look up tomorrow [on Google]. Who says the Internet is boundless?” (pg 129)
The Here and Now by Ann Brashares is a Young Adult book with some romance, science fiction, and dystopian themes. It was published in 2014, but it’s only been checked out from the Carroll and Madison County libraries less than 12 times. However, it’s a quick read that you won’t regret.
The story follows a young woman, Prenna, on her journey as she immigrates from the future, to 2010. She and her family and friends fled the future because of the “blood plague.” It has killed billions of people, leaving the world in ruins.
The immigrants had originally wanted to go to the past, find where this blood plague started, and prevent it from happening. However, somewhere along the way, they lose their focus and instead follow a series of very strict rules, such as don’t reveal where you’re from, don’t interfere with history, and do not be intimate with a “time native” (or those who are not time travelers). For four years, Prenna does as she’s told. She is a quiet girl, trying not to draw attention to herself or others like her.
Then she meets Ethan. Everything about Ethan is different. She actually wants to be his friend, to get closer to him. Then a homeless man who calls himself “Ben Kenobi” (and no one even notices that his name is from Star Wars…) tells her to trust him, to tell her about where she’s from. Ben tells here that there’s something bad that will happen on May 17, 2014, and only Prenna and Ethan can stop it. This event will change the course of history, and it must be stopped at all costs.
There are a lot of bad reviews about this book. There are a lot of things that don’t quite make sense and aren’t explained, but look past those. It wasn’t an amazing book, but the ending left me bewildered. I was angry. I was shocked. I was speechless. I just sat there for a few moments, not quite sure what to do next. I’m a big fan of true love and happy endings, and this book does not have that. That’s part of why I was so upset. Books are supposed to end with “… and they lived happily ever after.” Not the way this one ended. They did keep on living, and I’m sure they became happy again, but it’s not the way I wanted it to happen.
Usually when I’m deciding about books, when I’m rating them, I think about how engaging the story was. I give it a few days and then look back. Am I still thinking about these characters? Do I want to know more? When reading a series, I wait before reading the next one and see if I’m still wondering about what might happen next to these characters. This story was very engaging to me. I’ve always liked Ann Brashares. She also wrote the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series (which is another one I’d recommend for everyone to read.)
So, ignore the negative reviews online, and give this book a try! You can check out the print version or the e-book version from Overdrive or, my favorite, the e-audio version! Let me know what you thought, or tell me about some other books that had bad reviews that you enjoyed.
[Thanks so much to Tiffany for this review! I’ve never read this book before, but I’m definitely intrigued now! If you’re intrigued too, be sure to learn more about it on our online catalog. Are you an Ann Brashares fan? Have any other book endings really surprised you? Tell us all about it in the comments! Also, don’t forget, for those of you participating in the library challenge, that “a book with a bad review” is one of the challenges. We’ll be featuring more on that category in the coming months!]