“The past, the present, and the future walk into a bar. It was tense.” explains more about this novel than one would at first expect. The Here and Now by Ann Brashares is a book about what happens in between one time and another. This book is a curiosity, not unlike our protagonist Prenna, waiting cautiously to spill its secrets. It’s about the use of time travel, it’s about the moral and physical ramifications of traveling. It’s about a young girl named Prenna, who’s haunted by nightmares of another time where a mosquito-borne illness ravished everything. And her friend Ethan, who is more peculiar than even Prenna knows. Most importantly, it’s about how far the deprivations and sin of human nature lie, as Prenna and Ethan work to right what was once wronged.
Tempered with events that stand out gray against a world full of color, The Here and Now shines whenever it focuses on its thoroughly compelling plot. It’s easy for time to get lost as you’re reading, hoping for the next bit of information to be given so that you can make your way farther down the rabbit hole. The characters are likeable enough to enjoy following along on this journey. While this story is very bleak in parts, there’s always an underlying feeling of hope that keeps the atmosphere from being completely stifling.
The Here and Now offers more than is apparent at first glance. It unfolds around you as you read, intriguing enough to keep you reading, never stopping to let you breathe. Right when you think it will suffocate you, it lets up enough for you to breathe. This book is for people who enjoy the intricacies of science fiction, as well as the flavor and emotion of romance novels. It can be read by just about anyone, though, and is an interesting book for preteen to adult readers.