I was offered the opportunity to read The Here and Now by Ann Brashares, via NetGalley, and I was happy to take them up on the offer.
I didn’t read the books Brashares is best known for – The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and it’s sequels – until just a few years ago. (I maintain that some of the most provocative contemporary literature, especially if you want strong female characters, is written for the YA/NA market. She’s the perfect example of this.) Nevertheless, I love her work, because she always writes girls and young women who are three-dimensional.
The Here and Now is no exception to that. Protagonist Prenna is someone I think many girls and young women could identify with. Certainly she reminded me of me at that age – when I was always the new kid (though I never had to move from a different time).
Likewise, Ethan, the local boy with the talent for perception, reminds me of many of the smarter, geekier boys I went to school with. If I were seventeen, I’d want to date him. Or at least go on an adventure or two with him.
The story itself is sort of a contemporary spin on Romeo and Juliet with a science fiction setup. Most of the action takes place – as the name of the novel suggests – in the here and now, but it forces us to look at our culture pretty closely, while still being incredibly entertaining.
My one complaint about this novel is that it felt like part one of a trilogy…the story is resolved by the end, but the resolution is a bit unsatisfying, and more than a little open-ended.
Goes well with a hot dog and crinkle-cut french fries from a stand on a New Jersey boardwalk.