Published by Delacorte Press on April 8, 2014
Genres: Science Fiction
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.
The best part about The Here and Now is this quote by Stephen Hawking at the beginning of the book, “If time travel were possible, we’d be inundated by tourists from the future.” I had never heard that quote before, but after reading it, I thought, “Of course!” It’s heard to argue with this logic. But it’s also a bit depressing to think that time travel will never be possible. So, we will have to be content with books and films about time travel.
I’ve read some very good time travel stories, but The Here and Now is not one of them. In the late 21st century, a mosquito-borne plague has wreaked havoc, killing off many people and bringing some very unpleasant changes to society. Some people from this time are sent into the past, to our current time, with strict instructions to do nothing to alter the future. Say what? Why wouldn’t they want to stamp out this plague before it could occur?
Prenna is one of these time travelers, and she immediately begins to violate the twelve, seemingly arbitrary, rules. One of the rules forbids travelers from becoming “intimate” with anyone from the present time, but Prenna seems intent to do exactly that. Her target is Ethan, and they immediately embark upon a silly insta-love romance, marked mostly by Ethan’s constant pleading to have sex and Prenna’s half-hearted refusals. This is all in the midst of a looming crisis, and whenever Prenna and Ethan are not talking about sex, they are playing cards. (If you’ve ever wanted to learn to play war or hearts, this is a good instruction manual.) Since I already know how to play those games, I’ll look elsewhere for an enjoyable time travel story.
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.