The Here and Now by Ann Brashares Review

Title: The Here and Now
Author: Ann Brashares
Publisher:Delacorte Press
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Source: Netgallery

From Goodreads

An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.

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.

From Ann Brashares, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now is thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking—and a must-read novel of the year.

When I first started to read The Here and Now I thought it was such an amazing story! I was sucked right in and I was under the impression that this was going to be a fantastic book that I would recommend to all of my friends. There is this feeling that readers get though, when books are really good, this excitement in the pit of your belly and this feeling of longing whenever you don’t have the book in your hands. I didn’t get it. This confused me because on the surface I thought I liked the book. Then I finished it…and I could not figure out how I felt.
There was no “wow that was good!” or “I’ve got to tell my friend about this!” there was just, “okay….so now I’m done.” The more I thought about the book the more I realized it wasn’t the amazing book that I thought it was. While there were a few things that I enjoyed (I’ll get to that later) a lot of it rubbed me the wrong way.

First the “future” that Prenna and the others come from is less than 100 years in the future and yet, somehow, the entire world dissolves. Somehow they’ve developed the technology to send a whole lot of people back in time, but they can’t develop technology to fix what’s gone wrong. I definitely felt like Brashares was trying to say that all technology was bad. She certainly went as far as saying that big companies and corporate America were evil and would be the downfall of the world. She went as far as to say even those who were environmentalists and cared about the environment and who tried to do something to change the future and preserve the world for future generations aren’t doing enough. Basically humans aren’t doing enough.
This is a book with a heavy agenda. What bothered me was that it was such an important topic in the book and yet it was not mentioned in the description. I had no idea what I was getting myself into before reading. Another thing that really bothered me was that for the first chunk of the book anytime the future was mentioned and the destruction that had fallen upon it, global warming wasn’t actually said. Those words weren’t used. I felt like it was trying to be disguised and that really rubbed me the wrong way. I felt like I was being deceived. If you are going to write a book about a topic, especially a politically charged topic, I think it’s important to be upfront about it. Let me know that this is what you are going to talk about otherwise I feel like something shady is going on. This book was basically just a young adult version of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.
The character of Ethan wasn’t developed at all. I understand that I was reading the book through Prenna’s eyes and so I would only get to know what she knows…but surely if she’s been best friends with this kid she would know a little more about him. There are several ways for Brashares to add in information about his past without info dumping. She could have woven something in there.
This leads me to Prenna and her society. Uh…what? There are mentions of characters that are villain like to her. There wasn’t enough on these characters to make them ominous or scary. There wasn’t enough about them to make me feel nervous. Prenna is punished and taken to a secret location…one that Ethan very easily finds, and nothing happens there. She’s dropped there and then rescued and the plot moves on effortlessly as if the whole thing never happened.
There was no urgency in the book. There was a specific date when an event that would change the course of the world forever and what do the characters do? They take a swim, go to dinner, and play some card games. It was painful. The Madonna song, 4 Minutes, kept playing through my head during this. They’ve got about 4 (give or take a day) days to save the entire planet and what do they do? They chillax.
Then their plan to save the woman that they need too is just ridiculous. She obviously knows Ethan, so why not just send Ethan in there? Why not just have Ethan call her and take her out for her birthday? There are endless situations that could have worked better and made more sense than the plan that was ultimately played out.
The only thing that I like about the book now that I am finished with it is the fact that one person can make a difference. Prenna and Ethan have to save one woman from being murdered because if she is then the entire world is going to crash and burn. I liked that. Every person matters.
Overall this book is not one that I would recommend to anyone.


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Top Ten Tuesday (Meme)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It’s a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Hey guys! So I thought I would try something new today. A meme! I’ve only ever done a meme back when the Throwback Thursday ones were around so I’m still pretty new, but this seemed like fun. I especially like this one because it talks about books that got you into reading. I’ve talked before about what a hard time I had when I was younger and trying to learn to read and all of these books helped turn me into a lover of words.

Top Ten “Gateway” Books/Authors In My Reading Journey (so your list could be a mix of a books that got you into reading, an author that got you into reading a genre you never thought you’d read, a book that brought you BACK into read)

1) Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix. I was in the fourth grade when I first found this book. It was part of my classroom’s library and we all had to pick a book for reading time. I was instantly amazed by Luke Garner’s world. Little did I know at the time that it was actually inspired by China’s one child policy. This book is the first in the Shadow Children series and there are quite a few more books in which we get to see what happens in an alternate America where the Population Police run the country and third children can be killed.

2) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling. I put this one in here before the first three because this is the first one that I remember reading. This was the first Harry Potter book that my mother bought me and while I know I’ve read the other ones, I honestly can’t remember in what order I read them. This was the first, and only, book that I ever felt butterflies in my stomach while reading. When Harry is flying on his broom away from the Hungarian Horntail.

3) Da da dada dunnnn dadaDA dadada dada dunnnnn. That’s my lovely signing to Lord of the Rings. (Seriously I fell in love with Howard Shore’s compositions with this movie). I first got interested in the Lord of the Rings in the 5th grade. The movie was about to come out and this boy named Justin was reading the book. He had all three of the books combined in one huge book so I thought he was the smartest and bravest boy ever because he was reading such a big book. Soon after that I got the books from my dad and started reading them. Oh. My. Gosh. Never has a girl loved a fantasy epic like this girl loves Lord of the Rings.

4) The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Lavine. Oh this book. There once was a tale of two sisters. One fearful and shy the other bold and brave. It was the tale of Hannah and Tessa….uh I mean Addie and Meryl. I loved this story, and still continue to love it, because this was one of the first books that I read where there was a “me”. Princess Addie is a shy timid girl who through the story learns to stand on her own two feet and learns to have confidence in herself. Oh and ya know. She finds this amazing guy who loves her for her and knows she can take care of herself.

5) So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane. Why yes. Yes I do. Those were the words running through my head when I saw this book. I don’t remember how old I was, but I instantly fell in love with these books. It’s a mixture of magic and technology. The characters are amazing. They are human, animal, and alien. How could you not love a mix like that? There are several books in the series and they only get better as time goes on!

6) The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. I read this book in the eighth grade and midway through the book I forced my parents to go to the bookstore and buy me a copy so I could read it at home. All the other kids in class thought I was a total nerd for getting my own copy, but it was just so good! To this day it remains the one book that I have read more than all others and that’s saying something because I’ve read HP quite a few times.

7) Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. I read this book when I was in the 5th grade. I don’t think I appreciated it as much then, but it was something that stuck with me so when I got older and I saw it in the store I bought it….and somehow ended up with two copies. This was such an incredible book and is a great way to introduce younger children to the horrors of World War II.

8. Stepping on the Cracks by Mary Downing Hahn. This was another book that I read in the 5th grade. It’s another WWII book, but this time it’s told from the perspective of a girl whose brother has gone away to war. It’s also the story about a deserter. I love reading books that give different perspectives and so this one was a really nice read.

9) Letters from Rifka by Karen Hessee. I LOVE this book! I was in the sixth grade when I read it and I had to do a book report on it and dress up like Rifka. This book taught me, among other things, the value of family.It also has inspired elements of the stories that I write. I’ve also read this book quite a few times. There are so many lessons in this book and Hesse has such a great ability to pull in readers of any age, but especially the target audience. I highly recommend this book.

10) Haunted by Meg Cabot. I asked my mom for another book named Haunted and she came home with this one. I was in 5/6th grade and I blame my age on the fact that I refused to read it for a long time. Once I did though I was hooked. It wasn’t until years later that I found out that it was part of a series and book five! Of course I had to go and buy the others ones and it was such a different experience reading it once I had read the others.

All of these are such incredible books that helped shape and grow my love of reading! I hope you all check them out!

A Tough Day in Blogging

Today I tried something I’ve never done before in my two plus years blogging here. Write a letter to a publisher to inquire about a review copy. This is something that I’ve put off for a long time because I have always felt like I am not worthy enough. My reviews are conversations to my readers. They aren’t cynical or analytical and most of the time they aren’t even critical. When I sit down to write reviews I write them as if I am having a conversation with a good friend about the book I just read.
It took me a long time to be okay with that. If you’ve been a visitor to this blog from the beginning you have seen the struggle. You have seen the various ways that I’ve attempted to write reviews. I try to write like a New York Times book reviewer. Failed. I tried to be fun and include gifs. Kind of failed. The gifs were fun, but put them in a review and it just wasn’t me. So it’s taken me a while to get back to the conversation style reviews I post. Are there better reviews out there? Sure. But there comes a point where I have to say to myself, I really don’t care. It’s a hard struggle. As someone who keeps to myself posting anything online is a risk.
This post may remind you of a post I did a while ago about my struggle with ratings and my overall struggle with always wanting to get everything right. So this idea isn’t something new.

I go to some blogs and they list their stats. I have never ever said anything about my stats online or on this blog because I thought it would be a turn off…because they were so low. At this point in time I feel like it’s affecting me negatively. Not the blog, but me.

I have no followers on the blog. Partly because I don’t know how to set up followers on WordPress.
I have 17 subscribers to my mailchimp for blog tours.
I have 111 followers onFacebook
I have 367 followers on my personal Twitter
I have 235 followers on my blog Twitter
I have 9,475 total views on my site. That’s total. Meaning in the 2.5 years I’ve been blogging it has less than 10k views.
I have 16 comments. Once again that’s total. 2 and a half years and 16 comments.

There are days when I check the stats on my site and I have zero views. Sometimes it’s really disheartening. Then other times I don’t even care. I like talking about books. I love to read and I like having a conversation, even if it’s one sided, about the books that I’ve read. I will be the first to admit that I don’t post all the time. I’ve said several times most of that is due to school, work, and numerous other obligations that I have.
Recently I have realized that part of the reason is that is has been taking me a long time to read book recently. I look back over the ones I’ve read and I realize that I part of the reason is that the books I’ve been getting through Netgalley, while much appreciated, haven’t been books that have interested me once I get reading. I haven’t read any books recently that really excited me. I have had anything that made me long to read it in those moment’s when I couldn’t.
So tonight, when with the help of my friend Marla, I sat down to compose my first ever request to a publisher for a review book and I looked at my stats I felt like a failure. Now I am thinking, Where do I go from here? From here I try to be more selective with the books that I request on Netgalley. Instead of trying for any possible I need to make sure that they are actually ones that will keep me interested. I need to gain more confidence in my rating. The last book I read I gave three stars to even when it deserved two and so I went back and changed it because it bothered me. I try not to care that I don’t get comments or that I don’t get thousands of views on my site a month. I look forward to continuing the conversation, whether it be with silent readers or with myself, about books that I read.
As I continue forward on this adventure I remember all the things I love about blogging. The incredible friends that I’ve made. Sharing my joy and innocent excitement about books. Organizing blog tours. (They are so much fun to plan!) I remember that life isn’t always about who is in the lead, whether it be with views, comments, or number of books read. Instead it’s about asking myself whether or not this is something that I enjoy. The answer is yes. I love doing this. Even when I am in a corner alone and no one is watching me. This is what I enjoy and so I will keep doing it, regardless of how alone I feel sometimes, because I love books and I share my love even if only a few people catch it.