The Here and Now by Ann Brashares
|May 6, 2014||Posted by Christa McGrath under Drama, Fiction, Science Fiction, Young Adult, Young Readers|
The concept of time travel may not be a new one, but it is a fascinating one. Imagine having the opportunity to meet ancestors from the past or travelling to the future to meet yet-to-be-born relatives.
Brashares’ The Here and Now is about time travel. Twelve-year-old Prenna James and others from her time are able to escape the future where mosquito-borne illnesses are ravishing her homeland and killing millions of people. She had already lost two brothers to this deadly virus. Prenna and her mother along with many others are able to go back to the past (some eighty years earlier). Her father does not make the journey (supposedly). They try to infiltrate themselves into an ordinary life, settling into homes and schools and workplaces. They are ordered to follow a strict set of rules by their “Community” because their “past” must never be discovered. Ever. The consequences could be disastrous.
But things don’t go as planned. When Prenna is 17, she becomes interested in a school mate named Ethan Jarvis and is friendly with a homeless man. These relationships are not condoned by the “the Community”, especially when it leads to Prenna questioning their so-called “norm”. Additionally, she is faced with the task of stopping a murder that could prevent the catastrophic spiral that possibly lead to their desolate future some 80 years later. Prenna finds herself in a tug of war between her fear of her “Community” and need to obey the rules and her newfound love and need to discover the truth.
The characters are well developed and perhaps even believable given the topic of the book. Prenna is a teenage girl who makes mistakes and, dare I even say it, stupid decisions. As frustrating as it is to read some of it, these decisions are entirely possible given her age and position. Ethan seems like a typical teenage boy – one who is smart and charming and a little naïve. The fact that he so readily accepts that Prenna is from the future is a bit of a fetch though. I would think most people would be a little freaked out by that. But I digress. The story also follows the budding romantic relationship between Prenna and Ethan, but I was not really drawn into this part of the story. I was drawn into the time travel piece (even though it is impossible, it is still a compelling idea), Prenna and Ethan’s race to stop a murder, and the global warming effects that were weaved into the plot. This may be a fictional story, but I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of future there may be based on today’s overuse of resources. Is it possible that our greed and selfishness can lead to such a catastrophic world of the future? It’s a very disturbing thought.
The Here and Now is targeted towards a young teenage audience. I think the majority (particularly females) will enjoy all that this book has to offer. It has a healthy mix of suspense, drama, romance, and sci-fi for that age group. It’s like a temporary escape into a different world that explores time travel, global warming, and forbidden romance. Plus it is a well written, entertaining, and easy read that can be finished in just one or two sittings. I give it 3.5 stars.
To learn more about The Here and Now, click here!