Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Delacorte Press, 2014

It started with a fishing trip and a ripple in the air….

Prenna was one of the lucky ones.  She was able to escape the blood plague, but not without its consequences on her family.  But now, she lives comfortably, still amazed at how much life has changed.  Although she still has a habit of swatting mosquitoes that spread the virus, it hasn’t happened yet.  She now lives in the time before the destruction of the planet that occurs in the 2070s. 
Although Prenna should be content with life in a virus-free world, she still holds the flame of challenge against the community, wanting questions answered she knows won’t happen.  There are rules the committee enforces on the members ( never reveal to anyone who you are or where you come from; never be intimate with anyone outside of their community to name a few) and seeing Mr. Roberts for sessions when she goes too close to the line of disobedience.  She also knows stories of people who have defied the community’s rules – and have now disappeared.  Soon, Prenna begins experiencing flashbacks and sees objects and places that are familiar to her from her previous life time, which makes her even more curious.  There weren’t supposed to be any….

Ethan remembers the girl at the river.  He saw the ripple in the air around her and knew she was different.  Now, a few years later, they’ve gone from strangers to friends with Ethan remembering every little event and Prenna not remembering any of it.  He decides it’s best to leave well enough alone as he tries hard to not cross the line between friendship and relationship.  Although he’s known her for awhile, she still has a mysteriousness to her he can’t quite figure out. But Ethan holds other secrets from Prenna, which will change their relationship and who they are. 

Then the elusive homeless man appears in their lives, telling Prenna things about the her past and future she can’t ignore as mere coincidence.  All it takes is one providential meeting and both she and Ethan are propelled into a new reality of trying to save the world instead of just living in it.  But it also means sacrifice in so many ways, and those are the things that will hurt both of them the most.

Ann Brashares writes a riveting novel about time travel that will pull readers along with the characters and plot.  The separate timelines of the main character are written seamlessly, making the situation more believable and the future bleaker with every page turned.  Although the beginning took off a little slow for myself, the interactions between characters as well as the unraveling of the plot steadily developed into a novel I had to know the end to.  And Brashares doesn’t disappoint.  If you have fans of science fiction and time travel, recommend this to them. 

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