Monday, April 14, 2014

The Here and Now

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.

Beth says 4 Stars...
I was a bit apprehensive about this book, because I'd read some of Ann Brashares books before and they weren't quite my cup of tea.  However, the set-up for this one made me want it in the worst way.  Time travel, pandemics, and attempts to save the human race!  Count me in.  The vision of the future that Brashares presented was chilling in its basis on current events.  Imagine what might happen if the whole world becomes tropical, resource scarcity is major problem, and insect vectors never die.  I will say that the plot got a bit confusing at times, but it moved really quickly.  The book is fairly short, which means that there's not a lot of filler meant to boost word count.  Everything is meant to propel the story forward in some way.  I found the structure of the 'immigrant' community particularly interesting.  I have a thing for totalitarian type societies and how they're interpreted in different contexts.  The formation of such a distinct subculture focused on secrecy and blending in added another dimension to the story.  Sometimes the trajectory of the story was a bit difficult to follow and the different threads took a while to converge.  However, the book was short enough that the confusion couldn't last too long.

I really liked Prenna.  She wasn't the bravest or most ferocious, but she had a determination to do what was best and help as many people as possible.  I also enjoyed that her strength was in her intelligence and not something physical.  The glimpses we gained into her past/our future were absolutely fascinating and I really wanted more of them.  I found Ethan to be well-developed and a nice counterpoint to a lot of the current leading men.  Again, he was smart, determined, and just generally likable.  Occasionally it's nice to read about a character without a tortured past.  The supporting characters have enough of a backstory to add complexity to the story, but the book really centers on Prenna and Ethan.

Overall, this is a quick and fun time travel book.  I have no idea if this will be a series, but I hope so.  I have so many questions that I want answers to!  Pick this up if you want a fun time travel book that might just make you think about humanity's current path.

ebook from Publisher


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