Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Here and Now

Title:  The Here and Now
Author:  Ann Brashares
Publication Information:  Delacorte Press. 2014. 256 pages.
ISBN:  0385736800 / 978-0385736800

Book Source:  I received this book as a publisher's galley through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Quote:  "The truth is strong. Unlike a lie, it gets stronger over time, and it has the power to draw disparate feelings and ideas together in a way that a lie never can."

Prenna James immigrated to the New York / New Jersey area when she was twelve. She came with her mother. They came with a group of people to escape the disasters and troubles of their own home. The came in search of a better life.

The big difference is that Prenna and those like her do not come from another city or even another country. They come from another time, far in the future. Their world is being ravaged by a plauge, and they have escaped. They live as a community in the New York / New Jersey area with strict rules to keep their identity secret and, most of all, to not get involved.

Prenna has difficulties following these rules, particularly when she meets Ethan Jarves, a young man from the current time but someone who seems to know more. She begins to question the rules and the role her community has chosen to play in the current times. She runs afoul of the community leaders and others who would see their identity and motives kept secret.

This book is a story about a teenager with the typical teen concerns about fitting in, belonging, making friends, and starting to understand their growing emotions and their growing need for independence. The elements of friendship and romance enter the picture.

This book is also a science fiction thriller with time travel, plagues, good guys and bad guys. As such, it takes the reader on an adventure.

This book is a story, but it is also a commentary on today's society and lifestyle. Statements such as the following make clear the lesson of the book:
  • "We also wreck the planet for our own habitation and the mosquito will win. Unless we succeed in changing course, it will win."
  • "It's just normal here to have all this extra stuff around that you DO NOT EVEN NEED."
  • "People here act like the great things have already been lost, but they are wrong. They have so much still to lose."
Mind you, the book has holes and logic gaps:
  • If a society was going to send people back in time to attempt to salvage the future, would you send families or the best of your scientists and leaders?
  • How did Prenna's mother so easily accept the fact that her husband chose not to come with them?
  • If Prenna qualified for this immigration based on her high IQ, why did she accept what the leadership told her for such a long time? How did she not figure out their surveillance policies?
  • How is the character of Ethan the composite of all the skills necessary at all the right times?
The quick plot line and the writing makes up for the logic gaps. The book does not necessarily end on a cliffhanger, but the possibility of a sequel (possibly a series?) very clearly exists.  Suspend disbelief and go along for what is a fun read.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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