The Here and Now

Ann Brashares, author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, tackles YA science fiction with The Here and Now, the story of time-traveling Prenna and her struggles to do what’s right for the world.

I was strongly reminded of Rogue Touch, last summer’s superhero novel tie-in, with the romance between Prenna, girl from the future, and modern-day Ethan as they try to save the future world.

The book is on the short side, under 200 pages, and a bit sketchy at times, with more suggested than portrayed. Prenna’s future, we’re told, is horrible, due to a lack of resources and a blood-borne plague, but we don’t really get pictures of what it was like to live there, day to day. That makes the plot, about whether changing the future is possible, a bit difficult to get our hands around, particularly in the latter third, when multiple alternate timelines are suggested.

However, many teen readers will relate to the idea of a restricted life. Prenna, as part of a group of travelers who came back in time to escape their dying world, lives under a series of rules that are strongly enforced by the adults around her. The most important to her is the one that states “We must never, under any circumstances, develop a physically or emotionally intimate relationship with any person outside the Community.” Of course, she’s going to fall in love, calling the assumptions of her existence so far into question, and threatening the conspiracy that aims to control her. He’s too perfect, but I liked the character of Ethan, the smart, sensitive, patient, caring boyfriend. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)

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