Wednesday 28 January 2015

THE HERE AND NOW by Ann Brashares

Seventeen-year-old Prenna James emigrated to New York when she was twelve. But 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 and take the lives of her younger brothers. But everything changes when she falls for Ethan.

She might be able to save the world ... if she lets go of the one thing she's found to hold on to.

I was looking forward to reading this book. The premise sounded interesting and the cover is gorgeous. So, I was glad that I was engrossed from the beginning.
Prenna James is an immigrant. Not from another country, or even another planet. She's emigrated from the future. She lives in a world that is in ruins. The world has been ravaged by the selfish, greedy ways of humans, and a blood plague carried by mosquitos does the rest of the devastation. She's young, but she's lost a lot, and now lives with her mother within a tight-knit community of fellow travellers.
They arrived in 2010 and are here to make a change, to ensure that the future doesn't end up the same as the place they escaped. There are strict rules they need to adhere to, and one of those is to never get intimate--physically or emotionally--with one of the time natives. As much as she tries, Prenna does her best to not get involved, but Ethan is hard to ignore. He's nice, funny, persistent, and seems to know a lot more about her than other natives.
When Prenna realises that all the rules she's been trying to stick to are more about control and surveillance than to help create a better future, she's upset and angry. But when a familiar face from her life makes her see things the way they really are, she finds herself in the middle of a race against the clock. With Ethan's help, she has to stop the murder of someone pivotal to saving the future. By doing this, she ends up breaking all the rules. And it feels amazing.
Spending time with Ethan, as they try to solve the mystery, makes all of her defences shatter until she can't deny how she really feels. Until she trusts him with a lot of secrets about the life she left behind and slowly starts to fall for him. But theirs is a forbidden love, because if they let themselves get too close they might just destroy everything. Not just each other.
This was a great book! It's a time travel/futuristic book with a twist of thriller, and a nice sprinkle of romance. But at its core I also saw it as a wake-up call to our world. Sure, the story might be fiction but with everything that's changing in our world and the amount of people in power who push their denial because of greed, it's not so far off. There's a particular conversation that goes on between Prenna and Ethan that really touched a nerve. She mentions how surprised she was to find that people in our time already know so much about climate change and what it can do, but no one does anything about it. And it's so true.
I love that such a lovely story also got me thinking about real life issues we face today, and so many conveniently ignore.
The Here and Now is a beautiful, unique and intriguing story seen through the eyes of a determined teenager who tries hard not to break the rules, but at the same time just can't seem to stop herself. Prenna is a wonderful and strong heroine that does everything within her power to help make a change to the world's future. It's also a forbidden love story that tears at your heartstrings.
I really enjoyed this book!

The Here and Now, January 2015, ISBN 9781444921922, Hodder Children's Books

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