The Here and Now
Author: Ann Brashares
Published: April 8, 2014 by Delacorte Press
Summary: An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world… if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.
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.
Review: I particularly loved the first half of this book. While time travel is at the heart of this text, I think it would be a great book to give to readers who love dystopian fiction. Prenna’s memory of her futuristic world was fascinating to me. At times, I found Brashares to be a bit didactic, but overall, the book is very well-written and will entice readers from the first page. I always enjoy reading books about time travel because my mind spins as I try to grapple with the paradox time travel provides. If we change the past, will we exist in the future? And how can this work, if we are living in this previous time? Ah! My brain hurts. I enjoyed this book because it made me think.
Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: Similar to my review of All Our Yesterdays, I think students would have a lot of fun selecting a time period to travel to, and perhaps, picking one event in history they would change and how it might impact the future. This could develop into a research project, and I can imagine there would be fantastic interdisciplinary connections with the subject of history. Alternatively (or additionally), teachers could link this text with the subject of science–where students research ways we are destroying our planet.
Discussion Questions: How are we destroying our planet? Do you think Ann Brashares’ prediction of the future is accurate? What is Brashares’ tone in this text?; If you could travel in time, what is one event in history that you would change and why? How might it change events in the future?
We Flagged: “People here act like the great things have already been lost, but they are wrong. They have so much still to lose” (Chapter Three).
“I guess memory is a deep well, and you don’t know what’s down there until you lower the bucket and start hauling it up” (Chapter Fifteen).
Please note: The above quotes are from the advanced reader copy. The quotes may have changed with publication.
Read This If You Loved: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, The Giver by Lois Lowry, Legend by Marie Lu, Divergent by Veronica Roth