YA Sci-fi and dystopian readers rejoice! The Here and Now by Anne Brashares is a pulse pounding time traveling adventure filled with intrigue, government corruption, and forbidden love. A strong female protagonist, detailed world building, and unique plot set this book apart from the crowd.
Even though seventeen year old Prenna James has been living in New York for five years, she still has had difficulty fitting in and leading a normal life. This is because Prenna is a time traveler from 2098. The future is filled with deadly diseases that have wiped out millions of people all stemming from a mosquito bite. In order to discover the cause of the disease and change the future, a small group of time travelers have made the trip to the present. They live in a monitored and rigid community where they must adhere to twelve rules that are supposed to prevent cataclysmic effects to the future. The most important rule to follow forbids community members to have any physical or emotionally intimate relationships with anyone outside the community. When Prenna meets Ethan (cute and charming boy at school), all the rules go out the window. With the fate of the world at stake, Prenna must decide if the one thing she has always wanted is worth giving up.
My Thoughts: Not a Fan of Sci-Fi? Neither am I!
I believe I have stated this in a previous review, but I do not like science fiction. However, I do like dystopian and this novel blends the two perfectly. I love that this novel crosses genre boundaries and appeals to a larger audience by not going heavy on sci-fi elements. The romance between Prenna and Ethan is slow at first then becomes a whirlwind. Their relationship is the guts of this novel allowing readers to go beyond the sci-fi genre and just enjoy the story. Prenna never experienced normal teenage dating due to the horrible future she had to live through. The normal experiences like going on dates to the beach, sneaking booze with a fake id, and dealing with the jitters of having sex for the first time are nothing that Prenna has ever experienced. I found these normal moments to be critical in explaining that Prenna may be trying to save the world, but she is still a teenager going through physical and emotional changes just like any teen. These brief moments allow the reader a break from the foreboding mission and see Prenna finally finding herself. She’s got a lot on her plate for a seventeen year old and I admire her journey from obedient suppressed drone to independent confident leader. I loved the moments when Prenna stands up for herself and completely unleashes on her oppressors. I highly recommend this book if you like romance, sci-fi, dystopian, strong female leads, and time travel.