The Here and Now
By Ann Brashares
YA science fiction
Preena really isn't like most of the other kids in school. Really. She is from the future.
Ethan has something that sets him apart as well. Four years ago, he saw Preena arrive.
She is one of a group of time travelers from the future. Plague has decimated humankind and climate change is ending life on the planet. The time travelers came back to our time because their families wanted them to be saved.
Preena and Ethan are the kind of couple destined -- normally -- to have a romantic comedy after meeting cute. They pair up well and Brashares conveys fresh, light-hearted like-into-love very well. But the pair are soon drawn into an attempt to set things on a different course in time, so the future Preena knows doesn't happen. A mysterious homeless man appears to know more than a crazy old street man should know about Preena and the others like her.
From there until the story's end, The Here and Now weaves together the personal and world conflicts in stunning fashion. The ups and downs that face Preena and Ethan as they race to prevent a cataclysmic event that set the future into motion may affect the possiblity that they have a future together, or not, as well as the future of humanity.
Before the heartfelt conclusion -- an "oh, wow!" ending if ever there was one -- Brashares adds another mindful layer to the novel. What is a solution to some characters is a tragic new problem to others. Even if a reader takes sides, it's still worthwhile to be able to see another perspective.
This is a tremendously thoughtful novel with engaging characters. The biggest fans of Brashares's popular Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and those coming to her writing for the first time will all be glad they have read The Here and Now.
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