The Here and Now

I feel like dystopia/science fiction/fantasy/supernatural books/TV shows/movies are literally taking over the world, and I really don’t mind it. The Here and Now is the latest from Ann Brashares’ (of Traveling Pants fame), sort of a Young Adult version of The Time Traveler’s Wife (one of my all-time favorites). I couldn’t put it down for two days.

Prenna James has traveled to the year 2010 from the 2090s, when the world is in a state of complete chaos, famine and disease. She and hundreds of others are somehow immune to the insanely contagious blood virus that has wiped out most of the planet, and they figure out a way to travel back in time to when the world was still sort-of OK. They spread out in suburban areas around New York City but maintain their secret society in an almost religious capacity — they are supposed to assimilate to modern culture and fit in with “time natives” but not have relationships with them, they are not allowed to be treated by any medical professionals outside their community and they are prohibited from discussing their past (which is really the future) with anyone. These rules are hard for Prenna to follow, though, as she is desperate to talk about her experiences and is also consumed by love for Ethan Jarvey, a time native.

But Ethan isn’t your average time native, naturalment. He actually witnessed Prenna enter the 2010 world when he was out fishing, and has been haunted by her ever since. He also has a strange homeless friend who turns out to be **SPOILER ALERT** Prenna’s father, who stayed in the bad future world a little longer and then came back to warn Prenna about an event that could save the fate of the world if she can prevent it from occurring. Prenna and Ethan cleverly escape the tight jaws of the community in order to research and prevent this event (a murder, actually), and it is all very exciting and suspenseful and awesome.

This excellent novel, which I highly recommend, brought up what time travel always brings up for me (I think about it a lot): The implication that all of history is always happening all the time over and over again, so that if we time travel and pop back into a selected year the same things will be happening, except that your very presence there is altering what is happening therefore already altering the future from which you just came. Total mind f*ck, right?!

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