Friday, June 27, 2014

THE HERE AND NOW is a Hopeful, Sci-Fi Adventure from Ann Brashares

If you're like me, your mind will probably immediately go to SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS when you hear the name Ann Brashares. My interest piqued when I heard about a different kind of traveling. Time traveling. Yep, this is quite the departure from SISTERHOOD.

Here is your quickie synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Prenna, an immigrant who moved to New York when she was twelve, came from another time and she and the other travelers must follow strict rules to avoid destroying the new life they have worked so hard to get, as well as the one person Prenna is desperate to protect.

Prenna traveled to 2010 from about 60 years in the future where the world was (is/will be) crashing down around her from a blood plague. Literally everyone is dying. The world is hot and wet, and the mosquito are feasting. Prenna and this group have traveled back in time to before this destruction to escape. They live by strict rules like: you can't interfere with the sequence of time, you must avoid inclusion in the historical record, and above all - no getting emotionally or physically intimate with a "time native."

So, my first thought was, if they escaped to this earlier time, how could they resist attempting to change this awful future? But they have a strict rule against it. Puzzling right? And why would they only take this small group of people? Questions, so many questions.

Back to Prenna. She has a friendship with this boy, Ethan, and would love to get closer to him, but she has to hide so much from time natives that it strains their relationship. After meeting this strange, but oddly familiar homeless man, Ethan and Prenna begin on an investigative journey that throws them much closer together, despite the "rules" of her community.

I enjoyed this book. Not only did I enjoy the thinking about the time path and possible forks in the road. But there were some sections about memory that I loved. The community gave the people fictional histories as their new lives, so they could fit in with the new time period. In the begining, Prenna is remembering the people who died in the future, including loved ones. People in her community talk, but they don't really communicate.
Sometimes I only hear what we don't say. I only think the things I shouldn't think and I remember what I should forget. I hear the ghosts in the room, all the people we lost in our old life who are crying out to be remembered. But we never do remember them. The whispers of things we feel and don't say - I hear them too.
It made me really sad. If you no longer speak of these people, are they erased completely? Anyway, that was just one section that really spoke to me.

Here is a book trailer, of sorts. It doesn't say much about the book itself, but with SNLer Ana Gasteyer as the host, it's worth watching.