The Here and Now

9780385736800_p0_v2_s260x420I’ve been a fan of Anne Brashares fan for a few years.  Her latest book is a lot a different from some of her other work – notably The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I loved Sisterhood – both the books and the movie. Even though written for a much younger audience, there was something about the 4 young girls that I really connected with. I too had 3 best friends growing up, 3 girls who are still my best friends (though we definitely wouldn’t all fit into the same pair of vintage jeans). Her latest The Here and Now book is a departure from the Sisterhood series, though still in the YA category.

This is like The Hunger Games, and other YA books/series in the dystopian genre – with the added element of time travel. A group of survivors from the future figure out their only survival will be to  travel back in time and start over again.  I love the concept, but it was a little too familiar.  Even the main character’s first name is a little Hunger Games-ish, Prenna. I did enjoy enjoy the book, and of course love The Hunger Games, but I guess I expected something more from Brashares – who has written several great gooks, and has a big enough fan base that I didn’t expect this from her.

It may be because of the environment, and global warming, but there is a blood plague in the future (think about 80 – 90 years from now), that devastates the population. This future generation blames us, our generation, for the state of the environment, and the failed attempts of politicians who tried to enact environmental policy. In order to survive, as there seems to be not much left in the future, those who survive the blood plague are forced to travel back in time.   In 2050 food shortages began, the blood plagues began in 2060.  By the time Prenna and her parents travel back, she has lost both of her younger brothers, and many other family members and friends.

Prenna is one member of the group that has traveled back – though why she is chosen, I’m not sure. Their true identities are secret, as no one living in the present day has any idea that there is a large population of futureites. There are leaders in the group who have developed a program to keep them secret and to hide them among the regular population.  She goes against the program, potentially risking exposure, in order to change something. She tries to save a scientist who had been murdered, before her death she had been working on a clean energy program.  Could the future’s problems be traced to (or prevented by) one individual?  That’s one of the more interesting parts of the book – a good question to ask about time travel.

This solution to the future’s problems seems too simple. To be honest, there aren’t that many complexities to the story. I did enjoy reading it, I just don’t think it was Miss Brashares’s best work.  I’ll bee looking forward to her next book, and hoping that she sticks with something more familiar.

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