From the Publisher
"[A]n appealing romantic thriller, ‘The Here and Now’ also serves as a potent reminder that we inherit the future we buy with our actions today.”
- Cassandra Clare for The New York Times Book Review
“From the author who brought us The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants come the gripping page-turner about a girl who’s willing to risk it all for love and the fate of the world.”
- Teen Vogue
“Best known for her Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books, Brashares forays into science fiction in this fast-paced, gripping, and romantic novel about a girl from a future that seems eerily possible. . . her fans will be happy to find that her prose is as resonant and realistic as ever.”
- Publishers Weekly
“Brashares . . . builds on her adroit adolescent characterization and ear for teen dialogue and transports them into an exciting time-travel adventure complete with murderers to thwart and mysteries to solve.”
"Skillfully weaving together time travel, planetary devastation, climate change, plague and young love, the author creates an engaging, adventurous tale."
"Brashares' era-hopping race against time is fast paced and heady...perfect for fans of Brasahres' earlier work, as well as Veronica Roth's Divergent."
- RT Book Reviews
"Fantasy and science fiction fans will enjoy the intricate cause-and-effect Brashares defines in her story. Filled with suspense and spiced with romance, the story will satisfy any reader who appreciates a well told story. [Brashares] is at the top of her game."
The New York Times Book Review - Cassandra Clare
Contemporary dystopian fiction often forsakes larger issues for an intense focus on individuals, and that's true here. The science behind climate change, sexually-transmitted microbes and environmental disaster is skimmed over, but the narrative's strength remains in the small, observed details of the everyday…While primarily an appealing romantic thriller, The Here and Now also serves as a potent reminder that we inherit the future we buy with our actions today.
Best known for her Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books, Brashares forays into science fiction in this fast-paced, gripping, and romantic novel about a girl from a future that seems eerily possible. Seventeen-year-old Prenna James is from the year 2098, but she, her mother, and nearly 1000 other Travelers have fled an Earth devastated by climate change and plague, and are now living in 2014. The Travelers are a tight-knit and secretive community, and their 12 cardinal rules forbid everything from seeking outside medical care to interfering in the “natural sequence” of time or engaging in “intimate” relationships with outsiders. Prenna has long had a crush on her classmate Ethan, but she has always followed the rules until a mysterious homeless man upends Prenna and Ethan’s lives, and she begins to question her community’s dictates and intentions. Brashares focuses on Prenna and Ethan’s burgeoning romance, rather than the nitty-gritty details of her time-travel premise, and her fans will be happy to find that her prose is as resonant and realistic as ever. An Alloy Entertainment property. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, William Morris Endeavor. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Kim Dare
Thirteen-year-old Ethan Jarves witnesses an arrival. There is a strange shimmering in the air, and then suddenly a girl appears where there was not one before. The girl is Prenna James, and she and hundreds in her community have traveled through timefrom the 2090s to 2010hoping to divert a blood plague that threatens to wipe out the human race. As the group attempts to assimilate into the earlier twenty-first century, they must follow a set of firm rules: they must accept the guidance of their leaders and counselors, they may not interfere with the natural sequence of events and time, and under no circumstances may they develop a close relationship with a “time native.” But Prenna ends up at Ethan’s high school a couple of years later, and the two form a friendship that continues to grow in spite of the disapproval of her community. Now a junior, Prenna’s life consists of straddling the line between her authoritarian leaders and the looser norms of her high school peers. Everything changes when she meets a homeless man who tells her that a murder will occur on May 17 that will alter the course of history, unless she acts to stop it. He gives her a key to a storage facility, the contents of which make it clear that he is also from the future. When Prenna tries to tell her mother what she has discovered, her trusted leaders take her captive. Ethan helps her escape, and the two teens are quickly swept up in a high-stakes chase to see if they can prevent the murder. Although the story starts off slow, it quickly picks up steam, and the second half is a blur of action and excitement. This is a satisfying mix of science fiction and romance. Reviewer: Kim Dare; Ages 14 up.
VOYA, August 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 3) - Anna Foote
Prenna emigrated to New York when she was twelvenot from another country, but from the future. She and a few others have come back in time to try to save society from a desperate future plagued by disease and economic ruin, but they must be careful to follow their leaders’ rules, which include never telling their true origins or becoming intimate with any “time natives.” Prenna finds the rules easy enough to follow, until she meets Ethan, an attractiveand very contemporaryclassmate. The rules become even more difficult for her when a strange old man tells her she needs to prevent a murder on May 17, 2014. If allowed to occur, the murder is the single event that will spin the world toward the bleak future her group has escaped. Prenna knows that she will need help to foil the murder, but can she trust Ethan with the truth? At its core, The Here And Now is a love story, but it falls a little flat. The main characters are not especially interesting or well developed. Prenna could be any girl (but one from the future) and Ethan, any boy (but one who is reckless in love). In terms of romance, the ending is less than satisfying, but Brashares does seem to set readers up for a sequel. Criticisms aside, this book will appeal to science fiction readers who like romance. Reviewer: Anna Foote; Ages 11 to 15.
Prenna James has traveled to the present from a future plague-riddled Earth on the verge of collapse. She and her community have made the trip ostensibly to prevent this catastrophe, although their rigid rules restricting altering the present and oppressive leadership make that nearly impossible. When Prenna gets close to "time native" Ethan Jarves, their relationship both threatens the community and generates the only hope for Earth's survival. Like the girls in Brashares's "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" series, Prenna is smart, self-deprecating, and believably mesmerized by a first love characterized by mutual respect and intimacy. The less detailed female friendship subplot, though, is all the more disappointing in light of the author's gifts in capturing young women's emotional lives. In terms of sf, Brashares crafts a plausible future and satisfyingly metes out time-travel plotting. Much of the science is foggy, though, and the exposition-heavy denouement feels rushed. VERDICT The author's younger fans will enjoy the relationship between Prenna and Ethan, and adult fans will appreciate the moral gray areas complicating their lives. It would be a solid introduction to sf for YA and adult readers curious about the genre. For a more sophisticated look at postapocalyptic fiction, readers should turn to Peter Heller's The Dog Stars or Brian K. Vaughan's Y: The Last Man.—Nicole R. Steeves, Chicago P.L.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Prenna's life is shrouded in secrecy and intimidation. She's part of a select group of people who not only survived the Blood Plagues but also immigrated to present-day New York from more than 80 years in the future. Bound by rules that force her to sacrifice her personal freedoms and isolate herself from the local community, also known as Time Natives, Prenna can't help developing a close, yet guarded friendship with a classmate, Ethan Jarves. Both high schoolers are gifted science students who have more than a friendly, academic attraction, but physical contact with Ethan could endanger him as well as Prenna and the other Travelers. When a local indigent man, who mysteriously knows about the Travelers' origins, prophesizes a time fork on May 17, Ethan and Prenna are launched into a plan to stop a murder that could save the future of mankind. The story moves along at a compelling pace with enough foreshadowing and plot twists to keep the pages turning. The sense of adventure as the teens escape Prenna's corrupt leaders and fight off a murderer is stronger than the romance between the two. Older teens may enjoy the more palpable romance in Brashares's book for adults, My Name Is Memory (Riverhead, 2010), in which a love story transcends time. The Here and Now has a satisfying ending that only slightly hints at what would be a welcome sequel.—Lynn Rashid, Marriotts Ridge High School, Marriottsville, MD
In a stark departure, Brashares, of Traveling Pants fame, returns with a lightning-paced sci-fi time-travel romp that, much like a cinematic blockbuster, offers intrigue, romance and a healthy dose of implausibility. After blood plague ravages her world, Prenna James emigrates with a group of refugees, known as travelers. However, it's not where she ends up, it's when. Her community tries to assimilate into a society decades in the past, with stringent rules about how they must conduct themselves in the time natives' society. Predictably, Prenna falls in love with Ethan, a handsome time native—one of the gravest offenses a traveler might commit—and quickly learns that her tightly knit authoritarian community may indeed be harboring secrets. Brashares' worldbuilding is solid, and she handles the time-travel elements with a fluid, cinematic ease. Unfortunately, she relies too much on dei ex machina to propel Ethan and Prenna forward. Cars, money and opportunity pop up with uncannily good timing and convenience, helping the time-crossed lovers right the wrongs of the past. Those willing to overlook such shortcuts will surely be swept into the whirlwind romance and breathlessly turn pages to discover if there truly is a possibility for a better future. This quirky tale of love and time travel demands that readers totally suspend disbelief to enjoy some of the more contrived plot elements. (Science fiction. 13-16)