Prenna and a group of people have come from the future, back to our present day, presumably to fix the problems that have led to horrible blood plagues in the future that have devastated the population.
They have strict rules of "non-interference" of course, but some of the other rules are stifling. They are not allowed to talk about where they came from or anything about their past -- even to each other. They have "counselors" to make sure they follow the rules. And, it seems that those who violate the rules end up either disappearing or dead.
Ethan is attracted to Prenna. She does her best to stay away from him, but he's so nice it's impossible. What Prenna doesn't remember is that Ethan was there four years ago when Prenna first appeared in this time.
Prenna begins to suspect that the leaders of her group from the past aren't really doing much about changing what's happening. "Some events occur" (no spoilers) and Prenna and Ethan end up running away, trying change the present to save Prenna's people in the future. It was exciting the way it all played out, and the pacing really moved.
The characters were likable, and the romance was well-played. I didn't really feel desperation for them, but I was definitely interested in the outcome. The ending was pretty sad in some ways, but realistic.
I'm not a big "quote-er," but I thought this was an interesting message for us readers:
"For now people are thrilled about everything digital, endless data farms, your own piece of the cloud and all that. Nobody has much respect for paper at the moment, but I think the excitement kind of dies down after a while," I tell him. "As time goes on I think people, definitely my father, come back around to respect the power of actual things you can actually touch." (note: this is from the ARC and may change in the final copy.)
There are other subtle messages in The Here and Now, such as the impact of climate change and the dangers of ignoring the problem. But Brashares doesn't hit you over the head with it.
While The Here and Now didn't blow me away like The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants did (nothing could), I really enjoyed my time reading it and I'll recommend it to my teens who like a time travel/forbidden romance story.
AND: Just a bit of "personal trivia." The Here and Now is the 200th book I've read on my Kindle. I always put books in a folder called "read" after I'm finished, and I've reached 200!!
Published by Delacorte Press, April 8. 2014
eARC obtained from NetGalley
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