The Here and Now
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Here and Now by Ann Barshares (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) is a science-fiction novel that blends the catastrophic effects of climate change with time travel (from the 2090s to 2010), adventure, and teen romance. It includes some violence, including an implication that time travelers who speak out against their community are kidnapped or murdered. Main character Prenna is imprisoned in a rural farmhouse; a man is murdered and his daughter gets covered in blood while he's dying. Prenna has seen death in her own time (the 2090s), including the death of her younger brothers from a blood plague. Prenna and love interest Ethan try to stop a murder of a woman, but she gets shot anyway; Ethan shoots the murderer in the leg to detain him. There's some kissing. Ethan and Prenna spend the night together, cuddling, and Ethan reaches under her shirt. They plan to have sex, but Prenna cancels after learning about a man who spread a plague by having sex with time natives. Some instances of strong language ("ass, "bastard," "hell," "s--t"). Overall, it's a provocative story that could lead to discussions about time travel, destiny, and global warming.
What's the story?
Prenna is from a bleak future world where blood plagues are decimating the population; her two younger brothers are among the casualties. With her mom, she travels from the 2090s back to 2010, where she and her community of travelers live with strict rules ("We must uphold absolute allegiance to the community, to its survival and its safety, and accept the guidance of our leaders and counselors without question or discussion"). But when a homeless man tells her that she must stop "a single act, a murder, that will change the course of history," she and smart "time native" Ethan suddenly find themselves on an adventure that will have her breaking all the community's rules, including never to "develop a physically or emotionally intimate relationship with any person outside of the community."
Is it any good?
THE HERE AND NOW is a book of speculative fiction that certainly will get readers thinking. By setting Prenna's horrible world not too far in the future, author Ann Brashares brings attention to the global-warming crisis, making readers wonder if we're doing enough to prevent the devastating problems the protagonist experiences. Also, readers might be impressed by the technologically advanced world Prenna describes (although she says most of the cool technologies "weren't working so well by the time I was born"): She's used a small device that can record everything that happens to you and let people "retrace any part of our life you want" -- and help solve crimes.
The book moves quickly, with big ideas about time travel, technology, and more, but there's also plenty of romance and adventure as Ethan and Prenna fall in love while trying to save the world. But it's really the bigger questions that Brashares raises -- such as, what happens when "other people besides you have access to your life" through your recorded memories? -- that could lead to some fun conversations or at least some good soul searching.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about time travel. Do you think it will ever be possible?
Is the future written in stone, or are many paths possible?
What do you think about Prenna's belief that "nobody does the hard things" to reverse global warming? Do you agree?
|Topics:||High school, Misfits and underdogs, Science and nature|
|Publication date:||April 8, 2014|
|Number of pages:||242|
|Publisher's recommended age(s):||12 - 18|
|Available on:||Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle|