One of the great joys of reading is to discover a surprisingly good book when one wasn't sure what to expect.
That was the case when I read the new YA release by Ann Brashares. Best known for the series about the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, she now has a new novel out, The Here and Now, about a dystopian future that was more than one note.
Preena really isn't like most of the other kids in school. Really. She is from the future.
Ethan has something that sets him apart as well. Four years ago, he saw Preena arrive.
She is one of a group of time travelers from the future. Plague has decimated humankind and climate change is ending life on the planet. The time travelers came back to our time because their families wanted them to be saved.
Preena and Ethan are the kind of couple destined -- normally -- to have a romantic comedy after meeting cute. They pair up well and Brashares conveys fresh, light-hearted like-into-love very well. But the pair are soon drawn into an attempt to set things on a different course in time, so the future Preena knows doesn't happen. A mysterious homeless man appears to know more than a crazy old street man should know about Preena and the others like her.
From there until the story's end, The Here and Now weaves together the personal and world conflicts very, very well. The ups and downs that Preena and Ethan encounter as they race to prevent a cataclysmic event that set the future into motion may affect the possiblity that they have a future together, or not, as well as the future of humanity.
Before the heartfelt conclusion -- an "oh, wow!" ending if ever there was one -- Brashares adds another mindful layer to the novel. What is a solution to some characters is a tragic new problem to others. Even if a reader takes sides -- and as someone who sees corporate interests do their best to destroy the planet daily, it's hard to not take sides, it's still worthwhile to be able to see another perspective.
It also was refreshing to continue reading after a beginning in which the way that the elders controlling the group from the future was downplayed after the situation was set up. We've seen that with The Hunger Games and so many other dystopian novels. It's depressing and it's meant to be, but, really, YA authors, don't you have more to say? Brashares did, and that made her novel far more interesting than so many others.
Readers & Book Lovers Series Schedule:
|DAY||TIME (EST/EDT)||Series Name||Editor(s)|
|SUN||6:00 PM||Young Reader's Pavilion||The Book Bear|
|2:00 PM||What's on Your E-Reader?||Caedy|
|2:00 PM||Bibliophile's Wish List||Caedy|
|Sun (occasional)||9:30 PM||SciFi/Fantasy Book Club||quarkstomper|
|Bi-Monthly Sun||Midnight||Reading Ramblings||don mikulecky|
|MON||8:00 PM||Monday Murder Mystery||michelewln, Susan from 29|
|Mon||11:00 PM||My Favorite Books/Authors||edrie, MichiganChet|
|TUES||5:00 PM||Indigo Kalliope: Poems from the Left||bigjacbigjacbigjac|
|alternate Tuesdays||8:00 AM||LGBT Literature||Texdude50, Dave in Northridge|
|alternate Tuesdays||8:00 AM||All Things Bookstore||Dave in Northridge|
|Tue||8:00 PM||Contemporary Fiction Views||bookgirl|
|Wed||2:00 PM||e-books||Susan from 29|
|Wed||8:00 PM||Bookflurries Bookchat||cfk|
|THU||8:00 PM||Write On!||SensibleShoes|
|Thu (first each month)||11:00 AM||Monthly Bookpost||AdmiralNaismith|
|alternate Thursdays (on hiatus)||11:00 PM||Audiobooks Club||SoCaliana|
|FRI||8:00 AM||Books That Changed My Life||Diana in NoVa|
|alternate Fridays||8:00 PM||Books Go Boom!||Brecht|
|Fri||10:00 PM||Slightly Foxed -- But Still Desirable||shortfinals|
|SAT (fourth each month)||11:00 AM||Windy City Bookworm||Chitown Kev|
|Sat||12:00 PM||You Can't Read That! Paul's Book Reviews||pwoodford|
|Sat||9:00 PM||Books So Bad They're Good||Ellid|