Thursday, March 27, 2014

There Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Main characters: 17-year-olds Prenna, a refugee from the future, and Ethan, a time native
Location: upstate New York
Time period: Contemporary
Genre: YA Fiction, dystopia, time travel, timey-wimey mystery

Our future is not a bright one. The world becomes warmer and wetter which allows the mosquito population to expand greatly without the cold winters to control them.  Places that never had to worry about mosquito borne illnesses before are now vulnerable to a number of them, including the blood plague which decimates the human population.  Fearing the mosquitoes, people begin using and then over using pesticides, and doing whatever they can to destroy mosquito habitat, not realizing until too late that they've destroyed their own habitat as well.

This is the world that Prenna comes from.  She and her mother were part of a temporal emigration.  Their group has been here in our time for 4 years now but live by strict rules designed to prevent affecting the timeline.  So while there is some interaction with the time natives, intimate relationships are forbidden.  This is difficult for Prenna because Ethan is very interested in her.  And truth to tell, she is interested in Ethan too.

There is a nice dose of romance in this book, as Prenna and Ethan discover that the leaders of her group are not, as claimed, interested in repairing the future but only in keeping control of their followers much like cult leaders.  The two are able to puzzle out clues from the future to find the tipping point that will prevent the coming catastrophe.

Ann Brashares is, of course, best know for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series.  While this book may not sound like it has much in common with that series, there is still the emphasis on relationships--with parents, with best friends, with boyfriends--as young women learn to come into their own and discover their own independence.

Though it doesn't dwell on the subject of global warming, it is clear that this is the trigger of the bleak future--and it is not an unreasonable progression.  Last summer, the area where I live was hit hard by West Nile Virus--a previously unfamiliar disease spread by mosquitoes.  Many communities, including my own, used nighttime aerial spraying to try to control the mosquito population while the nightly news was filled with stories of the ever increasing death toll.

I read this as an e-ARC from NetGalley.  The Here and Now is scheduled to be released on April 8.

No comments: