There were several things that drew me to The Here and Now, but the top two were that it was something very different than the usual Ann Brashares book and I love time-travel stories. Once I started reading, I also loved the characters of Prenna and Ethan. Prenna has immigrated to New York from the future. Her previous life was in a world reeling from a pandemic of the Blood Plague and suffering from shortages of all sorts due to the effects of climate change. When she and the other travelers come to our era, they must adapt to different social norms, foods that they have never seen, even the type of money is different. To prevent causing harm to the future, there are 12 rules to follow and they are strictly enforced. The enforcement is also for the protection of the travelers, so that no one ever learns where, or rather when, they have come from. One of the most important rules is to never become intimate with a "time native." Prenna has liked Ethan since they met in their AP Physics class, but what she doesn't know is that Ethan actually saw her arrive in this time and he has been keeping her secret for four years.
It may sound like Romeo and Juliet meets The Time Machine, but it is not remotely that simple. There are so many threads to follow within this story - love and loss, the long-term effects of mankind on the environment, wormholes, energy research, selfishness versus sacrifice, fear and courage, friendship, loyalty... It all meshes together to propel the story and draw the reader along. You want so much to cheer for Prenna and Ethan, boo the oppressive leaders of the time travelers, and find a way to make everything work out that it's hard to put the book down. All of which explains why I still can't stop thinking about it. Readers who enjoy strong (and a bit rebellious) female protagonists will add Prenna to their collection. There is a video where the author is interviewed about the book.
I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley. The book will be published on April 8, 2014. (This is a Young Adult novel.)