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The Here and Now    by Ann Brashares order for
Here and Now
by Ann Brashares
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Prenna James immigrates from the future along with a chosen group of community members, all of whom survived the plague. They don't live in a commune or even together as a group. They live within a thirty mile radius of New York City in their individual homes, and periodically meet as a community in New York City.

To keep their presence a secret from the current population, the community has rules that must be followed. The rules are never written down, but whenever they meet the elders quiz them to make sure they won't forget the rules or why they must be followed. Prenna James knows the rules. They all do. They learned them by heart long before they left the future. The rules require that you never get close to anyone outside of your own people. The result could change their lives and the future. The consequences the elders insist on are often fatal.

Periodically, they meet to pay tribute the members they've lost. A projector shows the faces of deceased members on the wall in back of the meeting hall, in much the same way the Academy Awards Show pays tribute to the actors who've died during the year since the last Awards show.

Prenna and her mother are the last of her family. Prenna's dad chose not to come with them and her brother died in the plague. She misses them. Without her mother, a physician, she wouldn't be there. She is confused that her mother seems willing to follow the rules set by the community even when punishment is often death.

Prenna has only one friend who is an outsider. Ethan seems to know her and to understand her desire to keep their friendship a secret. Later she learns her father immigrated to the present even before the community came. She doesn't understand why he never sought her out.

This thriller/love story is one of the best time travel books I've read. Prenna is confused and wants to do the right thing but she's not sure what the right thing is. Is what she's being told by her mother and the community real?

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