Thursday, April 24, 2014

1144. The Here and Now

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Reading another time travel story immediately after finishing one, could be construed as unnecessary punishment. Thankfully, even though, this is a Time Travel story, at heart it's a (YA) or Young Adult novel. First off, let me note that I have never read anything by Ms. Brasheres, of "The Sisterhood of The Travelling Pants". It's not that I do not like her. It was just that these novels where not intended for me as an audience. If they were anything like this novel, I have one overarching comment to make about her teen characterizations. I prefer them to most of what I've seen in recent YA Fiction. There is a lot "angst" in teen YA Fiction today, and in all honesty, I do not understand where it comes from. Yes, it could be said, it's an expression of identity, just as the 1960s and the counter-culture where an expression of identity for that generation, but sometimes I wonder about the depth of those feelings, and the generation that holds them. Did we raise a generation of narcissists?

Moving on....To the book itself. The Here And Now is not your typical time travel story. Yes, of course, there is always the question of the "Grandfather Paradox" in time-travel and what would happen if you were to interact with said Grandfather, or for that matter anyone in your past. As I said in the review of the previous book, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, one possibility is the multiverse theory of the Universe which holds that every time there is a significant change in events, History changes, it forks into a new direction, creating a new parallel universe. The old Universe where the Time Traveler originated from, still exists, BUT, after having initiated the change, there is now a new parallel universe where events unfolding will be different than originally experienced.

This is but one interpretation of Time Travel. There are other, logical interpretations of time travel that suggest that changes are incorporated into the Universe Prime (the one and only Universe), creating temporary branches that collapse, logically, as actions take place, cause preceding effect and so-on, but, as changes accumulate in the branch, the branch merges back into Prime in a logical manner. This has been demonstrated in a manner of novels.

I do not know which theory I support, and I do not want to influence you before reading this novel. But before reading it, you ought to know that it involves people from our almost near future (late 21st century), traveling back to our time and attempting to assimilate. The affect of their travel has an unwitting effect on our heroine, Prenna. First, because she is seen as she emerges from the wormhole bringing her here, and second because she does not accept her condition. Is she the only one in the group of travelers willing or wanting to change the future they came from? What effect will those changes bring forth? Will she succeed? She has a companion in her attempt to change the future... The person who saw her when she arrived. A 17 year old boy. Ethan.

Written in a very enjoyable style and told from the perspective of two teenagers on the run, this is a surprisingly enjoyable read. In a few words: "I could not put it down." And one other commendation for this book: "This is not your typical YA Fantasy". You might think what these characters go through is improbable, but not to me. Ethan is old enough to be capable of achieving everything he does in this book, and Prenna has an emotional reserve in her. You will understand where that comes from, once you read the book.

I recommend the book for anyone who likes a good time travel story, and especially those who like a well written YA story. Most YA stories don't inspire me, and I feel, create needy, narcissistic adolescents. Not this one. And that's a compliment of the highest order.

Three and a half stars.

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