Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The here and now Audio

The here and now Audio

Ann Brashares
For ages 13 and up
Unabridged audiobook (CD)
Performed/read by: Emily Rankin
Listening Library, 2014   ISBN: 978-0804121323

One spring day in 2010 Ethan went fishing alone. He found a spot to fish, baited his hook and cast out his line. Then he noticed that the air downstream was moving, quivering like the water. He went to investigate and was somehow pulled into the quaking, mixing blend of water and air. When he emerged, once more on the solid river bank, a girl was standing nearby. She was naked and cold so Ethan gave her his jacket to wear. He asked if she needed help and she said that she was fine. The she asked if there was a bridge nearby and he told her which way to go.

   Two years later the girl Ethan saw at the river joined his class and now they are friends, though the girl, Prenna, does not remember meeting Ethan in 2010 at all. She does not remember much about those days as that was a time in her life that was full of confusion and change.

   On that day in 2010 Prenna left her life in 2098 and traveled back in time. Others, including her mother, came back with her and Prenna then spent two years learning the ways of people in the America that she now called home. Then she went to Ethan’s school to begin the process of blending in with the natives. The people in Prenna’s “community” are all refugees from the blood plague that decimated the human population on Earth in the late 2090s. Both of Prenna’s little brothers died in the plague, and the plan was that she and the other time travelers would travel back in time so that they could do something to bring a halt to climate change. This change created the environment , in Earth’s future, that made the blood plague possible in the first place.

   The members of Prenna’s community make a point of doing what they can to look as if they belong, but they keep themselves separate. They live by twelve rules that the leaders of the group make sure everyone abides by. Prenna is convinced that the leaders are able to watch everyone in the community because every time she does something that makes her noticeable, she is called in to account for her actions and is forced to listen to yet another lecture. Prenna thinks that it is possible that the glasses that she and all the other community members wear are wired in some way so that the leaders can keep tabs on them.

   One of the rules the community believes in states that the time travelers must never “develop a physically or emotionally intimate relationship with any person outside the community.” This is the rule that Prenna is having the hardest time living by because she is attracted to Ethan, who is now a very close friend. He seems to understand her and he even makes her laugh, which is something she rarely does.

   One day a homeless man that Ethan has befriended asks to talk to Prenna. He tells her that the leaders of her community are not doing anything to solve the problems that will one day cause the blood plagues. He tells her that on May 17th 2014 a murder will take place, and this murder is a pivotal moment that will affect the future of all mankind. Later on the homeless man calls Prenna and leaves her a message. He tells her than many of the rules she is being forced to follow are there so that the leaders can control and dominate her. Later she arranges to meet the old man in the park and sees him being attacked. She gets to him just before he dies and Ethan arrives soon after.

   Prenna then learns that Ethan knows a great deal about her and her people. He may even know more about the whole situation than she does because the homeless man, who is another time traveler, has talked to Ethan. Ethan can sense who is a traveler and he gives Prenna a letter that the old man wrote. What Prenna reads in the letter shakes her world to the core, and Prenna suddenly has to accept that she, unlike the leaders in her community, cannot stand by. She has to do something to prevent the murder that is going to take place in just a few days. She has to do what she can to complete the homeless man’s work before it is too late.

   In this thrilling audiobook listeners are taken on a journey that is full of tension, danger, and unknowns. The task that Prenna and Ethan are given is a difficult one, and a close connection between them grows and evolves as Prenna takes control of her life for the first time.