Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

The year is 1996. Emma and Josh have been best friends and next door neighbors their whole lives, though Josh wishes they were more than that. His attempt to move their friendship to the next level failed miserably. Now things are awkward between the two of them.

One day Emma receives her very first computer along with an America Online CD-ROM. But upon first signing onto AOL, she is immediately taken to a website called Facebook where she sees her life 15 years into the future - and she doesn't like what she sees. So she takes it upon herself to try to change her future.

Told in alternating chapters between Josh and Emma's perspectives, The Future of Us is a quick, fun read and even though the story takes place only fifteen years ago, it reads like historical fiction. The reason why it feels like historical fiction is because technology has moved so quickly in the past 15 years, that what was technologically advanced back then, is like a dinosaur now. In fact, I worry that the impact of this book will be obsolete in less than a year due to how quickly even Facebook changes.

I honestly think, despite the fact that this book is categorized as YA, people in their thirties who were in high school fifteen years ago, will identify with this book more than teenagers will. I even mentioned this to Jay and Carolyn when I met them at NCTE a couple weeks ago, and Jay gave a good, authorly response, which is that he thinks the book is for everyone. But then he mentioned that depending on what age you are, you will read the story differently. As someone who was in high school in 1996, I can tell you that lots of feelings of nostalgia bubbled up as I was reading. Teenagers will not have those overwhelming feelings when they read  "Crash into Me" and "Dave Matthews Band" in the same sentence.

I was, however, hoping this book would be more profound than it was. Instead, it was more of a fluff read. Still, sometimes fluff reads are just what you need. This book came to me at a time when I was in a reading funk and got me out of it. So while the depth of the story wasn't there, the motivation to keep reading was.

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Macker
Published: November 21, 2011 by Razorbill
Pages: 356
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Magical Realism
Audience: Young Adult

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  1. I've been dying to get this book! That is so funny that it seems like a historical book even though it only takes place 15 years ago. Times are changin'!

  2. Using so much pop culture is usually a turn-off for me. In this case (though it was clearly overwhelming) it was a bit more fun because much of what they referenced was around during my very early 20s. So it's kind of fun to pick things out. However, as you've said, the book is going to be dated pretty quickly.

  3. Oh man, in 1996 I was in 7th grade. Those were the days. I had absolutely nothing to worry about back then. I think that was also around the time I got my first computer (technically it was the family computer), and then two years later, I discovered AOL (and IM chatting).

    The premise of the book definitely sounds really interesting, but I agree that teens might not be able to connect with it on a deeper level since so much of the story seems to be grounded in the nostalgia of the past.

  4. this was a fantastic book. I actually found myself driving the long way home every day, just so I could hear more from this story. If you grew up around this time, then this book would be perfect for you. If will take you back to when you were this age and make you wonder how you might handle the situation Josh and Emma found themselves in.