Saturday, January 28, 2012

Review of The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler.  Razorbill, 2011.
Josh and Emma have been next-door neighbors and best friends forever.  About a year ago, Josh thought Emma wanted something more and tried to kiss her.  Since then, their relationship has cooled and they have not been as close.  Then Emma’s dad buys her a computer, and Josh’s mother sends him over with an AOL disk they’ve received in the mail.  It’s 1996, and America Online is very popular!  When Emma installs the program on her computer and logs on, she sees her Facebook page, but Facebook hasn’t been designed yet!  Emma and Josh are seeing themselves fifteen years in the future!
The pair discovers that every little action they take affects their futures!  They are able to see the consequences of their actions by viewing their Facebook pages!  Josh and Emma must decide if both the good and bad risks they are taking with their lives are worth what happens to them in the future!
The plot of The Future of Us is such a great concept and brilliant premise!  The story is told in the alternating viewpoints of Josh and Emma with :// before their names.  The two have been inseparable growing up, but Emma thinks having a romance with her best friend is repulsive!  I thought it was strange that Emma would have so many failed relationships with guys without examining the one she has with Josh more closely…until the end of the book!  While viewing her Facebook page, she discovers that her luck with guys hasn’t changed, but this information doesn’t seem to resonate with her!  She seems unhappy in her current life and she’s unhappy with her “predicted” future!  Josh, on the other hand, is a happy-go-lucky guy in his present life, and is thrilled by what the future holds for him!  What contrasts! 
The culture from the 90s—Dave Mathews Band, Discmans, Velcro, dial-up Internet access, AOL, among other things--was well-written into the story!  The characters’ reactions to different Facebook postings mentioning things like Netflix and smartphones, were hilarious!  I loved the way that both old and new cultural norms were included in the book!  I would like to find out which chapters were written by each author!
Teens, especially those fans of Thirteen Reasons Why and of Carolyn Mackler’s novels, will love The Future of Us!  It’s a quick read and has real “teen appeal”!  I recommend it for upper middle school, high school, and public libraries!