The Future of Us (Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler) – Review

The future of usThe Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
Age: 14 +
Genre: Sci-Fi, Teen Lit
Publisher: Razorbill, 2011
ISBN: 9781595144911, 356 pages
Source: Library Copy
Find this book at your local library

The year is 1996. One day, Josh goes to his neighbor’s house to pass off a cd-rom for a free trial with AOL, the newest emblem of the Internet. When Emma loads the disc into her computer, she’s taken to a webpage, Facebook, 15 years into the future. Despite the dim and unhappy life in her future, Emma and Josh soon realize that their every move in their present time, sends ripples of change into their future.

I’m very iffy about this book.

What I liked: I think the concept is great, as are the alternating chapters by the two authors, Asher and Mackler. I love the characters of Emma and Josh and the high school they attend. The issues they deal with at school and between each other are very fitting for a teen novel. I also really love the “what if I did this” type of suspense and curiosity in both Josh and Emma. If I had access to my future, chances are I would play around with it as well.

Between the two narratives, Emma is more self-involved and frustrated with her life both in the future and in the present. Josh is more at peace with both. I often preferred Josh’s chapters to Emma, as he was the most level-headed between the two. Emma is too much driven by impulse without realizing how her actions effect others, but I liked that about her. Emma in high school reflects the Emma she sees on Facebook in the future.

Although they were once best friends, their friendship stalled after Josh declared his “more-than-friends” feelings for Emma. In the course of a week, through a rather large and windy series of events, Emma and Josh’s friendship is re-ignited as they try to figure out just what is Facebook and what to expect of themselves in the future.

Overall, I felt that the characters lacked depth, and the ending was easily predictable if you’ve ever seen any teen movie ever. The chapters were short and sometimes felt rushed.  There some very mature topics in this book, so I couldn’t recommend it for tweens. Other parts are too slow and boring for the older teens.

One of my biggest complaints, is that this book feels like it was written for the adults reading teen books, rather than the teens reading teen books. Honestly…what teenager is going to care about a reference to YM magazine or any of the really specific 90’s references? I really wish that this book was set in our present time, with some new technological device that shows us the future. I expected more from this book, especially based on other reviews I had read. Then again, all of the reviews I read talked about how nostalgic the 90s references were and that this is a must-read for any 90s child. A child of the 90s is far beyond the reading level for which this book is written.

JANUARY:           JUVENILE FICTION

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