Title: The Future of Us
Authors: Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
Publication Date: 2011
Page Count: 356 (Hardcover)
Age Recommendation: 14
It’s 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They’ve been best friends almost as long—at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh’s family gets a free AOL CD in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they’re automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn’t been invented yet. And they’re looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.
By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they’re forced to confront what they’re doing right—and wrong—in the present. ~ Goodreads
The Future of Us is an adorable, upper MG, contemorary novel that is perfect for weekends when you are snowed in. It focuses on two teens, nearing the end of their highschool career in the late 1990’s. Josh gives Emma an AOL (which apparently is how the internet was accessed back in the olden days.) To their surprise, they are able to access a mysterious and magical website named ‘Facebook’. They can see their profiles on Facebook, 15 years into the future. Every time they log on, their future changes. And sometimes they don’t like what they see…
I was a bit reluctant to pick up this novel. First of all, why would I, a 2000’s child, want to read about the ninties? No, thank you. Also, I wasn’t a huge fan of the cover. But I was desperate for a light read and The Future of Us was the perfect choice. It was a fun read that I finished quickly. Learning more about the Internet before 2015 (around when I started to use it) was interesting. It was so hard to use! Somehow it was connected to the phone too?! It sort of shocks me that this wasn’t even set that long ago. In 21 years we have progressed from AOL (I still don’t know what that is) to not having access to the internet being a mild inconvenience. (Sometimes not so mild when you are lost and need the map on your phone.)
The best part of the book was that is did excel in inside jokes, meant for the readers. (Ellen DeGeneres? Gay???)
Overall, I went into this book with medicore expectations and came out satisfied. I knew that I wasn’t going to be blown away by this book. It was a highschool story with some ‘I can see the future’ drama mixed in. It didn’t have some political message (if it did, it was so poorly executed that I didn’t notice) or brand new view of the 1990’s. It honestly was just a teen romance novel.
I did not like one of the main characters. Emma. She was just really self absorbed and she had so many issues that could have been addressed in a positive way. Instead her problems were completely ignored. It was interesting, because she was usually unhappy in her future, and she always blamed her husband. Did she never consider that she might have been the problem? I honestly would have like her a lot better if she had been able to acknowledge that. I was actually expecting that she would come to that understanding of herself and was geniuenly shocked when it wasn’t.
The next isn’t really an issue, but this book will not age well. It came out in 2011 and seven years later, I only know of one person my age who uses Facebook. Social media is a fickle thing and is constantly changing. Thirty years from now, Facebook will be irrelevant and I can hardly see a teen interested in a book that has no relevance in their world anymore.
All in all, I enjoyed this book and I do not regret the time spent on it. But it will definitely not make the spot in my ‘Top Ten Favorite Books’ list and now that I finished it, I won’t be spending anymore time thinking about it.
“Why does it say she has three hundred and twenty friends?” Josh asks. “Who has that many friends?”
“What the hell happened to Pluto?!”
People grow apart, and sometimes, there nothing anyone can do about it.