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

05 Dec

Title: The Future of Us

Author: Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

Publication Date: November 21, 2011

Genre: Young Adult

Publisher: Razorbill

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Barnes & Noble):
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.

Review: I was intrigued by this book from the moment I realized that the characters were not too far off in age from me when we view them in the future. This meant that the teen versions of the characters were going through high school the same time I was, listening to the same music and watching the same television programs. It was fascinating to read a book for young adults where the characters existed almost 15 years ago in a world where dial-up internet was the BIG THING, everyone wanted an AOL screen name and Dave Matthews was the band you were always caught listening to.

Asher and Mackler did a great job of balancing the back and forth in points of view from Josh and Emma. I never feel like the transition was too abrupt or that I was losing anything by moving back and forth between the two characters, in fact I think it added something to the story that would’ve been lost if it had stayed with just the one narrator. At times both protagonists were whiny and self involve and you simply wanted to shake them, but I have yet to meet a teenager I didn’t want to do that to at some point (and some of the cringing may have been because I remember acting that way).

It was fascinating to view the idea of Facebook from people who have no concept of what this application is as it’s become so integrated into our culture that I think we forget the impact that it can have on our lives. It makes me wonder what changes I would have made in my life If i’d be granted the opportunity to view my current Facebook profile as a 17 year old girl. I’m sure I would’ve been surprised at where I ended up in my life.

After all isn’t that what a book should do, make you think?

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