Here we are half way through February and I haven’t done any reviews. Slacker! Time to remedy that. Here is one I read in January.
The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, 2011
It’s 1996 and Emma has just gotten a new computer. Using a free AOL cd-rom, Emma is ready to start emailing! What she discovers instead is a strange thing called Facebook which has photos and status updates from a woman who sounds remarkably like an older version of Emma. Confident that it’s a prank, Emma reaches out to Josh, her neighbor and former best friend. Things have been awkward between them for a while, but he might know who made the fake page. After all, he’s the one who gave her the cd-rom. The pair soon realize the Facebook pages are real and they are seeing snippets of their future selves. They also discover that everything they do in the present impacts the future.
For me this was a lovely trip down memory lane. Those were simpler times…people waited for dial-up, scrunchies were awesome hair accessories, mixed tapes were played on Walkmans, and poor Pluto was still a planet. The modern teen may not find these details as charming as I did, but they will certainly be able to relate to the situations that Emma and Josh are dealing with. Who doesn’t wonder what their future will be like? What if you learned your future wasn’t happy? Wouldn’t you want to change things? I think I would. And if worrying about the future isn’t enough, Emma and Josh are both struggling with challenges in their present. That’s a lot of worrying and they don’t always handle things well, but really, who does?
Most of the complaints I have read about this book have been about Emma. I feel like I need to defend her. I agree, she is initially not a very likeable character. She is kind of bratty and a little mean. Her interest in the future revolves solely around herself and her friends. I would argue that is perfectly fitting with her character. Also, I think she redeems herself in the end and I do love a good redemption story! Remember, you need to have flawed character in order to have change and growth in the end.
Overall this is a quick, fun read that reminds readers that the best way to be happy in the future is to be happy in the present.
Be sure to check out Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why and Carolyn Mackler’s The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things
Readalikes: Winter Town by Stephen Emond and Gimme a Call by Lauren Mlynowski