The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
Published: 5 January 2012 (Simon & Schuster Children's Books)
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Source: Borrowed from library
Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
It's 1996 and very few high school students have ever used the internet. Facebook will not be invented until several years in the future. Emma just got a computer and an America Online CD. She and her best friend Josh power it up and log on - and discover themselves on Facebook in 2011. Everybody wonders what they'll be like fifteen years in the future. Josh and Emma are about to find out.
I grabbed this book at the library having not heard of it before. I was drawn to it because Jay Asher is an author I've been wanting to read, the cover was so cool and when I read the blurb I was completely hooked on the idea! The Future of Us follows Emma and Josh as they discover their Facebook profiles of the future, years before Facebook is even invented.
The idea for the story sounded amazing and it turned out be just as cool as I hoped for. It was so clever! I loved the whole "glimpse of the future" thing Emma and Josh have. When they log on to Emma's new computer they find Facebook. They have no idea what it is but quickly realise that what they're seeing isn't a prank, it's genuinely the online profiles of their future selves. It delves into the idea that what they do in the present affects the future and it was really interesting seeing them try to shape their lives by acting differently, and worrying about what will happen to them (who they'll be married to and how many kids they'll have etc.). They also have the dilemma of finding out stuff about their friends that they might not want them to know about. It was really interesting to see how they dealt with this overload of information. Yes the time travel aspect was fun, but it also added a lot of drama to the story.
On the other side it was hilarious to get a view of Facebook from two total outsiders. We're all used to emo status updates and the idea of uploading photos to albums online but it was something completely alien to Josh and Emma. It was just such a good way to see just how ridiculous some parts of Facebook are, like updating your status to tell everyone what you're eating or being completely vague about what's really wrong with you. I loved the retro feeling of the book being set in the nineties. There were fun references to things like the TV show Friends and Oasis playing on the radio. Plus it was quite funny reading about Emma and Josh's experiences of dial up internet which, sadly, I'm old enough to remember!
The book is told in alternating chapters from both Emma and Josh's point of view. The two of them have a really awkward friendship after Josh tried to take things further and Emma turned him down. The great thing is when Emma discovers Facebook she goes to Josh for advice and it brings the two of them back together. They have a really great connection and I loved their little in-jokes, but things don't always run smoothly for the two of them throughout the book. Obviously there's a hint at some potential romance there and I loved how it all played out. There was a lot of tension between them and some amazing chemistry.
All the characters in this book were really well developed, and I enjoyed seeing the other things that were going on in Josh and Emma's lives alongside their Facebook dilemma. I loved Emma's friend Kellan and seeing how Josh had to deal with overprotective parents.
The Future of Us was a book I took out into the garden and it was the perfect fun contemporary read for a sunny day. It delivered great characters with a really imaginative and different plot. It made me laugh and had me rooting for the characters. The only thing that really let it down for me was the odd continuity error I spotted here and there. The ending was quite open too but I think I liked that. I'll definitely be recommending this one in future because I just thought it was genius!
What to read next: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Love and Other Four-Letter Words by Carolyn Mackler
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