Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The future of us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

Emma and Josh are neighbours, and until Josh made "the move" they were also best friends spending time together in and out of each others houses.  But after Josh made his big move and Emma rejected him for being "Josh", there has been a separation between them, an uncomfortable space that they can't seem to fill.  When Emma receives a new computer from her father, a kind of sorry gift from being so far away with his new wife and baby, Josh brings over an America Online CD-ROM that his mom got in the mail and Emma loads the disk up.  When she logs on she is automatically logged into Facebook - but it is only 1996 and Facebook hasn't even been invented yet!

What follows is a series of highs and lows as Emma and Josh log into Facebook and see their own futures - 15 years into the future.  Josh is more laid back about it, but Emma is almost obsessed, trying to find out what her future is like.  Facebook is a window to their future that she can't resist as she sees who her friends are, who she married, her future job, and what happens to her friends - is that really such an unhealthy thing to do?  It is innocent enough at first, but then Emma makes deliberate changes and watches the ripples through her Facebook page as first little changes, and then larger changes occur when she refreshes the page. 

Josh is not as involved in the "game" as Emma is, and he tries to warn her to be careful, but Emma is focused on what she wants and doesn't care about the consequences as long as her future looks bright.  Things become strained between them, especially when Josh attracts the attention of one of the most popular (and pretty) girls in school - while Emma attracts the attention of the star of the athletics team who is not exactly what she hopes he is.  Around the edges of all this floats there friendships, families, and dramas, all influenced by the glimpses of the future they get through Facebook.

This was a fun and somewhat quirky read, with the story alternating between Josh's view and Emma's.  Emma comes across as strong willed and willing to risk it all, while Josh is more a take-it-as-it-comes kind of person.  The idea of using Facebook to see the future, something so many of use take for granted was just inspired, and there are all these marvellous little references to the past (read present for Josh and Emma) just reminds me so much of being a teenager at around the same time.  The brilliant thing is that this book will date, but it should date relatively well.  I hope that these two authors collaborate again as this was a fun read that also blended together some heartfelt drama.

If you like this book then try:
  • Thirteen reasons why by Jay Asher
  • Hate list by Jennifer Brown
  • Memento Nora by Angie Smibert
  • Where she went by Gayle Forman
  • Forgotten by Cat Patrick
  • You against me by Jenny Downham
  • Letters from the inside by John Marsden

Reviewed by Brilla

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