The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: The Future of Us

Authors: Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

Published: November 21st, 2011

Number of Pages: 356

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

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. [From Goodreads]

No quote. Sorry.

Review:

I wasn’t an enormous fan of Thirteen Reasons Why, as many were, so I tried to approach this book with lower expectations. I severely underestimated it.

The Future of Us is not en epic action, syfy, or love story. There’s nothing particularly incredible about it, but you wrap every scene and character up into one, and you find something very unique, very intriguing, and very, very fun.

I found the premise to be perfectly timely. I’ve recently been sucked into the vortex – the black hole, if you will – that is Facebook, but this book’s message has caused me to look at Facebook, and other social media sites, in an entirely new way. I love that Asher and Mackler managed to create an entertaining, though simple, story that does have an extremely evident point and value infused in it without seeming preachy or insulting readers who just want a fun read.

Emma and Josh are a crucial part of that fun bit. They’re quirky and cute, but most importantly, they are incredibly real. They seem just like kids I’d meet in my high school (the good kids). I loved that they were just as flawed as anyone, but a majority of those flaws were things I was willing to look over or tolerate because they, as a whole, are simply worth it. Josh in particular is a darling. He’s a little misguided, and he tends to flop around like a fish out of water, but it’s all so very endearing. Emma, on the other hand, was sweet and clever, but she was a tad more irritating, due to the fact that she was often melodramatic or short-sighted (very). In the long run, however, both she and Josh developed into two people that I was proud of.

Nothing monumental happens during the course of the book, but I had a feeling that I was on a journey throughout most of it. I can see the book in a timeline, and I can see the events, however small, that had a drastic effect on the story as a whole. It was written in a way that felt wonderfully concise and complete. Asher and Mackler did not waste their scenes. Looking back, I can tell that each one played a role, as did every character. It’s fantastic, as a reader, to feel that I’m in the hands of a person or people that know(s) precisely what they’re doing.

My main problem with the book was that it finished a little earlier than I would have liked. My needs as a reader were finally met, and then it was over. Very disappointing. However, it the scene was perfect. I suppose the writers figured they’d quit while they were ahead!

I think that readers of any sort of contemporary fiction will enjoy this. It’s less tragic than Asher’s first novel, and therefore more fit for any old rainy day. It’s incredible how realistic they make this time-travel-through-the-internet deal feel. I never felt as though I was reading something fantastical or a science fiction novel. The Future of Us is, essentially, a story about a boy and a girl who find themselves in a mysterious pickle and must figure out how to keep their lives in order.

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