Monday, 16 January 2012
Review: The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's
Released: January 5th, 2012
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'd been looking forward to reading this book for months, ever since I first heard about what could only be described as an epic collaboration. While I liked it and read it super quick, I didn't love it like everyone else seems to. Something didn't quite sit right with me, and I think it comes down to the lack of explanation for why Facebook suddenly appears on Emma's new computer and how it's possible for Emma and Josh to change their futures so quickly and easily. I have no problem believing in time-travel and other such things, but here I think I needed more information to support it.
Of course, The Future of Us has many good, even excellent, aspects. The references to 1996 are almost all accurate (I don't think Leonardo DiCaprio would have been as popular as the writers make out, though - Romeo and Juliet wasn't even on anyone's radar then and he didn't hit it big until late 1997/early 1998!) and the dual narrative gets full marks from me. I do like alternating points of view, and it made this book move quickly and keep its momentum. I also liked the characters, especially Tyson and Josh. Emma got on my nerves after a while, always trying to change things and being blind to what was right in front of her. The males in the book definitely made this book for me, and I'm assuming Josh's chapters were written by Jay Asher, who is brilliant. I could be wrong, though!
The Future of Us made me think about the future and what I'd do if I could see into mine and even change things. Sometimes I think I'd love to know what will have happened by 2027, but then other times the idea freaks me out too much. I wouldn't want to know because I don't think I could change anything, and I'd live the next 15 years waiting for things, good or bad, to happen. All this is addressed in The Future of Us but, like I mentioned earlier, the ripple effects from the present that ultimately change the future weren't quite so believable. When it comes to time-travel and future-changing, I ALWAYS need a good explanation. But that's just me.
As a contemporary novel, The Future of Us is a quick, engrossing read. It's really about a journey of self-discovery and seizing the moment (that didn't work so well for Willow in Buffy, remember? Ha!), and in that respect it's a must-read for fans of the genre. It's an interesting, original concept that for me required more in-depth exploration into the why and how. It's still one to add to the to-be-read pile, though!