"The Future of Us" by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

I won an ARC (Advanced Reader's Copy) of The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler when my wonderful writer friend Jenny Phresh aka The Party Pony decided to clean out her BEA haul from her shelves and give away some prized titles. (People, this is one of the many reasons why you should follow her blog. Aside from randomly hilarious posts on galloping shopping carts and squirelly activities, this woman is GENEROUS! Plus when she's feeling sentimental, she writes beautiful, inspiring prose that'll make you want to wander around the subway sans contacts/half-blind.)

I finished reading this while on vacation--it is an easy, fast read. Here is the blurb for the book:

The Future of UsIt is 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 everything changed. Things have been awkward between  them ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD-ROM 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, Josh and Emma 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.

About the Authors:

Jay Asher is the author of the NYT Bestseller Thirteen Reasons Why. Visit his blog for more info.

Carolyn Mackler is the author of the popular teen novels, The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things (A Michael L. Printz Honor Book), Tangled, Guyaholic, Vegan Virgin Valentine, and Love and Other Four-Letter Words.

Why I Recommend:

The book comes with two POVs--the chapters alternate between Josh and Emma. As I've mentioned, this is a fast, easy read. The writing is pretty straightforward (no lyrical or poetic prose here, but that is fine with me. I just like to point out pretty writing when I see it. Totally subjective, people.)

I enjoyed going back to 1996 and the cultural references, like AOL (so funny because AOL was the BIG thing back then. I still remember those free CD-ROMs they gave out in the mail.), Seinfeld, Windows 95, and those cheesy brick wall screensavers, among others. It's like a trip down memory lane. Only in the book, it's the opposite, for when they found a strange website called FACEBOOK on Emma's computer, they were suddenly privy to their future selves.

Soon Emma and Josh realize that their actions or even their thoughts in the present (1996) have the capability to change their future circumstances (15 years later). For instance, Emma deduces that she's unhappy in her marriage, and when she decides to never marry that person, the next time she logs in she's married to someone else. It was fascinating to see how their choices now affected their lives later.

The only thing that didn't sit well with me is the fact that their seemingly meaningless acts--those tiny, itty-bitty trivial things they did--somehow created huge ripples enough to drastically change their future in a heartbeat. I'm not a philosopher, and I certainly can not tell you that by deciding to sit down and read this blogpost as opposed to say, deciding to play on Twitter is somehow going to change your future so that instead of becoming a bestselling novelist (because you read my post), you went bankrupt and lost your  mortgage. Confused? What I'm saying is that in the novel, it's implied that every little thing we do in the present time can have huge repercussions in the future. Maybe it's just me, but I believe that huge repercussions only happen when we're faced with important decisions. Spilling vase water on the carpet (which Emma did) is not enough to make the circumstances of her future marriage change.

But as I am no Einstein, maybe it does. All I can say is that this reader was raising eyebrows at one point.

Putting such things aside (it's the same case as with Time Travel, messing with the time and space continuum and whatnot, only different...), the book was still an engaging read and I was really intrigued to see how it would turn out for both Emma and Josh. I kinda knew where it was going (no spoilers from me, but as you can see, it was a bit predictable). I liked Josh's character better than Emma's, but again, totally subjective. The supporting cast were good and well-sketched. I liked how normal teenage issues (such as the relationship with their parental units, the "sex" talk, etc.) are portrayed realistically in the story.

All in all, a good read, and one that makes you think: Are the choices I make TODAY making a difference TOMORROW?

To find out more, you can visit the book's facebook page. The Future of Us is slated to come out by November 2011. If you want a copy now, stay tuned because I'm planning a giveaway where you can win an ARC of The Future of Us for your own reading pleasure. 



Kate Evangelista said...

I love your review! I have yet to read Thirteen Reasons Why, but I really want to in the near future. I'll include this one too.

cherie said...

Thanks, Kate! I need to read 13 Reasons Why too. My TBR pile is tottering! LOL!

Joyce Lansky said...

I'm interested in 13 reasons why too. Isn't that the cover with the girl on the swing?


T.S. Welti said...

Very thorough and honest review. I gotta say though, I might agree that small things have big repercussions. My reasoning, not sure if it jives with the authors, is that when you knock over a vase you have to spend time cleaning up. Maybe that makes you ten minutes late to the grocery story. So you have a chance encounter with someone really interesting who introduces you to knitting. You join a knitting circle and one day you meet your knitting friend and her husband for dinner, but your husband is stuck at the office. Your knitting friend's husband feels bad and tries to console you. In the process, you realize not only is your friend's husband really nice he's also really hot. Suddenly you realize your husband isn't the same man you married. He's a workaholic and you're tired of it. Anyway, you get the gist. :)

Jenny Phresh said...

I'm so gratified to see this interesting review--see, you are definitely paying it back and earning your reward, as you took the time to share this in-depth assessment with us. (And took the time to shout my praises...you are too too kind.) I have to agree with our pal TS Welti on the 'small things' theory. I often wonder about so many tiny choices and their after-effects. At any rate, it makes for a more dramatic story, I am sure!

Liz Fichera said...

I loved 13 REASONS WHY. This book sounds fab. I'm going right to Goodreads to add it to my TBR!

✪♜I.B.G.♜✪ said...

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Anonymous said...

Hi Cherie,
My mother-in-law bought Thirteen Reason's Why for my daughter. I like to read books other people buy her first just in case the content is too adult for her. She's only 11 yrs. I loved the book, but I'm going to hold off letting her read it until she's a lot older.

But again, I loved this book. It was a beautifully written, heartbreaking story, so I'm curious to read this The Future of Us. Thank you for the review. It's always nice to have an honest and thorough critique of a book I wouldn't normally buy.

Angie Sandro

cherie said...

@Joyce: Yup, I think it is. I seriously need to read that book myself.

@T.S.: You do have a point. I guess what's hard for me to swallow is the fact that one decision now can guarantee a certain effect in the future. There are 15 years between Emma and Josh's present in the story and their Facebook self. Even if Emma was to decide in her present that she wasn't going to do something, there's still a lot of room for other decisions, other things that could change the outcome.

For instance, a friend's hubster said that when he was young, he'd said he wasn't going to marry anyone from a differen country. Even though he had made that decision early on, 10 years after he ended up marrying my friend who is from the Philippines. So obviously, between then and 10 years after, a lot of things changed. I guess that's my point--that while it is true our little actions in the everyday can have small repercussions, they're not enough to warrant a huge change in our future lives.

Again, I'm no Einstein, and I'm not saying I'm right here. That's just what I believe in.

Thanks for your input. I love seeing what other people's perspectives are, especially when they're different from mine. <3

@Jenny: THANK YOU for giving me the book! I truly enjoyed it. I love books that make me think. ;)

@Liz: I'm going to add 13 Reasons Why to my TBR list! ;)

@I.B.G.: Hi! Thanks for visiting and following my blog! I'm glad you like it. :D

@Angie: Sorry the comment thing wasn't working for you. You're such a good mama. Glad I could help you out with my review. ;)

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