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Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Future of Us by Jay Asher

US Cover

Release Date: Nov. 21, 2011 (UK: Jan. 5, 2012)
Publisher: Razorbill
(UK: Simon & Schuster)
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Pages: 356
Buy: Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound
Description: Goodreads
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.
UK Cover
Imagine a scenario where you’re 16 years old and you have the opportunity to look at your Facebook status 15 years into the future.  Is that something you would be interested in seeing?  I KNOW I WOULD!  The Future of Us was a nostalgic trip back in time for me as I recognized all the songs and older technology, a world without Facebook, Twitter, broadband *shudder*.  A world where cars still had cassette players and Discmans were all the rage (HA, I had one).  It’s like this book was written specifically with the YA crossover market in mind although it is certainly educational for those who weren’t around in that period too ;).

I’d just finished reading a historical book and then a paranormal one so I decided to go with a contemporary story when I picked up The Future of Us. I have to say that I LOVE the concept of this book and even now, if I had the opportunity to look into the future, I would take it. I also liked the exploration of present actions causing ripples in time that affected the future right down to being in a bad mood one day or spilling something on a new carpet.

One of the main problems for me in this book is that up until halfway through, I really didn’t care about the characters and was suffering from “so what?” syndrome. I could have put the book down at any point but I don’t quit easily so I carried on and then things just fell into place and I found myself in a position of giving a shit which snuck up on me without warning. 

In terms of characters, Emma comes across as a little selfish and self absorbed. Because she didn’t like what she saw in the future, she made it her own personal mission to try to change things which sometimes had an effect on Josh’s future.  It seemed like he was happy in the future and she messed with his life on every level.  She was the one who rejected him six months previously, she’s the one who messed with his future both intentionally and unintentionally and then she is still messing with him in the present again both intentionally and unintentionally. I almost wanted to scream “leave him alone girl!” at times. 

Josh is just a nice guy that lives next door who made a move on his best friend and it backfired which made for an awkward relationship between them. He is trying to move on and his character explores the question of what would you do if you knew who your future partner was and I mean KNEW as in go to the same school as them?

The Future of Us was a fun, contemporary read and makes you question whether you would want to know what your future holds and if you knew, would you try to change it? It also explores the ripple effect quite nicely where one little action can cause a chain reaction of events. It’s all quite fascinating from that point of view.

This is a standalone novel which is quite refreshing and it’s an easy, entertaining read. Just so you know, the film rights have been sold to Warner Brothers which is no guarantee of course but it wouldn’t surprise me if we saw this up on the big screen someday.

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