Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler YP FIC ASHER

In the long ago past of 1995 Josh and Emma are neighbors and former best friends.  Things got awkward and they don’t want to talk about it! But when Josh gets a free AOL CD (google it kids!) in the mail his mom insists that tech savvy Emma helps install it. Strangely the home page is an odd website called Facebook.  Emma eventually manages to log on and finds that she already has an account…15 years into the future!!!  Now Emma and josh know what their future holds and every little change they make in their life seems to change their Facebook future!  Will knowing their future ruin their present?  Can you pick the life you really want?

Okay, there is NO WAY that a Facebook page of the NOW will load in any reasonable time on a PC running AOL from 1995.  For teens of today just know that you live in a golden age of technological advancement and feel blessed.  Besides that MINOR quibble this book is fantastic.  Told in the alternating perspectives of Josh and Emma, we bounce between characters frequently enough to keep things interesting, but not so fast that we get dizzy.  The premise is just so great that I’d normally be skeptical that the writing would equal it, but with Asher and Mackler you know you’ll get something special.  They both are great at getting inside a character’s head and making them feel real with small touches.  The book really looks at our current obsession with social media and how we try to live our lives constantly being watched by others.  Emma and Josh are obsessed with what Facebook tells them about their future, but they learn quickly that it’s hard to really KNOW anyone on Facebook.  

Another great touch in the book is the slow build romance.  It feels utterly genuine and warm and sweet, without ever overwhelming the focus of the book or being the only thing that defines Josh or Emma.  Having multiple authors helps both characters to have their own lives and problems and unique reactions to shared situations.  I also love that they made it hard for Emma and Josh to believe what is happening.  Far too many teen books insert something wholey improbable like future technology or magic to characters that have never encountered it and the character just goes, “Oh well, magic is real I guess.”  No.  That is silly.  I would go absolutely crazypants if I saw my Facebook for a week from now today, much less 15 years from now and during a time Facebook wasn’t born yet. A lot of the reality and weight of the situation works because this improbable set up is treated realistically.  It keeps you drawn in and feel invested in Josh and Emma.  This is a great read with a great premise and a great story and great characters.  If you want something that is both realistic and has a touch of the fantastic, this is a can’t miss.

You can check our catalog for The Future of Us here.

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