on November 21, 2011
Emma and Josh are next door neighbors and have been good friends since they were little. Josh gives Emma an AOL CD-ROM for her to try out since her got a new computer. It's 1996 and the internet is still a new concept and Emma is excited to sign-on. Once she does, she sees a page that says "Facebook" and it somehow connects her to her Facebook page 15 years down the road. At first she thinks it is some kind of prank, but as Emma and Josh further investigate, they realize that it's pretty much the exact opposite. What if they don't like what they see? Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler's The Future of Us is brilliant. Readers that can remember that first AOL CD and dial up internet will love to revisit this with Emma and Josh. Also, fans of time-travel will be on the edge of their seats as Emma and Josh discover more and more about their futures.
Emma and Josh are like Pacey and Joey from Dawson's Creek. I adored them. Their relationship was relatable and realistic for high school. I loved that each chapter switched from Emma's point of view and Josh's point of view. It was done really well.
The '90s references in The Future of Us were amazing. I went to high school in the '90s and it was so much fun to remember back to AOL, the problems surrounding dial-up internet, and life before all this technology. I loved the incorporation of '90s music, especially Dave Matthews (I was obsessed!) and could relate to each and every '90s reference. I felt like I was back in high school and living the experience right along side of Emma and Josh.
So, if you read my reviews before you know how much I love the idea of time-travel. Ever since I saw Marty McFly visit 1955 I was sold. In The Future of Us, the fact that Emma and Josh somehow tapped into their Facebook pages in the future is such a unique idea. It truly had me thinking, because every time Emma or Josh did something relatively big in their life, it would drastically change their Facebook pages in the future, such as their relationship status, where they lived, the jobs they had, and even their status updates. And sometimes even the smallest things changed it as well. It gave me something to think about....like what if I actually took that path? Where would I be now? I can't imagine how this would have impacted me if I read this as a teenager. It's truly thought provoking.
If you like trips down memory lane to the '90s, a sweet romance, and realistic fiction with some sci-fi elements, namely time travel, you must check out The Future of Us. It is going down as one of my favorites of 2011. Plus, I just heard that the movie rights were snatched up by Warner Bros. Can't wait!
on February 2, 2012
The year is 1996, and Emma Nelson is a senior in high school. She's a little lost in her search for love before college: she isn't really that into her current boyfriend, Graham, and her relationship with her best friend, Josh, hasn't been quite the same since he tried to kiss her six months earlier. In an effort to rekindle their friendship, Josh gives Emma an AOL disc for 1,000 free hours that he received in the mail. Excited to get on the internet for the first time, Emma plugs in the disc and is taken to a strange and unfamiliar website: Facebook. The site asks Emma to input her newly created e-mail address and password, then displays a page with her name and a picture of a woman who looks like her, only about 15 years older. Emma is confused, but soon she and Josh realize what they've discovered: a website from the future that allows them to see who they will marry, what their jobs will be, and who they will be friends with. Josh is excited when he discovers that he will be married to Sydney Mills, the most beautiful and popular girl in school, and will spend his life going on exotic vacations with his hot wife and their adorable children. Emma is less than thrilled with what she sees on Facebook, however. She seems to be trapped in a loveless marriage and hasn't really done anything with her life. Determined to ensure a future of happiness, Emma and Josh attempt to make changes in their 1996 present that will impact their 2011 Facebook profiles for the better.
This promising collaborative novel between authors Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, unfortunately, falls victim to a common problem: great premise, poor execution. The idea of looking into the future from 1996 via Facebook is something that many are sure to find interesting. This basic concept will certainly appeal to a lot of adult readers who were teens in the 1990s and will relish all the nostalgic references. Unfortunately, the nostalgic feelings are the only that are invoked upon reading the book. Emma is a very unlikable character, seeming to care only about herself and jerking her friend Josh around after she learns he has feelings for her. Josh is somewhat more sympathetic, but not developed enough to be someone the reader can identify with. There is also a cast of supporting characters that are virtually indistinguishable from one another. Reading about Emma and Josh trying to change their futures while listening to Oasis, Alanis Morissette and Dave Matthews on their Discmans is moderately entertaining, but the warm-fuzzy 90s memories can only hold up the novel so much, and it's likely that most teen readers won't even have those.
As an uber-1990s fan and a daily Facebook user, I was very excited to read this book. I am personally only a few years younger than the characters in this book were supposed to be, so I was anticipating on really relating to the whole looking into the future via Facebook concept. While I did love all of the 90s references, I ended up being disappointed with this novel. I felt like it had so much promise, but the characters and plot just didn't do anything for me. I thought Emma was a huge brat and Josh was a bit of a wimp, so what happened in their futures wasn't interesting. I also realized that most teen readers wouldn't feel all the nostalgia that I got from reading about AOL discs, dial-up internet, mixed tapes, and Wayne's World. Overall, I think the authors had the makings for a slam-dunk but, instead, missed the mark.
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Set in the mid-90s, two teenagers get to peek into their futures when signing on to AOL and discovering a mysterious website called "Facebook." They quickly realize that the news feed and status updates of their future selves change based on their present-day activities. In an effort to rid their futures of bad marriages and careers, they attempt to manipulate their actions and motivations to improve their "news feed" outcomes.
The premise is definitely an interesting one, but the writing itself is a bit pedestrian and lacking ingenuity. The central characters are ultimately only concerned with catching the best possible future spouses for themselves (not exactly realistic behavior for 15-16 year old teenagers) based on their future Facebook profiles.
The overwhelming majority of the novel is concerned with romance and teenage angst. There's a few more thought provoking chapters scattered throughout the book, but as a whole its pretty run-of-the-mill.
I was excited to pick this one up given the great accolades the authors have amassed over the past several months. But I was underwhelmed by this book, in particular with the weak writing. B-
When I tell my students there were no real cell phones (remember the car phone in a bag??) and Facebook hadn't been created yet when I was in high school, they look at me like I was alive when dinosaurs roamed the earth. But what they don't realize is that their iPhones and Facebook and wireless internet are very young in the grad scheme of things. Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler examine what a teenager in the 1990's would do if they stumbled upon their future selves as is represented in Facebook in The Future of Us.
It's 1996 and Emma's father got her a brand new computer as a consolation prize when he got remarried and started his replacement family. When Josh Templeton stops by, she is surprised since things have been awkward between them since he admitted he liked her. They are still friends, just not the kind of friends who hang out at each other's houses regularly anymore. So when he comes over, she is shocked, but excited by the AOL disc he is carrying. His mother got it in the mail and thought she might like it for her new computer since Josh's mother doesn't believe in the internet. when Emma pops the disc in, something strange happens. A screen called Facebook pops up. Emma checks it out and realizes the woman named Emma Nelson Jones is her... in the future.
She calls Josh over because she just can't believe what she is seeing. Married to a man who doesn't come home at nights and might be cheating on her is not how Emma hoped her future would turn out. But Josh is convinced this is all an elaborate joke. Until he sees his own Facebook page and he is married to the hottest girl in school. But every time they open up the program, their lives have changed. They begin to realize every choice they make changes their future in small ripples. Emma, sad about her depressing future, starts to do things to purposely change her future, but Josh is worried about ruining what seems like an awesome future. What they quickly realize, though, is that the future is something you can't predict or control. Or can you?
I loved Asher's book 13 Reasons Why. It rocked my literary world. So I had high hopes for this book. I liked this book, but it wasn't as good as 13. I think it had a much younger feel than the first book. Even though the characters are thinking about college and talking about graduation, their reactions and actions feel very young- almost middle school-like. Also, I LOVED the nostalgic nods to life in the 1990's (when I was in high school- yep. I'm that old). The music (Dave Matthews and Green Day) and the greeting when you first open AOL, instant messenger, etc. It was like I was back in high school again! Oh wait, I hated high school. Never mind! But seriously, the references were fun, but they would be totally lost on kids of today. The references to old technology would be interesting in an anthropological sense, but I don't think they would enjoy the pop culture references.
Still, the book was interesting and fun to read. The way small things changed their futures was something that makes you really think, especially about fate vs. free will. How can your choices change what you become in the future? This would be fun to talk with your students about, maybe even plan out how some choices could lead them to different future possibilities. I think the characters might seem to young for more mature students, but middle school through youngish high school students would appreciate this fun story. And most important moral of the entire book? When Josh asks, "Why would anyone say this stuff about themselves on the Internet? It's crazy!" (although this was a close second: "Why does it say she had three hundred and twenty friends? Who has that many friends?").
The Future of Us by Jay Asher and and Carolyn Mackler was a cute, enjoyable little read. The plot line was anything but solid and well-thought-out, the characters (especially Emma) were tiny bit annoying at times, their decisions - quite random and weirdly motivated, but all in all the futuristic Facebook theme, the intriguing premise of being able to take a sneak-peak into your own future AND change things around, together with the adorable snap-shot of the 90's, made for a decent, pleasant read. As long as you don't take the whole thing too seriously.
It's year 1996. Emma and Josh have been friends their whole lives. They live on the same street (door-to-door), they're both quite nerdy and equally clueless when it comes to relationships. They would still probably be "besties" if Josh wouldn't completely misread the signals Emma was sending him, and didn't decide to try and kiss her. Awkward much? After that their friendship has hit an emotional Ice Age and they started avoiding each other. They would probably never have spoken to each other again, if not for the weird AOL CD that arrived in Josh's mail one day. Josh's mom made Josh give it to Emma so that she can install it on her newly bought computer. When they logged on, a weird web page popped up. A Facebook page. From. The. Future. On this page, not only they can see their future selves, but they also discover that every decision they make in the present, affects what happens to them fifteen years from now.
It was an OK read for me. It took me one afternoon to finish it, and, I won't lie, I enjoyed it quite a lot. It didn't blew me away or anything, but nevertheless, I had a good time reading it. In terms of readability, it's definitely a crowd-pleaser. In terms of emotional engagement, as well as plot line and character development - not so much. I just couldn't shake of the feeling that the authors stumbled upon a fantastic (if not epic) idea, but failed to explore it to the fullest. Which is kind of sad, because this book could have been so much better! But then again, it's not really a YA Science Fiction, it's a sweet little contemporary novel with some vague sci fi elements, and no aspirations whatsoever to be anything grander than that. Not to mention that the plot line had more holes than a Swiss cheese. For instance, when Emma learns (on Facebook) that her best friend, Kellan, is about to get pregnant, she freaks out and is wrecking her brain for ways to prevent it. What happens next? Well, nothing. The whole plot line is dropped, as if it never really existed. Same goes for Josh and the plot line involving his brother (Josh learns on Facebook that his brother is gay). Instead of focusing time and energy on developing the main characters and their story, the authors decided to start a bunch of meaningless subplots that didn't even get resolved in the end. The sad part is, I really liked the subplots and would love for them to be properly concluded. Bummer!
Same goes for the characters. Let's face it, they both kind of fail as reasonable human beings. Josh is a sulky little kid, who doesn't know how to fight for the girl he supposedly secretly loved and admired for God knows how long. Gee, you got rejected once, is running away and hiding for the rest of your life the best you can come up with? Why not try harder to win her heart instead? Why not step up and invite her on a date, sweet-talk her a little, show her you're serious about this relationship? Not that she deserves that or anything, cause Emma is an even weirder creature. She's immature, self-absorbed and unlikable. All she cares about is how hot a husband she'll end up with and if there will be a nice picket fence around their cute little house. And nothing else matters. And she's picky, too. No one is good enough for her. The whole thing is basically about Emma changing her future to ensure she'll end up with a good-enough husband. Ugh, talk about frustration!
Thankfully, there are some aspects of this book that I genuinely liked. For example, the narration is very smooth and enjoyable. It alternates between Emma's and Josh's POV and makes for quite a pleasant read. I also enjoyed going back in time to the 90's and remembering how different life was just the 15-or-so years ago. Your first computer. Your first ventures into the World Wide Web. Receiving your very first e-mails! Good times! Overall, although it might not be THE best YA book out there, The Future Of Us is still a fairly fun, quick and enjoyable read. It has its own charm, and, being extremely readable as it is, I'm sure it will prove to be as entertaining for you, as it was for me!
This Young Adult novel is constructed on an intriguingly charming premise—what if a 16 year-old girl logged on to the Internet (via AOL) in 1996 and stumbled upon Facebook, circa 2011? And what if she wasn’t quite pleased with what she discovered about her future self? And what if she shared her discovery with her next-door neighbor/best friend/inevitable future romantic partner and they simply didn’t know what to do about their newfound ability to peer into the future?
Told over the course of six consecutive days in a dual narrative format, with Emma and Josh (the young couple) alternating chapters, The Future of Us is a clever idea for a story in search of an actual plot. As one would expect from a YA novel, witty exchanges abound, friends date and break up, Emma moons over the hot jock (who—surprise!—turns out to be a jerk), Josh worries over the super-beautiful student council president, and there’s lots of talk of sex and curfews and skateboarding and bonfires and all of the other typical adolescent angst…all of which pretty much marginalizes the magical premise upon which the story is reputedly built. The idea of teenagers being able to literally see their futures is fraught with all kinds of creative narrative potential, but the plot devolves into Emma’s numerous attempts to alter her apparently unhappy future—all to no avail—until she comes to the rather pedestrian conclusion (once Facebook disappears from her Internet connection) that it’s pointless to worry about the future because what’s important is the present.
On a metaphorical level, the story implies that taking deliberate action to shape the future is futile—and if you can’t see the future, that means you don’t have to worry about it. And I’m not quite sure that’s a very healthy or empowering message to send to Young Adults.
on February 16, 2016
The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler was such a fun story! Those of you that were in high school during the 1990's need to read this book. It is the perfect read if you're feeling nostalgic and want to reminisce about your teen years.
Josh and Emma grew up next door to one another. They have always been best of friends, but six months ago everything changed between them. They still casually hang out in a group at school with their good friends Kellan and Tyson, but they aren't close like they use to be.
Then, Emma gets a new computer from her father, and Josh's mom sends him next door to give Emma an AOL CD to receive 50 hours of free internet. However, when Emma logs on to her new computer, it takes her onto a website that she's never heard about before; Facebook. On Facebook, it is no longer 1996, but 2011. At first, Emma and Josh think someone is pranking them. However, after further investigation, they realize that Facebook is not a prank, and is indeed revealing fifteen years into their future.
Soon after, Emma becomes obsessed with having the perfect future. Josh and Emma realize with every action, there is a ripple effect or consequence. As Emma keeps doing things to try to improve her future, she only seems to be making it worse, while Josh is excited to see that his appears to be everything that he could possibly want. As Emma and Josh begin to change their present circumstances, they learn what is most important in their lives and how to live in the present.
The Future of Us took me back to the days when I was living at home with my siblings and parents, and dreaming about becoming an adult. What would my husband be like? What career would I have? Would I be happy? The future was bright, and the possibilities were endless. It's ironic that now, I look back on my teenage years and feel nostalgic. I think about my innocence, lack of responsibilities, and my friendships. As I get older, I find myself reminiscing about the good ole' days. As a teen, I was in such a hurry to grow up, but as an adult, I realize how special and fleeting youth was.
Mr. Asher and Ms. Mackler did an excellent job of taking me back to the 90's. So many pop culture references made me feel as though I was traveling to my past. These authors nailed the technology, music, and general lifestyle of the late 1990's. I appreciated the two main themes in the story. One was to live in and appreciate the present, and the other was that sometimes we take the most important things in our lives for granted. We need to appreciate what we have, because if we don't, we just might lose it.
Josh and Emma were both great characters. The authors nailed the teen voice perfectly. Josh was a sweet heart. I thought he was a wonderful friend, and I loved reading from his point of view. Emma came off as a bit self-centered, but she didn't mean to be. I think she was unaware of how her actions effected others. I enjoyed watching her mature and grow as a character. I also loved the secondary characters Kellan and Tyson. Kellan was optimistic, bubbly, loyal and kind. Tyson was goofy, fun, a very loyal friend, and a typical teenage boy.
The Future of Us was a quick read, and a really fun book to get lost in. I recommend it to those of you who grew up in the late 1990's, and would like to take a walk down memory lane. This story was unique, and I really enjoyed the fresh concept. I give, The Future of Us, by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, 4 A Glimpse into the Future, Best Friends, Growing Up, and Learning What's Most Important Filled Stars!!!
on June 7, 2013
The idea of writing about a social network, facebook, and connecting it to the future is a very creative idea. I had really high hopes for this book, and being a huge fan of 13 Reasons Why (Asher) I thought that this book would be an easy read. Well..not exactly. The good news is that I did finish the book! Some books are so dull that I have to stop mid way through. This one wasn't one of those books that I finished in one night or anything, but I eventually finished it. Then again, forcing myself to finish a book is never a good sign.
First of all, the characters were dull and unrealistic. I couldn't stand Emma throughout most of the book-she was so whinny, and unsure of what she wanted. Because she is one of the main characters of the story, I expected to have some sort of connection with her but towards the end I didn't care what was going to happen to her. The other main character, Josh (I had to look it up because I forgot his name-another bad sign), was better. He was sweet and very kind, he had this goodness about him that I find very rare in people. I did care about his ending. Also, the dialogues seemed so...forced, and didn't really have any flow. I found Josh's best friend, whatever his name was because I can't remember right now, to be super annoying and tried too hard to be cool.
Secondly, nothing SUPER exciting happens...like at all. The characters were mostly concern about their love life, and what was going to happen in the future. They did little things to change it, but that's it. I know the main theme is to not mess with the future, but come on...
Lastly, the idea for this book had so much promise. There were so many different routes the authors could have taken, but the ending was so obvious, like painfully obvious. There were SO MANY unanswered questions *semi spoilers* like: was ______ pregnant? was _______ really homosexual? ect, ect. I suppose it is to let the readers know that the future is the future, but the main characters KNOWING these things before hand...wouldn't that already alter the future?
Overall, this book is...okay. Limp story line, mediocre language, and unlikable characters.
on December 9, 2011
By Sydnee Thompson
Everyone hates considering the fact that they might end up miserable and lonely in their future. But the real question is: if you knew exactly what your future held, what would you do about it?
The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler details a week in the lives of two high school students, Emma and Josh, after their discovery of the Internet in 1996. When Emma downloads her copy of AOL and logs on, she finds an odd site called "Facebook" that shows photos and updates from a woman who looks strangely like her. Somehow, she's stumbled upon her life on the Internet fifteen years into the future--and it ain't exactly pretty. She's in a broken marriage to a man who spends all her money, she suffers from depression, and, worst of all, some unknown, horrible thing has happened to the planet Pluto.
Thinking the website is an elaborate hoax, Emma shows Facebook to her estranged best friend, Josh. Josh and Emma's friendship fell to pieces months earlier when Josh admitted to having a crush on Emma. She didn't return his feelings, and since then, their relationship hasn't been the same. When Josh looks at his future self's Facebook profile, he finds that his fate is much brighter-he's married to the most popular, beautiful girl in school, Sydney Mills, and they have three children and a fancy mansion on the lake. Teenaged Emma decides to take matters into her own hands and change her future for the better, and Josh, who thinks even the slightest ripple will ruin his future with Sydney, tries to stop her.
Honestly, this is probably the most realistic horror story I've ever read. I think about my future a lot, but it's not exactly something I enjoy doing. The last thing I need to know is that in fifteen years I'll be bored to death at an unfulfilling desk job, or that I'll be living happily as an author, but doing so in the cramped backseat of my car. Despite my initial misgivings, however, the concept of The Future of Us is a really interesting one.
Still, it doesn't translate well to the page. A book like this should be full of character development, but it's just not there. In fact, Emma's journey toward maturity and a stable sense of self seems inconsistent at best and flimsy at worst. During the rising action of the novel, Emma reaches the conclusion that the reason she's unhappy both in the present and the future is because she doesn't allow people (namely, romantic interests) to get close to her, and, if she would, those people would make her happy. But I never picked up on this while reading. In fact, Emma's romantic misery seems to be because her choice in boys is horrid, not because those boys have all the potential in the world and she just doesn't let them get close enough to see it. Maybe the authors picked that explanation out of the air because they needed a new plot point, or maybe this idea was more prevalent in previous drafts but somehow got thrown out in the editing process. Either way, Emma's revelation loses impact when not backed up by convincing relationships.
The Future of Us teaches the important, if predictable, lesson that we should live in the moment instead of stressing too much about the future, but it's a lesson without much of a secondary impression. The novel is a neat remix on an old theme, but the scenes and characters appear disconnected from each other without any meaningful interaction, and the book as a whole suffers for it. If the novel used some of Carolyn Mackler's amazing humor I'd have a much higher opinion, but her signature wit is sadly nonexistent here. The romantic tension and interesting premise in The Future of Us kept me reading, but I felt indifferent to the fates of the characters.
on July 15, 2012
"The Future of Us," by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, was a book I had high hopes for. Though I'm not familiar with Carolyn Mackler, Jay Asher is the author of "13 Reasons Why," a groundbreaking book on suicide and how even the little things we do, the little way we interact with others can have profound impacts on their lives.
"The Future of Us" is a different sort of book, more of a romantic comedy than anything, but also a serious book that deals with issues of fate and what if anything should be done if we had knowledge of the future. The premise is that Emma and Josh, friends living in the 1990s, discover a portal to something called Facebook when installing AOL on Emma's computer.
As someone who was a teenager in the 90s, I appreciated all the pop-culture references, from dial-up modems hogging the phone line, to listening to Green Day's Dookie and Dave Matthews. After a while the references get to be a little too much and all of the references will go over the head of any teenager reading the book today.
As Josh and Emma explore their future selves, or what they can discern about their future selves via Facebook, they realize that even the littlest changes in their current lives can have a massive impact on their future lives.
Though "The Future of Us" did not have the emotional impact of Jay Asher's other book, it was an enjoyable read with mostly intelligent kids making good decisions.