Friday, January 6, 2012

Digital Get Down • The Future of Us

The Future of Us book cover
The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: November 21, 2011
Source/Format: Christy @ The Reader Bee (Thanks!) || ARC

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.


From the moment I heard about The Future of Us, I was instantly intrigued. I mean a book about teens in 1996 who discover Facebook's existence before it's time? It's an intriguing premise and I wanted to find out just what would happen.

Though I didn't enjoy the novel nearly as much as I thought I would, it still scores high marks with me for its overall message. Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler get some important points about personal exposure on Facebook and the limitations of what you show others online out there, and I definitely have to commend them for that.

The Characters

The Future of Us revolves around Emma and Josh, who are best friends.

Emma is a little bit older than Josh, and I think this becomes fairly apparent by the way she (initially) acts around him. Though he's been her friend for a while, I could feel a hint of a superiority complex in her actions on occasion. She's also seems to be your typical teenager, who fantasizes about things falling into place perfectly in her life. And I got a LOT frustrated with how dense or how selfish she could be at times.

Josh, however, I liked a whole lot more. He's portrayed as an intelligent skater boy, who cares a lot about his friends. He came across, for the most part, as the boy next door type and I feel like he had a much more down-to-earth and realistic mindset. There are also parts where I kind of wanted to smack him (playfully) but overall, I much preferred him to Emma.

I did like however two of the secondary characters, their other best friends Kellan and Tyson. Despite having only very brief appearances, I thought they were really interesting characters who added a great dimension to the novel.

The Story

The premise of the entire story is intriguing, and it definitely is the main focus of the whole plot. What I could appreciate, however, is that, the relationship between Emma and Josh is also tied towards the plot - it appears to shift and change as they learn more about the mysterious Facebook site.

It is, however, the message that I personally got from the novel that stayed with me afterwards. Though it didn't sound preachy in the slightest, nor did it openly suggest any of these thoughts, I felt there were two core messages that I took away from reading this:

1. The future is something that cannot be predicted down to the last miniscule detail. A single choice we make can change things.

2. What you show online (like on your Facebook profile) will never completely reveal who you are, simply because you can decide what to present.

These messages are practical and true, and it's great to me personally to be reminded of these things. This, in fact, is mostly why I liked the novel in the end.

The Writing Style

One of the best aspects of this novel's style is the alternating points of view. They allowed us, as this practice often does, an insight into both characters and their thoughts on the situation they were facing. I like reading books with alternating points of view quite a lot, to be honest, so this adds to the book's positive qualities for sure.

The book and the events in it, despite being slightly fantastical, is actually portrayed realistically, since most of the things that transpire really do happen in high school. I also like the fact that there is one repetitive presence in the novel (Facebook) that is actually changed by whatever Emma or Josh says or does in real life.

Personally, I say you should...

... read this novel if you're interested in novels that revolve around a "what if" situation, or novels that have a very subtle social commentary. Though I'm in no rush to add a finished copy to my bookshelf, I thought it was an interesting and different sort of read.

10 comments:

  1. I really like Carolyn Mackler and Jay Asher too so I will definitely be reading this! And I enjoy books written from multiple POVs too.

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  2. Ok but seriously though, this premise is amaaaz. I think I still want to read it just for that reason alone.

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  3. It might just be me! I mean, I did just read an ARC so there may be differences between what you read and what I read :)

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  4. It is a good premise! And it's definitely worth a read.

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  5. I'm glad you liked it! And yes, you should definitely read it, but there's no need to put it right at the top of your TBR :)

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  6. I just got this from the library, so I will wait to read your review

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  7. Ah! I'm super nervous now because I just bought this book this week with B&N's sale. It's sort of a leap for me to just buy a book like this out of nowhere. Thanks for the honest review and I'm hoping it is a worthwhile read when I finally get to it! :) Happy Friday!

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  8. I was kind of let down by this one, too. I enjoyed it because of the flashbacks I had to 1996, but the rest of the story was kind of meh. I wanted so badly for this to be awesome and it wasn't. Great review, though!

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  9. This is a really great review that doesn't get all spoilery. Thanks! I think I might have to add this one to my TBR list (just not to the top of the list :) )

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  10. I just picked this one up (after having waited literally years to buy it) so I'm glad to see that while there were some ~issues~ with it, you mostly enjoyed it! I am pretty excited to read it now!

    Jamie @ Books and Ladders

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Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)

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