Review: The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

Title: The Future of Us
Authors: Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: November 21, 2011
Links: Amazon | Goodreads
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers
It's 1996, and less than half of all American high school students have ever used the Internet.

Emma just got her first computer and an America Online CD-ROM. Josh is her best friend. They power up and log on - and discover themselves on Facebook, 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.

Everybody wonders what their destiny will be. Josh and Emma are about to find out...
I hate Facebook a lot. And I'm not a big fan of pop-culture in books. And so I wasn't sure if I would like The Future of Us. But Facebook isn't as plot-consuming as I was worried it would be, and the story is actually pretty cute. I do wonder, though, if the Facebook parts of the book cause it to lose some of its relevance or become outdated to readers after a while.

Emma is just a normal, average, everyday teen. She is avoiding dumping her convenient boyfriend. She plays the saxophone and runs track. She has some slightly sucky family situations. She isn't sure about what she wants to be, but she has some ideas. When she sees her future, she starts to wonder if maybe she's on a path to an unhappy life and starts trying to change it, rolling the dice and seeing what future life comes up next. Josh, best friend and boy next door, likes skateboarding and Emma and his Facebook future. He has overprotective parents. He thinks that his and Emma's futures should be handled delicately, and he becomes frustrated with Emma's recklessness. They're both easy to follow protagonists. Each one has faults that could potentially make them frustrating, but also realistic. The secondary characters in this one are mostly awesome. Their two best friends are especially so. They have a great deal of depth to them, as well as an amazing story of their own.

The plot of The Future of Us is a fun one that is also a little bit horrifying if you stop to think about it. Every action that Emma and Josh take is a potentially future-changing event. And they witness these changes. Spouses change. Careers change. Children that exist in one future do not exist in another. It's heartbreaking to think that a person's existence depends upon a choice that one makes as a teenager. These things are not giant, depressing downers in the story, but Josh and Emma do have a couple of moments wherein they realize that their decisions can make huge impacts. The story only skims the surface of the magnitude of these consequences and, though the characters do have those reflective moments, the tone of the book remains lighthearted. While part of me does wish that the story had delved deeper into the disturbing aspect of seeing what changes are wrought, this lighthearted approach is the better one for this book and its target audience.

The Future of Us has a steady, relaxed pace throughout, but is a quick read. It is written from the alternating points of view of Emma and Josh. It raises some questions regarding living for the future vs. living for right now. It didn't totally wow me, but it's an adorable book and a quick, fun read, nonetheless. The ending is predictable but satisfying. I'd recommend it to fans of other dual narratives (such as Dash & Lily's Book of Dares and Will Grayson, Will Grayson), those who would love a bit of 1990s nostalgia, and fans of cute, contemporary YA novels with a dash of science fiction.


  1. Yeah, can you imagine a book about myspace? How irrelevant it would be today? I'm not sure I would enjoy this one. Facebook is kinda out for me. It was fun when I was a kid and I get addicted to some of the games, but yeah hate it. So unless it's like completely minor part of the book I'd dislike it.

    I like that it shows every choice has a consequence and don't find it all that scary. Every person's actions affect people in ways the originator of the action has no clue about.

    So yeah, I'm on the fence about reading this one.

    Sorry, that was long winded.

  2. I love the sound of this one! I'm a bit wary about the ending (not a huge fan of the ones that are left open) but I love the whole concept, and the romance bits sounds great. Thanks for the great review! :)


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