Tuesday, February 7, 2012
The Book Addict Reviews: The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction,
Order Online: Amazon.com
Author Info: Jay Asher's Blog | Carolyn Mackler's website | Jay Asher's Goodreads | Carolyn Mackler's Goodreads
Rating: 3 stars
Borrowed book from the library.
In A Nutshell:
I will never look at Facebook the same way again--or maybe it is more accurate to say I wish I had had the access that Josh and Emma had into Facebook and into my future when I was in high school (although I seriously think I would have searched out the opportunity to invest before Facebook hit big!). Overall, I liked the book but I do not feel that it will stick with me nearly as much as Th1rteen R3asons Why did.
Josh and Emma have lived next door to each other their whole lives. For most of that time, they have also been best friends. Until last November when Josh revealed that he had a crush on Emma. From that moment everything changed--became more awkward--and they have b. Until Josh's family gets a free America Online CD-ROM in the mail and have him offer it to Emma who just got a computer. When she installs AOL on her computer, it opens "Facebook," a website they have never heard of. Quickly they realize that Facebook is something from the future--and they are seeing where they will be in fifteen years. Through a series of trial and error, they begin to realize that things they do today have major effects on their future lives.
I got a kick out of how Emma and Josh talk about technology in 1996. Cell phones were unusual--only one teen has one in this book. The AOL CD is going to take so long to download that Emma can do some other things while it is downloading, so she decides to put on her walkman and pull her hair up in a scrunchie to go for a run. Facebook is a complicated website filled with lots of personal (and yet superficial) information and cryptic status updates. There was a little bit of a nostalgic feel that made me reminiscence about this time in my life which I found charming--but it also made me look at all of the technology around me differently. Like right now, I am at McDonalds writing this review on my laptop using wifi. In 1996, this action would have been unheard of.
I love that this book is written from two different perspectives: Emma and Josh. This story focuses on their lives both present and the effect of their present decisions on their future. And with the two distinct perspectives on the events, we get to see the cause and effect reactions of each of their actions--and the emotions that they tie to the events that are hard for them to admit to even to themselves. I felt like this insight was important to the book, particularly for Emma's character. There were many instances where I thought she was very shallow, but seeing her motivation and then seeing how Josh sees her (and why he loves her) helped me to like her more. I think telling this story from a third person perspective would have made it very difficult for me to like Emma much at all.
I do wish that we got a little more of Tyson and Kellan's perspectives as well because I felt like there was a lot more to their story than met the eye or the awareness of either Emma or Jacob. Or it could have been with everything going on with Emma, Josh, and Facebook they missed a lot of the details. In some ways I wonder if Tyson and Kellan's story was inadvertently affected by Facebook too? With Emma and Josh so focused on their futures, what did they miss? Were they not available for their friends when Tyson and Kellan needed them? Was it a good thing that Tyson and Kellan got together or not? I do not know, but I was intrigued and wanted to know more. I felt like there were a lot of holes in this side story.
This book felt more to me like a realistic fiction than a science fiction. The science fiction element did not cause the changes in the characters as much as it a catalyst for the change. Facebook gave them glimpses into the future--showed them that their actions and decisions today had a profound effect on their future happiness. Their story unfolded as they reacted to the changes they saw in their future lives--and determined how they want to define happiness in the future.
Before reading this book, I had only read Jay Asher's work (particularly Th1rteen R3asons Why which I loved). After reading this book I am still a huge fan of Jay Asher, but now I want to read more of Carolyn Mackler's books: