Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 5th 2012 by Simon & Schuster Childrens Books
My shelves: books-i-own, contemporary, magical-realism,
read-in-2012, sci-fi, young-adult
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Description via Goodreads
It's 1996 and less than half of all American high school students have ever used the Internet. Facebook will not be invented for several more years. Emma just got a computer and an America Online CD-ROM with 100 free hours. When she and her best friend Josh log on to AOL they discover themselves on Facebook... fifteen years in the future. Everybody wonders what life has in store for them. Josh and Emma are about to find out.
I was a little weary of picking this book up after having some issues with a central character, Hannah, in Asher's Thirteen Reason Why, and not having read anything by Mackler before. However, as soon as I heard the premise of this book, I knew it was something that I just had to pick up - it sounded extremely interesting, relevant and fun.
The Future of Us is set in the 90's, when the internet is relatively new and it's a very exciting thing for our two protagonists, Emma and Josh. Using an AOL CD-ROM, they open the internet and discover Facebook, which shows them, their friends and family, fifteen years in the future. I am a 90's kid and a lover of Facebook, so these things combined meant a book that I could relate to and that I could really get stuck into. Sure enough, this novel provided me with great memories of the 90's and it really hit-home how much we have all been changed by technology.
The Future of Us definitely shows how much technology has changed and how it has affected our lives. It is definitely interesting to sit back and be shown the comparison from the 90's to now and how in such a short period of time, our lives have changed and we've become more open about displaying things on the internet. It's also fascinating to ask yourself whether or not you'd like to see yourself in the future and after reading this, I don't think I would.
I really liked Emma and Josh as they felt like very genuine people. I especially liked Josh - he was down to earth and had a well-rounded personality of someone that I'd really like to be friends with. Emma was a little annoying at points, but this aspect of her personality definitely contributed to the story and helped towards exploring more issues that Facebook could create. Their friendship, although difficult at times, certainly felt real and it was interesting to see how, together, they coped with the discovery of something so life affecting.
I did like reading about Emma's best friend, Kellan, and how Emma would deal with certain situations regarding her after she had discovered her future, but I think that it would've been nice to see how they interacted together more. Tyson, Kellan's on-off romance, was a little underdeveloped but was still a good addition to the story.
The only issue with this book was that, when Emma and Josh were changing their future, I was a little confused as to exactly how it affected the present, past and future. I don't think that this was made clear enough to the reader and so at points it did seem a little messy and it could've perhaps been handled or explored slightly better. I also think that sometimes Emma jumped to conclusions about what her future-self was thinking or feeling - though maybe this is because she was not fully aware that you can't get the whole story from a short Facebook status.
In conclusion, I really did enjoy this book and it's something that I would recommend, especially to those slightly older Young Adults who can remember the first days of the internet. This book has a unique, intriguing idea, is hugely compelling and I found it very difficult to put down.