The Future of Us by Jay Ashler and Carolyn Mackler
By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis
Category: Young Adult Fiction
Authors: Jay Ashler and Carolyn Mackler
Format: Hardcover, 356 pages
Publisher: RazorBill (imprint of Penguin Books)
Pub Date: November 22, 2011
The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler is a young adult book about two neighbours and best friends, Emma Nelson and Josh Templeton. The two high school students grow up together, had a fallout, and then were reunited as friends through the discovery of the application Facebook while installing an AOL program onto Emma’s new computer.
The problem is, Facebook does not yet exist in their time and its discovery not only foretells both of their futures, but also immediately affects their decision-making and actions as they purposefully discover knowledge about their futures based on random photos, friend lists, and obscure status lines on Facebook.
The premise of the story is good and the narrative, easily readable except an explanation of how or why Emma and Josh gain access to the knowledge of their futures through Facebook is unfortunately never revealed. Instead it happens quite illogically.
I wish I could say that the book is a coming of age story, but I was so greatly disappointed in the character, Emma, who I found to be selfish, self-indulgent, and extremely immature against the partnership of the character Josh, who was quite mature for a boy in his teens, a boy who loves skateboarding, but who is also emotionally mature enough to be open with himself and others about his feelings, even in doubt, and even when he needed to contact his older brother, David, for advice when he was unsure of himself or his choices.
The secondary characters found in Tyson, Kellan, Graham, Cody, and Sydney were typical characterizations of young, American kids, which was fine and also grounded the book with as much realism as it could afford, and compared to Emma’s character, and in my opinion, lack of development, made the book bearable.
If anything, it was the easy read coupled with Josh Templeton’s likeable character that salvaged this little teenaged love story for me. The Future of Us would not have had much of a future on my bookshelf, otherwise.
For a light read about teenage friendship and what turmoil knowledge of a future can bring—so long as you can tolerate the immaturity and self-indulgence in one of the main characters—this book is a fun little story about the enduring bond of friendship, the technical mishaps and foretelling of the advancement in technology, and the importance of choices made in the present.
A special thank you to RazorBill, an imprint of Penguin Books for providing me with a media copy in exchange for an unpaid, honest review.