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The Future of Us – A Book Review

Last night, I finished reading The Future of Us, by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler…

A few things drew me to this book.

First of all, its main characters are high schoolers.

I’m all about young adult fiction these days.

The second thing that drew me was the theme of the book…what do you do when you catch a glimpse of your future?

The book takes place in 1996.  It tells the story of two best friends, Emma and Josh.  Their friendship hit a snag six months before when Josh makes a move on his best friend, wanting to escalate the relationship beyond friend status.

When Emma is given a new computer, Josh walks over with an AOL CD he received in the mail (remember those days?).  He’s not allowed to install it on his computer because his parents don’t believe in making the internet available at will.  Emma’s mom is supportive though, figuring it will help Emma with her homework.

After Emma signs on to AOL for the first time, she sees another window and is asked for her password.

She enters the one she uses for everything and…VOILA…she’s taken to a blue and white screen with the word “Facebook” at the top.

Remember that it’s 1996, and Facebook hasn’t been invented yet.

She doesn’t understand what she’s seeing…at first has no idea what the status updates are about; however, it doesn’t take her long to figure things out.

She gets a peek at who she’s married to and who she’s friends with (not to mention who she’s NOT friends with).

Out of curiosity, she looks up Josh’s name, and finds out he’s married and has children.

She and Josh temporarily mend their friendship as they wade through the waters uncertainty and fear while figuring out why their futures keep changing each day.

Through the process, they discover a lot about their present-day selves.

My Thoughts

First off the bat, I loved all of the references to pop culture from the 90’s.  Emma runs with a Discman strapped to her arm.  How funny, eh?  To access the internet, you had to use dial-up, tying up the phone line (boy do I remember that!!).  Emma has to go to the library to get a phone book with California phone numbers (as opposed to going to Whitepages.com).  The mere mention of Wayne’s World, which I never saw, made me giggle.  I also had to chuckle when I read that one of the boys had a beeper and had to find a pay phone to call his girlfriend when she beeped him.  Oh, and there was no LOL back then.  LOL!

Now to the less-superficial part of my review.

I had made the mistake of taking a peek at some of the reviews on GoodReads.com, a site where I keep track of my books.

Some of the people were in disbelief at how shallow Emma comes across and how the characters don’t have much depth.

I am a teacher…

Of high school students.

I’ve seen how ridiculously shallow kids can be.

Heck…I remember what it was like to be a teenager.

Teaching school has taken me back to the angst that accompanies these drama-filled years.

Here’s the thing, though.

Emma GROWS during the time she’s allowed to look into the future.

She discovers things about herself that some people never figure out during their lives.

Josh learns a few lessons along the way as well; however, he is much more grounded than Emma.

I flew through this book.  I couldn’t wait to read about what Emma was going to do next to try to change her future.

I made predictions along the way.

I kept thinking about how much my students would relate to this book with so much of their lives yet to live.

I think this book sends a good message about how the decisions we make today impact our futures.

I think the book also provides a strong warning to not obsess about the future but to enjoy the moment and trust your instincts.

As I closed the cover on this book last night, I couldn’t help but think about my own children as they face their own unwritten futures…unwritten but not unknown to the Lord.

My babies are going to ask some of the same hard questions of themselves, and they’re going to want to look into the future to try to make decisions easier.

Knowing wouldn’t help though as we’d only try to avoid doing those things that would shape our futures the most.

Overall, although I wouldn’t go to this book if I wanted to get down and dirty with the brain thinking thing, it was a pleasure to read, and it’s been fun to chew on some of the questions that the book makes you ask of yourself.

I think it would make a great addition to any young adult’s library.

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One Response

  1. I hadn’t heard of this book but your review was really interesting. Having reconnected with High School friends on Facebook myself now, and getting a glimpse of who they have become made me identify in a backwards sort of way with the story. Thanks!

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