Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Book Review: The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn't been invented yet. And they're looking at themselves 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.
My thoughts:
There is so much I loved about this book that I don't even know where to start. First, it's Jay Asher! Thirteen Reasons Why is my all time favorite young adult contemporary, and so I will always pick up any book I see with his name on it. Second, I loved the '90s. I remember the first time I got to use the Internet at our school computer, the first time I signed up for an email account, and even if it was ten years later; signing up for Facebook. But let me get to my review.

I was a little skeptical to the author collaboration as I've never read anything by Carolyn Mackler, but I could honestly not tell who had written what. The chapters alternate between Josh and Emma, and I loved how they each had their own distinct voice. I especially connected to Emma, because I saw so much of myself in her. I am exactly the kind of girl who would obsess about every little detail of both the future and the present, over-analyze every status update, and try hard to change things if I wasn't perfectly happy with them. Josh gave some comic relief to otherwise serious situations, and I just adored the way he changed his behavior after first seeing his Facebook future.

The ending was slightly predictable, but the journey to get there was not. I was just as excited as Josh and Emma to see how their Facebook profiles would change every time they logged on, and the different romances and crushes were so much fun. Yet despite all the normal teenager-y everyday action, what really got to me was the bigger questions. If you knew your future, would you try to change it? Would you obsess over your future to the point that you're no longer living in the present? And why on Earth do we feel the need to share with hundreds of "friends" online what we just had for dinner?

The Future of Us is a great read filled with fun, friendship and thoughts of the future, and if you were a teenager in the '90s I'm sure you'll exclaim "ohmygod, I had/did/read/heard that too!" more than once.

Very Internet-ish, but perhaps not the most exciting.

My rating of this book:
Want to know more?
Add The Future of Us to your Goodreads wish list
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Follow Carolyn on Twitter

Full disclosure:
Purchased at my local bookstore.

This book can be purchased from a number of local retailers and online book stores like Amazon and The Book Depository (I'm not an affiliate of either). The latter store has free shipping to about 100 countries.


  1. I'm glad to hear you liked this book so much. I've been wanting to read this book for a while and I haven't got around to it yet.

    I love looking back on the 90s as well. It's so neat reading about things you experienced first hand.

  2. Fantastic review! This is actually my first taste of Jay Asher, so I'm excited to see what he's like. I just started reading this, so you've amde me even more excited to dive in deep and uncover all the 90's awesomeness!! Love the idea for this story, so cool.

  3. I meant to request this from the site I review for and someone beat me to it - kicking myself even more now! Great review, I definitely need to get my hands on it soon.

  4. I mean to comment yesterday but went to bed and now I can't remember what I meant to say ;)

  5. I have never read anything by either of these authors- but since Jay Asher is a favorite of yours-I guess I should start! This book sounds very interesting and I like the concept. I remember getting those AOL cds in the mail all the time. I think taking a stroll down memory lane would be fun and the book brings up some intriguing questions. Knowing your future could be dangerous. Maybe something that you think would be a bad relationship (you date someone you don't presently like now) would actually be the best relationship you could ever hope for. I added this book to my list after reading this review and I cannot wait to read it!


  6. I do think this story makes light of everything. There are so many areas this story could have touched upon that would have made it darker. But, it's just a fun story that really makes you think about what you are doing right now might have some sort of effect on the future. I'm not sure how much today's teens will identify with the idea of no internet and few cellphones. But, I think adults who like to read young adult will totally get a kick out of this book!


Thank you for sharing your thoughts =)