Book Reviews

[review] The Future of Us – Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

Release Date: November 21, 2011
Publisher: Razorbill
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 322
Format: Hardcover
Source: ARC received from Lenore

It’s 1996, and less than half of all American high school students have ever used the Internet.

Emma just got her first computer and an America Online CD-ROM.

Josh is her best friend. They power up and log on–and discover themselves on Facebook, fifteen years in the future.

Everybody wonders what their Destiny will be. Josh and Emma are about to find out.

Discovery: Ever since I first saw the synopsis for this book in May, I’ve been dying to read it. The 90s kid in me had a veritable party when I won an ARC from Lenore!

+     Themes. The plot is fairly straightforward: Emma and Josh try out the internet for the first time–I’m pretty sure all you 20-somethings can already hear the sharp dial tone–and find their Facebook pages, 15 years into the future. The story is appealing to both the young and young at heart, because who isn’t even a tiny bit curious about their future selves? Emma and Josh quickly discover that the internet is like life itself–seemingly easy to understand but lots of hidden catches hang around to trip you up.

Emma is exactly the kind of stubborn and inquisitive teenager many of us were once upon a time. It’s easy for the reader to understand why she might want to take control of her life, and the difficulties she has with those consequences. Josh is a rational and kind boy who isn’t quite sure of himself, and learns how to be more confident in the course of the novel. The Future of Us is about the power of choices and beliefs, both of which hold an immeasurable influence on all of us.

+/-     Nostalgia. In 1996, I was eight years old. I was about six months away from getting my very first computer (a Compaq Presario with Windows 95) and that famous America Online CD-ROM. Reading this book was like waking up in my old room again, with Saturday morning cartoons and Dunkaroos on the kitchen counter.  That said, I would be the first to admit that this novel isn’t going to appeal to everyone. For one, the pop culture references can sometimes be unintelligible for younger readers who didn’t grow up during the 90s. There are pages where they come one right after another and if you constantly have to look up the people, places and things that are mentioned, it can take away from the experience.

Recommendations: My generation (the 20-something crowd) will definitely enjoy the throwbacks to our childhood games and experiences.

Rating: Good.

Go visit  Jay Asher at his website and follow him on Twitter @jayasherguy.

Carolyn Mackler can be found at her website and she loves tweeting over at @carolynmackler.

You can check out The Future of Us on Goodreads and order it over at Amazon and Book Depository.

Next review: Between the Sea & Sky, Jaclyn Dolamore


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