Bookanista Recommendation: THE FUTURE OF US

Today’s Bookanista recommendation: The Future of Us, by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

From Goodreads: 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.

Honest Moment: I had my concerns about this book. While I’ve enjoyed work by Jay Asher and Carolyne Mackler in the past, I worried that The Future of Us might come off as too preachy. Live for the moment, appreciate the life you have, you never know quite what the future holds… I wondered if these lessons might be too prevalent–too in your face–to make for a compelling story.

Luckily, while the themes I mentioned above are obvious within the pages of The Future of Us, they certainly don’t get in the way of an entertaining story. Quite the opposite, in fact! Here’s what I loved:

1. The unique and vibrant voices of Josh and Emma, a dual narration pulled off  flawlessly by two incredible contemporary authors.

2. Josh’s wit and the dry-but-spot-on observations he makes about what’s going on around him, especially the bits concerning his peers. He made me laugh out loud repeatedly!

3. All the nineties throw-back references: Scrunchies, Cindy Crawford, Sony Discmans (Discmen?),  answering machines, Dave Matthews Band, “You’ve got mail!” Such a fun blast from the past for this ’99 grad!

4. Clear character arcs that make sense. Sure, they happen fairly quickly (the story takes place in less than a week), but I believed in the changes that occurred within both Josh and Emma.

5. The sort of cheeky examination of Facebook and how it’s changed our society. Why ARE people posting about what they had for dinner, or–worse–venting their deep, dark, often inappropriate secrets?

All in all, I had a blast reading The Future of Us. It was fun to reflect on how much things have changed in a decade and a half, and to contemplate the what-would-I-do scenarios that could have played out if I’d been in Josh and Emma’s shoes when I was in high school.

What about you? If you had the opportunity to see fifteen years into YOUR future, would you want to?

And don’t forget to visit the other Bookanistas today!

Elana Johnson takes a shine to A MILLION SUNS
Jessi Kirby devours BITTERSWEET
Veronica Rossi  is in a frenzy over FRACTURE
Stasia Ward Kehoe sends Santa her YA book wish list
Shannon Whitney Messenger adores UNDER THE NEVER SKY with giveaway!

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20 responses to “Bookanista Recommendation: THE FUTURE OF US

  1. Heck yes, I would! I’d be 38 (oh my gawsh), so obviously I’d need to know whether I was married, had kids, in a happy career, published. I could easily see myself getting trapped in a feedback loop though, where I’m so busy trying to get on the ‘best’ life path that I’m constantly altering my trajectory and never really occupying the present.

    • That Facebook loop is sort of what one of the characters in this book went through… it was miserable! I love that you’ve no qualms about admitting that you’d peek at the future, Sophia! Hopefully it would be a fantastic one! 🙂

  2. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book! My daughter flew through it in two days and my students that have read Thirteen Reasons Why were super stoked once I read them the premise. Awesome review and highlights, Katy!

    And no. Would NOT want to see what’s ahead. I enjoy the present way too much and wouldn’t want to be influenced by knowledge of my future. 🙂

  3. Katy, I’ve just started reading this myself (I’m only a few pages in) and I can’t tell you how excited I am for the 90s throwbacks. And Dave Matthews? Sigh. I lived and breathed DMB back in high school. Oh, I can’t wait 🙂

    Thanks for another great review! It’s made me even more anxious to read this one 🙂

    • Yeah… I was wondering: Did Dave ever really die out? He was big when I was in high school, huge when I was in college, and he’s still doing singles with Kenny Chesney. He was a great addition to the nineties throwbacks in this book though. Hope you like it, Erin!

  4. When I was a teen, I might have said “yes” to a glimpse of the future. But as an adult – a huge, resounding “no.” I’d get way too anxious over what I saw. I’m good with the now 🙂

  5. I would’ve said “yes” as a teen, but definitely “no” now. I have learned (am learning?) to appreciate some of the surprises in life!

    I’m glad you liked this one–as a ’90s teen, it looks so good!

  6. Thanks for the review. I’m looking forward to picking up this book. As a teen I would’ve love to get a glimpse into the future just to prove the life after high school thing. As an adult, not so much.

    • Oh, geez! I hope we’ve ALL proved that life vastly improves beyond high school. I know mine did! Let me know what you think of THE FUTURE OF US if you read it, Alicia!

  7. But- but- I’d love to see how my life turns out in a few years- maybe because I’m a teenager. Huh. So it looks like I’m going to have to read this one to learn some lessons. I think I’ll enjoy it.

    • I bet you’ll enjoy it, Rida–let me know your thoughts after reading! And take it from this ancient thirty-year-old… You DON’T want to know what the future holds. It’s more fun to live it as it unfolds. 🙂

  8. You know, I didn’t love this book as much as I really wanted to. I felt like it was written just for me…I’m a class of ’96 grad who met her husband on AOL thanks to a CD ROM disc. Heh. But it fell a little flat for me…which bums me out a lot.

    I’m too nosy, I would have peeked for sure. 😉

  9. I love the premise. I’ll probably check it out. Thanks for another great review!

  10. Pingback: December’s Reading Wrap-Up and Books of the Month | Katy Upperman

  11. As a teen, I most certainly would! 🙂