Second Look: THE FUTURE OF US by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

I have been eagerly waiting four long years (49 months to be exact, but who’s counting?) for another groundbreaking novel by Jay Asher. Let me tell you, the man does not disappoint and can do no wrong in my eyes. He and Carolyn Mackler are an awesome tag team duo. The plot is very original, and when you have a brilliant concept + two brilliant authors, it = awesomeness.

The Story: The year is 1996, and Emma is excited to be getting the internet in her home for the first time. She pops in the America Online CD-ROM, installs the software, and BAM! Emma experiences the miracle of dial-up internet. As she begins to dabble with the information superhighway, a link to a site called Facebook pops up on her screen. She logs in, and sees a picture of… herself. 15 years in the future. After telling Josh, her next door neighbor and BFF, they discover he has a profile, too. Together they begin to learn the hard way (and by clicking “refresh”) that minor changes in their present lives can lead to some very big changes in their futures. However, what they discover about their futures is affecting how they are living their lives now. Will Josh and Emma’s lives be destroyed by Facebook… before it is even invented?

The Low Down: Told in alternating chapters, Asher writing as Josh and Mackler as Emma, I love how the different voices of the two characters stand out. Emma and Josh are both lovable protagonists. A couple of times I wanted to smack some sense into them (much like I would like to smack my own high school self for some of the stupid things I said and did…), but I genuinely enjoyed reading about them as characters. Their friends (and on again off again couple), Tyson and Kellan, are very likable and my life would have been a whole lot different if I would have had pals like that in high school.

I also love how primitive all the technology sounds. And, let’s face it. Compared to modern day technology, it WAS primitive in 1996. For the characters in this book, cell phones were considered a luxury, caller ID was a relatively new idea, and no one had ever heard of an iPad. It reminded me that there once was a time when we didn’t have a constant stream of information at our fingertips.

The one criticism I have is that I fear a lot of the 90’s references (which had me laughing out loud) will be lost on today’s younger teens. Speaking of young teens, as far as content is concerned, it’s not tame but not explicit either. Talk of sex but no on-screen stuff, with some language and suggestive dialogue. What I’m basically saying is that I would recommend this book to EVERYONE.

The Bottom Line: Asher and Mackler nailed this one. Though young teens may not understand all the 90’s references, The Future of Us is original, entertaining, heartwarming, and thought provoking. It is definitely on my list of Top 10 Favorite Books of All Time. Also, film rights have been bought by Warner Brothers. If you don’t read it now, you’re probably going to want to when it becomes a major motion picture.


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Related Goodies
Also by Jay Asher:

Thirteen Reasons Why (2007)

Also by Carolyn Mackler:
Love and Other Four Letter Words (2000)
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things (2003, Printz Honor Book)
Vegan Virgin Valentine (2004)
Guyaholic (2007)
Tangled (2009)


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