Tuesday, January 24, 2012

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

The Scoop: (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.

My Take:

I love the Butterfly Effect-like premise of The Future of Us. If you could glimpse your future would you change it, could you?

The Setting:

So, Josh and Emma are your typical American suburbanites and best buddy next door neighbors. They get a peek at their futures via a rogue AOL CD and are part fascinated / part freaked the hell out. Needless to say, they try to meddle with their future selves (wouldn't you, a little?) to disastrous/fantastic results.

Wow. I went through quite a few of these back in the day...

My only problem with the setup was the initial mishandling of the very thing I that drew me to The Future of Us in the first place: reminiscing about the 90's. You know (maybe): hair scrunchies, Walkmans, Seattle grunge, dial up modems... Well, it seemed like Asher and Macker wiki'd "1996" and then clumsily shoved in every reference that popped up. They could have used 90's contemporary books (The Secret Circle series comes to mind) if they were looking for a way to set their novel in the 90's without it sticking out in a distracting way.

Now, this is old school! I'm sure Emma had a Discman, but wouldn't that have skipped like crazy on her little jogs?

They didn't actually write "Emma grabbed her Walkman, put in her 'Jagged Little Pill' CD, thought about how Alainis Morrisette was so amazing, set her VCR to tape ER and Friends, remembered that she and Josh were supposed to go see Independence Day this weekend,  and yelled "Show me the money!" at the top of her lungs before she took off for her run."

But, really, it was almost exactly like that...

"Welcome to Earth, Emma!"

With that annoyance aside, I really enjoyed them coming to terms with their future selves and how that information affected their present actions.

The Peeps:

Josh is a pretty solid citizen and is the voice of reason during all of the meta-physical craziness. Emma on the other hand, is a whiny pain in the butt. I don't want to spoil it for you, but she can't stop fiddling with her future self, usually to her detriment. I was kind of hoping she would mess it up to the point that she ended up in Antarctica studying/annoying penguins, away from the rest of the human race (sorry penguins, better you than us.)

Emma spent the whole book looking for the perfect man. Turns out, she just needed some eggs and molasses.

Final Thoughts:

I did enjoy The Future of Us and it's not like I want those hours of my life back or anything, but be forewarned that it is a little bit of a tongue-in-cheek look at the nineties and whether you would change your future if you could.



  1. Some people have said that if you like "Back To The Future", you may like this.

    Does this book have the feel of BTTF, albeit in reverse and without the cool DeLorean?

  2. I does in the sense that every tweak they make in the present, they can see the results in the future (and it's sometimes not so great), but no big Biff casinos or mom's with new fake boobs :) For a great blast from the past novel, you should check out Ready Player One. It's amazing!



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