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.
As soon as I heard what this book was about, I knew immediately that I had to read it. I mean, Facebook! Fifteen years ago! WHAT AN AWESOME IDEA.
I should probably just say right now that I was born in 1996. And this book takes place in 1996. So the idea of the internet being a brand new idea is kind of surreal to me. This book has so many references to pop culture, which are just hysterical to me. I don't even understand some of them, which makes them even funnier.
I was surprised that this book wasn't actually centered on Facebook. I mean, it obviously played a big part, but the story was more about Josh and Emma's friendship-developing-into-something-more than the crazy website on their computer screen. This book read a lot more like a contemporary than anything else, focusing more on the characters and their relationship than some epic plot. And as someone who is kind of obsessed with contemporaries, I loved every minute of it. It was fascinating how something that was such a big deal, like discovering freaking Facebook, took a backseat to basic teenage problems. This book surprised me a lot, in the best possible way.
Josh and Emma are two characters that I really loved. They both seem normal. I could relate to everything they were going through. They just feel very real, and it's easy to imagine that I'm friends with them or something. Both characters are great separately, and even better when they are together.
Just reading the summary, it's pretty easy to see that Josh and Emma are, or will become, more than just friends. Their journey throughout the novel is paced perfectly. There was no point where I thought that their relationship was moving too fast or too slow. Both characters make a lot of mistakes, and they spend a lot of time trying to fix them. They are confused and awkward and wary and nervous. In other words, THEY ARE TEENAGERS. Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler did a phenomenal job at creating characters that are totally and completely realistic.
This book went by very quickly, and I had a really hard time putting it down. The only reason I DID put it down was because I had to go to school (pssh stupid school) and even then, I may or may not have been reading during class. That's how good this book is. And what's really awesome is that it is incredibly suspenseful. I never thought contemporaries could be particularly suspenseful, until I read Thirteen Reasons Why (AMAZING BOOK, by the way. Read it now!). All the suspense Jay Asher put in Thirteen Reasons Why is back again in The Future of Us.
It's kind of hard to figure out how to describe this book to people. Basically, it's a suspenseful contemporary with awesome characters that is very fast paced and also has a weird time travel element. If that doesn't intrigue you, I don't know what will. I think this book is something that pretty much anyone can enjoy. There are a lot of genres mixing together to create an awesome combination. I'm really glad I picked this book up. I enjoyed it immensely.
P.S. In the book, Emma has a half sister who is five weeks old, and her name is Rachel. I was born in 1996 and my name is Rachel. COINCIDENCE??? Well, yeah. BUT STILL. HOW AWESOME IS THAT?