Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

The year is 1996. For those readers who never lived through the nineties, here are some dramatic differences:

  • Cassette tapes are still  used, along with Beepers and Discman's. 
  • Titanic and Harry Potter have not been created yet, among other movies and books. 
  • VCR's are still used, rather than DVDs or BluRay
  • No fancy technology, which include (but are not limited to) iPads, iPods, i or e anything, cell phones and barely computers. 
  • In this book, Emma's new computer has Windows 95. And uses Dial-up Internet. 
  • Same sex relationships are frowned upon. 
  • And a lot of other things...

Emma Nelson's father gave Emma a desktop computer - sort of as a guilt present since Emma's parents are divorced and her father now has a new daughter with his other family. Emma's mom is now on her 3rd marriage as well. 

Josh Templeton is Emma's neighbor, and, used to be, best friend. When Josh's mom hears that Emma has a new computer, she sends Josh over to see if Emma wants to download America OnLine (AOL) since Josh doesn't have a computer. 

Emma downloads AOL, which takes over  1 1/2 hours, and after making her username and password, is automatically logged into her Facebook account... Only Facebook doesn't exist in 1996!!

Throughout the next week, Emma and Josh look on the Facebook pages, seeing what their lives are like in 15 years (in 2011). However, every action Emma and Josh make create a ripple in time, changing information on their Facebook profiles. 

For instance, Emma realized she didn't like her husband in 2011, so she decided not to go to the college where she meets her future husband and her life changed on her Facebook profile. 

Josh has an amazing life with an amazing wife, so when Emma starts rewriting... the future... he gets upset and doesn't want anything to change for him. 

Will the Facebook website make Josh and Emma be on edge for the rest of their lives and run their lives? Or will they start living in the present and not worry about the future?

My Thoughts/Reflections
I have been wanting to read this book since I first heard about it, and it did not disappoint! Emma and Josh were on the mend of being friends - not as close as they once were but not ignoring each other either. Getting AOL and Facebook brought them together again, but also kept them arguing about certain actions taken. 

Honestly, if I were in Emma's shoes, I'm not sure what I would have done if I saw my future Facebook account. I probably would have tried to find out what happened to make my life the way it was and if I didn't like it, probably change it. 

Both Emma and Josh had some tough choices to decide on throughout the week of installing AOL on Emma's computer. They definitely thought like adults and made some adult decisions when they are only 16 years old - When I was 16, I was definitely not thinking like an adult. 

Trying to figure out what to do in the present to make their future what they want was very stressful for Emma and Josh, along with doing day to day routines such as going to school and hanging out with friends. I think the ending of this book was amazing after the choices Emma and Josh decided to follow panned out. 

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone - guy, girl, adult, teens. The chapters are alternating between Emma and Josh, making it relatable to both gender readers, and the references to 1996 would take adults down memory lane when they first got a computer and the Internet. Teens today might think some references (such as cassette tapes or VHS) might be hilarious, but the relationship and friendship storyline would be relatable for them to follow as well. 

This became one of my favorite novels, especially since I've read both of the author's previous works and liked both of their books. I will be recommending this to everyone I know! (So beware, friends ;-))

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