Title: The Future of Us
Author: Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
Publisher: Penguin Audio (Playaway)
Released: November 21, 2011
Page #: Audio book - 7 hours
Source: My public library
"It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - up until last November, when everything changed. Things have been awkward ever since, but when Josh's family gets an America Online CD-ROM in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto Facebook... but Facebook hasn't been invented yet. Josh and Emma are looking at their profiles fifteen years in the future. Their spouses, careers, homes, and status updates - it's all there. but it's not what they expected. And every time they refresh their pages, their futures change. As they grapple with the ups and downs of what their lives hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right - and wrong - in the present."
"I can't break up with Graham today, even though I told my friends I'd do it the next time I saw him. So instead, I'm hiding in my bedroom, setting up my new computer while he plays Ultimate Frisbee in the park across the street."
Once again, I've been reminded about how old I am. Sigh. This book takes place in the mid-ninties.... Yeah, I was in high school then too. In fact, the characters would be about my age now (probably 2-4 years older than me). But still... I'm sooooo old. sigh. I will say, though, we never used AOL service - besides AIM. So there.
Back in the days when AOL was new... and everyone was getting discs in the mail... two teens stumble across something that was truly unknown. Facebook. 15 years in the future. They start out believing it was some elaborate trick on them, but soon realized that they were looking into their futures. Or, at least, their Facebook futures. Then they notice things start to change when they make certain decisions - and this causes them to look at the morality of trying to change your own future.
I loved this story. It was sort of hilarious to see Facebook (something so ingrained now) through the eyes of people who had no idea what they were looking at. There is some fun discovery and intense discussion on what exactly things mean. Emma soon realizes that her future doesn't look that exciting and starts to see how she can change things. Josh is worried that because of Emma's changes, his future might be altered - and his future looks amazing!
The friendship between these two tenuous at best. They had grown up together practically in the same house... but when Josh mis-read some cues a year before, things just hadn't been the same. But they are pulled back together through Facebook and keeping their secret. They start analyzing everyone around them - wondering what they will be like in 15 years - and whether they should look them up. I would have totally looked up everyone, but I am a total Facebook stalker as it is :). (kidding. I'm not a stalker. Don't get all weird on me.)
You know, this book really made me think back to high school and my mindset at that point. I wasn't remotely contemplating 15 years in the future. 5 years, sure... but 15?! That was just so far away that I couldn't even imagine. And to know what would happen... that would be freaky. I also loved the idea that you could change it. Don't like your future husband? Make that not happen. Your future career sounds cruddy? Tell yourself you'll never do that and watch it change. Just a very cool idea. I wonder what I would have changed if I had seen my profile today.
I'm highly recommending this book to just about everyone. Really. I am so glad that I read/listened to it and can pass it along. I'm hoping it translates well to this current generation who has always had Facebook and Internet and all of that... I think it will *fingers crossed*. Definitely give this one a shot! Oh, and if you haven't read Jay Asher's wildly popular other book, I'd suggest you do that as well. You won't regret it!
Other Blog Reviews:
Five Alarm Book Reviews
The Tainted Poet
Early Nerd Special
Not Just for Kids - LA Times
Cosy Up Book Reviews