Title: The Future of Us
Author: Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
Genre: Teen Fiction, General Fiction
Publication Date: November 21, 2011
ISBN-13 Book: 9781595144911
Audiobook Publisher: Penguin Audio
Audiobook ISBN-13: 9781611760316
Length: 6 CDs (approximately 7 hours)
Disclosure: I received a copy of the book for consideration for committee work and checked out the audiobook from my public library. This is my honest review!
The Future of Us by Jay Asher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It is 1996 and Emma Nelson has just received a computer from her father. When her friend Josh gives her an AOL CD-ROM she is setting up and email account and ready to explore the internet. Then she notices something unusual when she logs on, a program she has never heard of before called FACEBOOK, a program that hasn’t been invented yet, that shows her snippets of her life from 15 years in the future. They can see everything, schools, careers, and spouses, and every time they log on or refresh, they can see the changes small decisions they made during the day make on their future selves. But what happens when you really don’t like the future you see in front of you?
This book was like a trip down memory lane. I am going to date myself here and say that I graduated high school in 1996, so this was like stepping back into the past for me. I remember AOL, I remember the first cell phones, and I remember what it was like being a teen in the year 1996.
I couldn’t help but think of living through those years as I read the book, but I also couldn’t help but wonder what the teens today would think of this book. To me, this was my life, but to them it is history. I can imagine the raised eyebrows at the cell phones of the day, and AOL itself, not to mention life without Facebook.
The inside knowledge was great, knowing what was going to happen in the years between 1996 and Facebook 15 years later, was a lot of fun for me. We know about the radical changes that occurred, but Emma and Josh don’t have any idea. Today’s teens will understand and get a kick out of some of the assumptions Josh and Emma make about the future based on their status updates.
This was a real “what if” novel. What if we could see our future Facebook updates? It was fun watching the teens explore their futures, and do what they could to change or make them happen.
The characters are well drawn and act like real teens. Emma’s behavior, and her willingness to change her future just because of a one sentence status update really frustrated me. How much can you really tell about your life from your status updates on Facebook? Josh was the more reasonable one, and recongnizes the danger in playing with the future, but he too needs to learn what he really wants.
The story is a bit predictable (okay pardon the pun here), but it is still satisfying and a story that I enjoyed on many different levels.
The audiobook was produced by Penguin Audio and ready by Steven Kaplan and Mary Ellen Cravens. I really liked the use of two narrators with this novel. Both narrators do a superb job reading the novel and make it easy to distinguish between the two characters. The production is clean and free of flaws, and at 6 CDs the length is definitely manageable. Overall a really enjoyable way to experience the novel.
This was an enjoyable read, that included a flashback into my own past, but will still hold relevance for today’s teens. A great novel by two wonderful YA authors. Definitely recommended!
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