The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Caroline Mackler

The premise of this book is fantastic:  in 1996 two teenagers log on to AOL and their Facebook pages from 15 years in the future show up.  They, of course, have no idea what Facebook is, but they soon figure out that it is their future selves sharing picture and thoughts about what’s going on in their lives.  Problem is that Emma’s future self doesn’t seem very happy and so she tries to make little changes to change the outcome of the future.  Repeated checking of the site shows that she does indeed change her future (several times), though it never seems good enough.  Meanwhile, Josh and Emma need to figure out what their future means about their relationship now.  I have to admit that I loved the idea of this story a bit more than the execution.  Well, really, I just wish that there had been more of the future Facebook updates-I’m afraid I kept reading super quickly through the parts where they went through their day.  I was eager each chapter for them to get home and see what effect their actions had!

A couple other quibbles–It  almost seems written for the legions of adult ya fans, including librarians (they made the school librarian read SLJ and be cool and hip.)  I wonder how many teens now would get all the Hootie and the Blowfish, Dave Matthews Band, etc references specifically designed to date it.  15 years ago isn’t really vintage or back in fashion-so kids now might just not really be aware of those details or  notice or care about them.  The other dated details seemed so obvious and designed to clearly make you snicker at how naive and old fashioned things were in 1996, e.g. “my dad thinks Ellen DeGeneres is gay” “No way!”, they make a point of saying that same sex marriage is not allowable anywhere, kids carry beepers and need quarters for the payphone (some people have cell phones, but just a few.)

I really enjoyed the kids’ commentary on Facebook when they first look at it, wondering why is there stuff scattered all over the page? (images and text) and, why would people write about whether they got a parking space or ate a cupcake?

A clever and intriguing premise.

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