When I first heard what The Future of Us was about, I was instantly intrigued. The concept is entirely cool and original. I could think of a million ways it can go and be conceived. So, what exactly is this awesome concept? The story revolves around two teenagers, Emma and Josh, who discover Facebook… in 1996. Yup, the mid-90s, when internet was just starting and you needed one of those America Online CD-ROMs in order to connect to the internet. (Ugh, remember dial-up? And if you’re too young to remember, you’re lucky.) Emma had just gotten a computer, and when she went to set up her email, she was redirected to her Facebook page. However, it was her future self’s Facebook page. With the random snippets of information, she discovers that she doesn’t like what happens to her in 15 years. Confused, she drags her friend, Josh, into the mix, and when he sees that he marries the most beautiful and popular girl in school, he is wary, but sort of excited by this new development. Together, they try to understand what Facebook is, why it has stumbled into their current lives, and how every little moment can hugely alter the future.
I devoured this book. I got it in the mail (Thanks Razorbill!) on Tuesday night and finished within 24 hours. The story is absorbing and addicting, almost like Facebook ironically. Of course, I found the whole destiny aspect of it interesting. Although, what immediately got me thinking was this line:
“Why would anyone say this stuff about themselves on the Internet? It’s crazy!”
Josh says that after reading rather depressing status updates from Emma’s future self. It made me realize that I’ve seen so many status updates like that, and never stopped for a moment to think that they were crazy or concerning. It has become okay to reveal personal feelings or something along those lines on the Internet. We won’t share this in person with a neighbor or someone in the grocery line. But we’ll share it in a place where hundreds of people can read it. In its own way, it’s insane.
But back to the story, Emma and Josh are well thought-out characters. They’ve been friends for years, but recently drifted apart, after Josh admitted feelings for Emma and Emma rejected him. It’s very easy to dislike Emma. Yet, I think it’s unfair to judge her directly on her actions because there’s always reason or two why people do what they do. In Emma’s case, we got to understand her family life and situation. From that, I understood why she was so desperate to make her future-self happy. Emma did little experiments, like saying that she won’t go to a certain college or spilling something on her carpet. Then she would check Facebook and see that her future changed. She either lived in a different place or had a different husband. Josh is a lot more cautious, and thinks destiny isn’t something that people should mess with. As a person, he’s very laidback about life and super likable. Unlike Emma, he doesn’t go out of his way not to feel something. Emma’s always protecting herself from unhappiness or heartbreak in some way or another. Ironically, that’s what leads to her unhappiness.
The story is very well-written. The chapters alternate between Emma and Josh’s points of view. The Future of Us is a collaboration between Jay Asher (Thirteen Reasons Why) and Carolyn Mackler (The Earth, My Butt, and Other Round Things), and as I mentioned, they did a great job bringing real teen voices to an incredible situation. They also handle this whole Facebook, destiny situation in a realistic way. If I were to think about it, I would react to seeing my Facebook page 15 years in the future a lot like Emma and Josh did. That’s what got me so hooked and made me read this book so fast. I do regret reading it so fast though, but I still managed to be satisfied with the ending. It’s not like a cookie-cutter perfect, happily-ever-after ending. I know many who have read this book find the end unsatisfying. It’s a real ending. We don’t know what’s going to happen next. I don’t know what’s going to happen by the end of this sentence. It’s just destiny. We take what comes and make the most of it. Or we make things happen. Whatever the case, it is in your destiny to read The Future of Us and then tweet at me or comment what you think!
The Future of Us is now in bookstores. You can purchase it at our TYF Store!