Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

It's rare to find a book that is completely fantastical--and yet you believe every word.  The Future of Us is that kind of book. It's set in the 90s, when computers are just beginning to be a household staple, and the story begins when Emma installs a CD-ROM to her new computer.  When she logs on, she finds herself on Facebook--fifteen years in the future--seeing what her life will be like through her future self's friends and statuses.  She calls over her best friend, Josh, and they figure out that not only can they see their futures, but they have the power to change them--sometimes easily, sometimes not.  As Josh and Emma continue to refresh, they become obsessed with their ever-changing futures, jeopardizing their friendship in the process.  They realize that after seeing their futures, things will never be the same.
Most time travel or future-spying books are almost unreadably confusing.  Somehow, I could easily follow along with Josh and Emma as they navigated.  It had to have been the hyper-realistic writing style--I could imagine my friends, or even me, staring at the computer with them--that made The Future of Us so approachable.  It's gripping, too--you can't take your eyes off the page as Emma and Josh slowly become slaves to their futures.
The Future of Us is a contradictory novel.  It's fantasy, but it's realistic.  It's romantic, but in some ways it's very dark.  It's sci-fi, but not so much that someone like me, who's known to be hilariously not-techy, can't understand it.  Beyond that, it has a narration style that I find fascinating, with Josh (written by Jay Asher, author of the amazing book 13 Reasons Why) telling his side of the story and Emma (written by Carolyn Mackler) telling hers.  I can't think of any specific genre lovers, even the most fanatical, who wouldn't be into this book.  
This book truly covers every base.  Nuanced narration style--check.  Every genre in the book--check.  Lovable characters that you wish you could reach into the book and protect from harm--check.  Utterly gripping, equal parts scary and cool plot--check.  Finally, there are an endless amounts of things to think about like the idea that “One little ripple started today could create a typhoon fifteen years from now.”  How can we ever know what the future will be like?  Maybe the future's inevitable elusiveness is what makes this book such an enthralling read.

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