Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

Razorbill, 2011.

If you had a chance to see your life in the future, would you want to?
It's 1996, and Emma and Josh are your ordinary teenagers.  They've lived by each other for years and have practically grown up together.  But now they're sophomores in high school and things are a little different.  Well, they're WAY different after Josh tried to kissed Emma six months ago - now they hardly speak to each other.  It's what Emma's father sent her that will make a huge impact in their lives...
In Emma's room is a bright shiny computer.  It probably weighs 25 pounds, but it's all hers.  She's heard about people getting emails and sending instant messages, so she's excited about this new prospect of trying it out.  Of course, there's always the problem with sharing the phone line, but she and her mother will work it out.  Josh is the one who hands her the AOL Online CD with 100 free internet hours, but when Emma finally gets online, she's shocked by what she sees.
A page begins to emerge...something called Facebook, which Emma has no idea what it is.  And there on the front page is a woman about 30 years old, who looks kind of like her.  She went to the same high school as Emma, has the same birthday...this isn't coincidence.  What Emma is looking at is her life fifteen years in the future, and she's not quite sure she likes what she sees.  But who can she tell?  The only person who comes to mind is Josh.
He also gets a look at who he is and becomes in the future, but unlike Emma, he definitely likes what he sees and who he gets married to.  His life is amazing!  And what the two quickly realize is that they can send ripples through time from now to Facebook in the future and make changes to their lives and what they see posted on their timeline, in their photos and their comments.  But are those changes dangerous?  What are the repercussions of the decisions they make, create or change not only to them, but to those around them, including their best friends? 
This book is chock full of references from the mid-nineties, but not so much as to bog down the reader that it's "old school."  Emma and Josh's relationship not only with each other but with those in their school, stands out the most and creates their unique personalities the reader can't help but want to know more of.  Teens today were born around this year, so they may not get the 90's references (Wayne's World, Boyz 2 Men, only one character has a cell phone) but the theme and situation remains a popular one.  Asher and Mackler switch voices with the characters they write about, which makes this a book you want to read through to see what happens to the other person....right....NOW!  Recommended.

Common Core Pair:  Friend Me!  600 Years of Social Networking in America by Francesca Davis DiPiazza.

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