Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler, using Face Book, took this lady back in time? As soon as I heard that The Future of Us, took place in 1996 I had to read it. Unbelievably good and remarkably done so that two different generations can enjoy. Do you remember VCR’s, personal CD players, the first time you heard Green Day and when you actually used a pay phone? The Future of Us reveals how far we have come as a new social networking society in a brief amount of time and how telling someone you love them is still complicated.

Emma and Josh live next door to each other and have been friends since early childhood. Emma has received a new computer and Josh has given Emma an AOL CD he received in the mail offering one hundred hours of free Internet. Except when Emma inserts the CD in her computer she is taken to a website called Face Book that reveals a web page that displays her picture and detailed information about her fifteen years later, and discovers that Josh has a similar web page. Will this information change how Emma and Josh trot through life? Will they accept their future, would you?

Emma, Emma, Emma, will you ever be happy? She’s a young confused girl that is going through the struggles of a divorced family and has a boyfriend that she doesn’t seem interested in who is only around for convenience. This doesn’t make her relationship with her best friend Josh, who sort of confessed his feelings to Emma without success, pleased with his friend’s decisions. After not wanting to accept her future, Emma makes quick choices that she thinks will fix everything, making her future brighter. But it only seems to put the future that Emma desires at a farther distance. Emma is a pure realistic character that knows what she wants but also has to face that she is the only one standing in her way. She needs to put in the work when it comes to relationships and not skip out when it starts getting serious. She is a girl who needs to be fearless when it comes to making mistakes and learn from them. Something I think most teenage girls suffer from and may see a reflection of them in Emma.

The sweet boy next door, Josh is happy with his future and doesn’t want to screw it up. He after all is married to the most popular girl in school and tries to put his future in motion by getting her attention. Only Josh gets tangled up in the idea of a planned out life. After seeing his profile he seems happy in the future and a success, he’s even friends with Emma. But he struggles with the now. He doesn’t feel connected with the girl he will eventually marry and wonders how he exactly ended up with her. With the confidence of knowing he will end up marrying the popular girl other girls begin to notice Josh and he wonders if he had not known his future would the same path be laid before him. It’s the common problem that everyone has. A plan is put before us and we have to walk it or risk the pre-empted outcome or strive for the riskier one.

Jay Asher’s & Carolyn Mackler’s The Future of Us is a look forward for teens and a look back for adults who have made their choices. The lesson I feel is that your life is never definite, you can always change it, you just have to have the heart to risk it and walk into the unknown. This is what Emma and Josh must decide for them and realize that life is always scary but you decide whom you want to face the shaky path with. The Future of Us is a book for EVERYONE! Adults like me who were teens during this time will be taken back to a time that seemed like yesterday. You wonder about the friends and people that crossed your path and how they may have unknowingly caused a ripple in your life that you may never know.

As a reader I was amazed at how far we have come from dated technology and when I was a teenager I would never believe in the idea of Facebook, the iPod or DVR. How convenient my life is because of these devices and how I can’t live without them, all these things that would have made my teenage life a dream. How connected we are socially yet with all the teen books that have been written since, I can see the same golden problem still exists in the typical teenagers life. What will I do with my life and does he or she like me?

Read The Future of Us, now! If you were a teen in 1996 it will take you back in time and for the younger generation you will see that people have been faced with the same problems since the beginning of time. I commend authors Asher & Mackler on a great trip to 1996 and I’m sure a lot of teens and adults will learn something and hopefully challenge themselves to do things differently by taking a risk if you feel in your heart it’s right. It’s scary but that’s the fun part of the ride.  

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