Title: The Future of Us
Published November 21st 2011 by Razorbill
It’s 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They’ve been best friends almost as long – at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh’s family gets a free AOL CD in the mail,his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they’re automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn’t been invented yet. And they’re looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.
By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they’re forced to confront what they’re doing right – and wrong – in the present.
This book had me hooked right from the get-go, without reading a single page. I mean, 90s culture discovers Facebook? Yes, please and thank you! I was ecstatic when my hold on it at the library was FINALLY up!
Josh and Emma have finally begun to bridge the gap that’s grown between them since last November when Josh brings over a CD-ROM for a free trial of AOL. But what’s this weird “Facebook” webpage? And who is this unhappy thirty-something with an older version of Emma’s face?
I’m not the first blogger to talk about this and doubtless I will not be the last, but the nostalgia angle of this book was one of my favorite aspects of it. Emma’s got a VCR, they tape episodes of Seinfeld, and Wonderwall is a new song that she likes to play on her Discman. I couldn’t keep a grin from my face. I lived my early years in the nineties and The Future of Us took me straight back there.
Josh and Emma though, are characters that can be related to no matter when decade they’re living through. Friends that are almost more, with typical teenage problems. Emma’s parents are divorced and she’s rather bitter about it. Josh’s parents are somewhat overbearing and it drives him nuts.
But when they have this small window into the future, they’re forced to put their present lives under the microscopes. What are they doing now that lands them where they wind up? And are they happy with how their futures appear on Facebook? Most importantly, should they endeavor to change things based on this knowledge?
For anyone who’s ever said “if I’d known then what I know now,” The Future of Us makes you wonder how you’d be able to live your life if you’re always too busy looking ahead to concentrate on the here and now.
Overall rating: 4/5. Most relatable to those of us who can still remember the nineties, but a delightful read for anyone.