Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

It's 1996 and Emma's family has just gotten a computer that can connect to The Internet. It's a great distraction, especially because things with her longtime best friend Josh have gotten a little weird lately (he tried to kiss her). But when Emma puts in the America Online CD, something strange happens. She's looking at something called Facebook...and it's showing her what her life is like years in the future! Someone has to be playing a joke on her, but how do they know so many details? Emma becomes obsessed with her future and is determined to make sure that she gets her happily-ever-after...but where does that leave Josh?

I really liked the premise for this book. My family first got the internet in 1998, so there were a lot of details that I remembered about those days (making sure no one else had to use the phone before I went online, the screech of a modem, the relative rarity of having the internet). All of this nostalgia made me wonder if the best audience for this book wouldn't be young adults - people who would be Future Emma's age now rather than Past Emma's age now. Would teens and tweens be interested in the premise? But I think they will be. I know that I used to think of what future me would be like - and I still do now. I shared Josh's frustration at Emma's determination to shape her future and the way she didn't really realize that even if she got the future lined up that she wanted, there would be millions and millions of small choices that would shape her future between now and then. I appreciated that the jokes about Facebook were kept to a minimum (I have so many friends, I must be super popular! I wouldn't share it with everyone if it wasn't really important!). I think the book also can be a good opening for talking about the way that Facebook has shaped how we share our lives. If you saw a Facebook slice of your life (like the new Timeline feature, I guess), how accurate would it be? Do we exaggerate - the good and the bad - what we share? I liked the male/female back and forth of chapters from Josh and Emma's point of view and think that this is a good semi-supernatural story for teens and tweens who like thinking about time travel, technology, and identity.

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
Gimme a Call by Sarah Mylnowski

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