The Future of Us

The Future of Us

4.0 315
by Jay Asher, Carolyn Mackler

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What if you could see how your life would unfold—just by clicking a button?

It's 1996, and less than half of all American high school students have ever used the Internet. Emma just got her first computer and an America Online CD-ROM. Josh is her best friend. They power up and log on—and discover themselves on Facebook, fifteen years in the future.

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What if you could see how your life would unfold—just by clicking a button?

It's 1996, and less than half of all American high school students have ever used the Internet. Emma just got her first computer and an America Online CD-ROM. Josh is her best friend. They power up and log on—and discover themselves on Facebook, fifteen years in the future. Everybody wonders what their destiny will be. Josh and Emma are about to find out.

Editorial Reviews

Dan Kois
The real value of The Future of Us may lie less in its plot than in the rich crop of questions it will raise in teenage readers…Reading the book should get contemporary teenagers wondering: Where will I live 15 years from now? Whom will I marry? What kind of life can I dream of? And what, exactly, is a "CD-ROM"? Prepare yourselves, parents, for the disbelief that will follow explanations of such historic artifacts as dial-up Internet, the Disc­man and busy signals.
—The New York Times Book Review

This novel about a pair of teens who suddenly receive glimpses into their futures possesses the kind of resonance that all too many novels attempt but cannot achieve. The Future of Us is a fiction that repeatedly brings us back to the present, to the choices that we don't even know that we're making.

Benjamin Ruby

Publishers Weekly
With collaborators like these, readers expect an ingenious hook, compelling characters, and thought-provoking content, and these two top-of-their-game authors don’t disappoint. It’s 1996, and high school junior Emma and her neighbor Josh are BFFs until an awkward, romantic moment creates tension. Then Emma gets a new computer and an AOL CD-ROM, which somehow allow her to access her future Facebook page when she goes online. She and Josh are able to read about what their lives will be like in 15 years, but what’s more, they discover that they can affect those future lives by their thoughts and actions in the present, a sobering realization with far-reaching consequences for the teenagers. Asher and Mackler’s concept is fascinating—how closely today is tied to tomorrow—and the alternating voices of the two main characters keep each chapter fresh and provide distinct perspectives on the events of the story. Though readers will not necessarily be surprised by how things turn out, the enjoyment—and the underlying message—is in simply allowing the journey to unfold. Ages 12–up. (Nov.)
VOYA - Nancy Wallace
In the spring of 1996, Emma installs AOL on her new computer from a free CD borrowed from her neighbor Josh. She has no idea that the one thousand hours of free Internet will allow her to tap into the future. When Facebook pops up on her sidebar, Emma glimpses what she will be like in fifteen years. Faced with a lonely, unhappy future, she tries to alter the current direction of her life. But she and Josh discover that even tiny changes in the present have huge ramifications later on. Their window into the future drives them apart and then brings them closer together in ways they could never have imagined. The authors' technique of telling the story in alternating chapters, one from Josh's point of view and one from Emma's, is very effective in defining both the characters and their voices. The premise is fresh, the characters are believable, and the plot zips along. Emma's casual love affairs with high school boys take on a more serious note when she sees herself alone and unloved in the future. While readers may guess that Emma needs to look no further for true love than "the boy next door," her journey to self-realization is authentic and touching. Teens will have no trouble identifying with Emma and Josh and their circle of friends. This book will appeal to a wide range of readers. It is a good choice for both public and school libraries, as well as a great selection for book discussions. Reviewer: Nancy Wallace
VOYA - Mary Kusluch
This honest, remarkable book offers a fictional situation realistically. Emma and Josh learn from their mistakes: they are humanized by the fact that they make them. They learn that sometimes what you need most has been right beside you all along. Written in first person / present tense, the book allows readers to see through the eyes of each character. Teens will enjoy reading about the smooth pages of someone's life suddenly wrinkled by a strange and supernatural occurrence. 4Q, 4P. Reviewer: Mary Kusluch, Teen Reviewer
ALAN Review - Meghan Anderson
Set in 1996, Josh and Emma are not the constantly wired teenagers of today. Josh has just given Emma a free AOL trial cd rom for her new computer. Upon logging on, Emma sees a page that has all her personal information and pictures. Emma has stumbled onto herself 15 years in the future, on Facebook. Josh is there, too, but their profiles do not remain static, rather the smallest actions throughout their days cause ripples in time, where their Facebook profiles and subsequently their futures change with every click. This novel not only examines how we write our destinies, but also to what extent our future is written in technology. Asher and Mackler's compelling depictions force the reader to examine the simultaneous help and hindrance that lies in current technology, keeping the reader guessing about the future of Emma and Josh as well at the future of humanity. Reviewer: Meghan Anderson
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—The year is 1996. Josh and Emma, lifelong best friends and neighbors, are in the midst of sorting out their awkward, possibly romantic feelings for one another when Emma receives her first computer and logs on to the Internet with a free AOL CD. Mysteriously, the teens find themselves on a website called Facebook, which has all sorts of information about their lives… 15 years in the future. This intriguing premise is an instant hook for today's social-media-savvy readers. Clever references to cassette tapes, dial-up Internet access, and camera film are sure to induce chuckles from those who remember 1996, but the nostalgia is subtle enough that the writing will feel fresh to contemporary teens, and the idea of glimpsing one's future is a tantalizing draw for any reader. Although the discovery of Facebook initially propels the plot, there is a solid and appealing story beyond the sly humor that comes from poking fun at trivial status updates. In addition to sustaining well-crafted romantic tension, the authors deftly address universal questions relevant to teens, such as, "What do I want?" and "How do my actions affect my future?" As Josh and Emma confront these dilemmas and reevaluate their feelings, their alternating first-person narratives have a sense of urgency that makes this book impossible to set aside. This quick, highly engaging read is a tremendously likable, soul-searching romantic comedy and a subtle reminder to occasionally unplug and live in the moment.—Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
If you had the chance to see what your life would be like 15 years in the future, would you take it? High-school students Emma Nelson and Josh Templeton were best friends until a misguided kiss last November made things between them awkward at best. But when Josh's mother forces him to give Emma a CD-ROM for America Online, the two discover that, for better or for worse, their destinies are intertwined. While installing the CD, Emma stumbles upon her Facebook page. The problem is, it's 1996. Facebook hasn't been invented yet. Emma shares her secret with Josh, and the two quickly learn that everything they do in the present has an immediate impact on their lives in the future. Unfortunately, they don't always like what they see. Can the two teenagers rewrite the future? Should they try? Asher (Thirteen Reasons Why, 2007) and Mackler's (Tangled, 2010) fantasy, told from both Emma and Josh's perspectives, makes for an entertaining but ultimately disappointing read. Focusing almost entirely on the teens' future love lives, the authors neglect 1996-era subplots involving the teens' friends and families that might have given the story additional depth and immediacy. Without question a page-turner, it's nevertheless unlikely to linger long in readers' minds. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

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Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.88(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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The Future of Us 4 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 315 reviews.
Nikkayme More than 1 year ago
In the age of Facebook and smartphones, it's almost difficult to remember a time when every American household didn't have at least one computer. But that's exactly the life that Emma and Josh live. 1996 was the year of Toy Story, but for these two used to be best friends, now awkward moment neighbors, 96' is the year they discover their future selves; all thanks to AOL and the appearance of a website with profiles that very much resemble themselves and people they know. As far as the premise goes, The Future of Us had me sold. Back that with talented authors Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, and I was more than eager for this book. I'm happy to say that the book had all the aspects I had looked forward to, but it didn't blow me away. Emma can be quite whiny and annoying at times, complaining that she has to change what she believes is a horrible, unhappy future, and all based on her future self's random postings. In 200 characters or so, Emma decides that her future sucks, but since she's still in 1996, she can change that. And does so more than willingly. Josh, on the other hand, is much more wary of changing the future on purpose. He's laid-back and more level-headed than Emma. He also has that pining away for a girl who doesn't want him thing down pat. Readers will like him and feel for him. I know I did. The Future of Us is a fast read, with short chapters that alternate between Emma's and Josh's POV. At times, it tries too hard to be 90's and it never manages to actually do that. Still, it's fun to see Emma's utter confusion about what Harry Potter is and why it's one of her favorite books, as well as her future self's excitement over a night of Netflix and Glee. If you're looking for a quick read that will entertain you, The Future of Us is sure to do just that.
booksonmynook More than 1 year ago
Totally loved it. It has a story that kept me turning pages.
anna-b More than 1 year ago
I received this book in the mail about a week ago (without my knowledge!), and I'm so glad I did! I don't think I would have picked up this book on my own, which would have been a shame because it was so endearing! The story is over the course of only one week, but it's definitely enough time for you to learn a lot about the characters and enjoy the story. The whole thing is written from altering perspectives between Josh and Emma (Emma Nelson, which made me think of Degrassi!!), and I really like it when authors do that because then you get both sides of the story. It was a great way to get me to fall madly in love with both characters. At first, I wasn't a big fan of Emma. She doesn't really appreciate anything she has, and she's kind of a whiney brat, but she really grows throughout the story. I loved watching Emma grow and develop and sort of find herself and appreciate what's directly in front of her, rather than always wanting more. And Josh. Oh Josh. He's such a kind guy, he's totally crush worthy! I pictured him as the tall, somewhat dorky, skater kid who gets overlooked by a lot of girls, but is such a sweetie he made my heart melt. The plot itself is really interesting as well, the idea of finding yourself on Facebook in 15 years and learning about your future self through status updates was a really cool aspect. And all the different things they go to to try and change their futures, or keep them the same, are great to read about. Emma's not happy about her future husband so she decides she'll never meet him. Josh loves that he'll marry the hottest chick at school so he tries as hard as he can to hold on to her in the present. Eventually they learn more about themselves in the present then they ever could, knowing the future. Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a little romantic, realistic fiction. The characters go through a lot of real life dilemmas (albeit in a weird time travelish way), and I think anyone (boy or girl) could relate to the story. I really enjoyed reading this, it was quick, fun, thought-provoking, and I even teared up a bit! Go check this one out as soon as you can!
mariiie More than 1 year ago
It was an okay, easy read. But I kept waiting for something big to happen that would change everything, but that never came. Its definitely a library book, dont buy it.
AmeliaClaire More than 1 year ago
If you read and liked 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asther then you will definately love this!
a_pannes More than 1 year ago
From previously reading "13 Reasons Why", I was more than excited to start this book. Jay Asher and Carolyn Macklers writing styles paired perfectly together to make for an amazing read. I highly recommend this book to anyone. I was able to finish it in 2 DAYS! The book kept me turning the pages and wanting more and more. It was hard to not fall in love with the characters and story line.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thirteen reasons why is better even though it is more sad.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book, even though fiction, makes you reflect on your choices and what the outcome could be
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read. Interesting how things have changed and how Facebook affects our lives.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing story and fantastic plot. It's now on my shelf waiting to be read over and over agian. Truly awesome!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is all about Emma and Josh looking at their own future, i finished this book in one day! i recommend it this book is awesome PS: i'm a very picky person when it comes down to books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is spectacular! It kept me reading late through the night, and I think its really uplifting. I just wish it had been longer and in more detail because i liked it so much!
BookPortrait More than 1 year ago
Really 3.5 stars After reading Thirteen Reasons Why, I was especially excited to read this book. Add to that the fact that this book is set in the 1990s and involved Facebook, and I knew it was a must-read. When Emma loads her AOL CD onto her computer, she has no idea that she will get a glimpse into her future. But that's exactly what she sees - her Facebook page in fifteen years. Together she and Josh, her neighbor who gave her the CD, are lost in the world of Facebook, learning about their futures as well as their friends' futures. Only their futures constantly change based on even the smallest decisions. As Emma struggles to make her future exactly perfect, Josh struggles with his feelings for Emma. However, Emma soon comes to learn that some things about the future she is better off not knowing...because once she does, how can she change them? This book has such an intriguing premise, and it was very well executed. Haven't we all wished that we could see what our future holds? I loved seeing how little decisions could affect status updates and bigger decisions could change the course of their lives. Reading this book certainly makes you think about how little decisions impact your life. Beyond that, one of my favorite things about this book was the time setting. I loved revisiting the 90s - reading this book was like a trip down memory lane. I also enjoyed the alternating points of views in this novel; they allowed me to feel connected to both of the characters, and I cared about both of them. Emma especially had a lot of growth as a character. Aside from seeing into the future, everything about this book was very realistic and it made for a very enjoyable read. Although the 90s references may not matter much to current teens, there are still many aspects of this book that would be appealing. Occasionally the plot moved a bit slowly with emphasis on Emma trying to figure out her life. While I enjoyed some of these moments, at times I just wanted to know what would happen next. With that, I would also love to know what really does happen for these characters fifteen years down the road. Once again, Jay Asher, along with Carolyn Mackler, has written a novel that carries a great message about how choices impact your life. I will look forward to reading more from both of these authors in the future!
crazyladyteacher More than 1 year ago
After reading Thirteen Reasons Why a few weeks ago, I was excited to get my hands on Asher's next novel. Unfortunately, I was quite disappointed. everything that made TRW great is lacking from this book. The authors seem to work really hard to show what 1996 is like without ever really showing what it was like, and Emma's realization that Facebook is the future comes out of nowhere. So much never seemed to connect. Hopefully Asher's next attempt will be better and he won't turn out to be a one hit wonder.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the plot line to the book, but it was not a good book. The characters werent developed enough & there were a lot of ties left loose at the ending. Very predictable.
Anonymous 4 months ago
I wasnt sure if i would like this, read it very good
Anonymous 5 months ago
Anonymous 11 months ago
I enjoyed this book because i never wanted to stop reading it
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing !
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was okay but took forever to get to the main idea. I liked the theme but the book just wasnt for me. However if you like future-y stuff enjoy!