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The Future of Us

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Overview

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.

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

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

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
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

  • ISBN-13: 9781595145161
  • Publisher: Razorbill
  • Publication date: 10/16/2012
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 52,889
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Jay Asher

Jay Asher's first novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, spent over two years on the New York Times bestseller list, with foreign rights sold in over 30 countries and more than 1,000,000 copies in print in the US alone.

Carolyn Mackler is the Printz Honor winning author of The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things; Tangled; Guyaholic; Vegan Virgin Valentine; and Love and Other Four-Letter Words. Her novels have been published in over 15 countries.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 309 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(143)

4 Star

(75)

3 Star

(58)

2 Star

(20)

1 Star

(13)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 309 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Fast Read, But Cliched At Times

    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.

    37 out of 44 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 26, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    great

    Totally loved it. It has a story that kept me turning pages.

    14 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2011

    Eh...

    I liked Jay Asher's last novel a lot, his writing style was incredible. This book was lame. Emma was whiny. The concept is kinda cool, but for the money, I found it to be not worth it. I wish it had more...depth. IMO, either check it out of the library for free or wait until it goes on sale.

    10 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great, futuristic, tale!

    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!

    10 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 26, 2011

    Definately Recommended

    If you read and liked 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asther then you will definately love this!

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 3, 2012

    Hmm..

    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.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2012

    Is this book to fasr!!!!!

    I luv fast paced books but im woundering if this book is to fast somwone plz reply thanx

    4 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2011

    Loved it :)

    <3

    4 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2011

    Highly Recommended!

    Amazing story and fantastic plot. It's now on my shelf waiting to be read over and over agian. Truly awesome!

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2012

    From previously reading "13 Reasons Why", I was more t

    From previously reading &quot;13 Reasons Why&quot;, 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.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2012

    13 reasons why

    Thirteen reasons why is better even though it is more sad.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2012

    A very good book

    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!

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2012

    Best book ever

    This book, even though fiction, makes you reflect on your choices and what the outcome could be

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2012

    Love It!

    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!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    Great book

    If you are looking for a great book to read then i would pick this one it was fast pass and very amazing looked this book but it is mostly for teens that like romance and mistory it was fantastic please read this book you will love it i promise you that

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    Good read!

    Good read. Interesting how things have changed and how Facebook affects our lives.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2013

    Book looks like bout love

    Is thiz book bout LOVE p.s. michie wrote this

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2012

    This book sucks

    After reading the first two or three chapters Ive come to a conclusion, Ive seen better works of literature from my fellow middle school students! No matter what anyone else tells you, DONT BUY THIS!!!!!! (I gave it two stars to be nice)

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2012

    Not bad

    This was a decent book, but not fantastic. Jay ashers first novel blew me away and i kept waiting for this one to do the same but it never did. I feel they had a great story line and they really could have done so much more with it.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2012

    Really good book

    This is a really good book and a quick read.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 309 Customer Reviews

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