The Future of Us

The Future of Us

4.0 313
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
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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