I can’t break up with Graham today, even though I told my friends I’d do it the next time I saw him. So instead, I’m hiding in my bedroom, setting up my new computer while he plays Ultimate Frisbee in the park across the street.

The Future of Us is an amazingly original novel. It’s set in 1996, and the two main characters (who take turns narrating) are Josh and Emma, who are high-school students. They have been neighbors all their lives, but things got awkward in November. Then, Josh’s family gets an American Online CD-ROM in the mail, and his mom makes him go over to Emma’s house so he can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they’re automatically logged onto Facebook…which hasn’t been invented yet. They’re looking at their future in 2011, and every time they refresh the page, the futures change: their spouses, where they live, etc. This will change every aspect of their lives and how they think of each other too.

There were some elements of this one that I wished could have been explored more throughout the novel. For example, who sent them the CD? And obviously, how can they see their futures? But this is fascinating novel focused on other aspects of what happens, and I just loved the premise and the writing style. I assume Jay Asher wrote Josh’s chapters, and Carolyn Macker wrote Emma’s. Both Emma and Josh are interesting characters, and I really wanted to see Emma turn out happy.

I also find it really mind-boggling (inside joke here) that in 1996, the Internet was a relatively new thing. Just sixteen years ago. And the Internet and phone lines are on the same line (you can’t use the phone and the Internet at the same time). The Future of Us was also hugely suspenseful; I tore through it in one afternoon. In terms of the vocabulary and font size, it’s an easy read, but also fascinating and to some extent, mesmerizing. I hadn’t read Jay Asher or Carolyn Mackler before, and I was pleasantly surprised (not that I was expecting it to be bad.)

The last thing I want to mention is this idea that if you change one tiny thing, the whole future will be different. It’s such a huge concept. I think there’s a science fiction story where people can travel back to dinosaur times but they’re not supposed to step off of the sterile pad. To make a long story short, one of them does by accident, and crushes a single butterfly. When they get back to modern-day, the entire human race has vanished off of the face of the planet. It’s kind of a similar idea (though on a much smaller scale) that’s portrayed in The Future of Us, a novel which I would highly recommend.

356 pages.

 
Outstanding Book That Will Stay On My Bookshelf For Rereading (jf I own it)!
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