Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review: The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

Title: The Future of Us
Author: Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
Publisher: Razorbill
Release date: November 21st 2011
Pages: 356
Genre: YA
Source: Bought
Find out more: Amazon | Goodreads

Goodreads description:
It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD in the mail,his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn't been invented yet. And they're looking at themselves fifteen years in the future. By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right - and wrong - in the present.

First sentence:
I can't break up with Graham today, even though I told my friends I'd do it the next time I saw him.
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I was really, really excited to read The Future of Us. I loved Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why, and I'd heard great things about Carolyn Mackler. And this idea is so awesome - unique and fascinating. But I ended up feeling pretty underwhelmed about the whole novel.

I still love the idea. Discovering yourself on Facebook fifteen years into the future is one of the most intriguing hooks I could imagine. It's fun to wonder what I would do if I found my future self on Facebook. While the plot is predictable, I really liked reading about how Josh and Emma handle the situation, how their decisions in the present affect their future, and all of that. I liked the plot, and I still think the unique premise is what makes this book worth reading.

The rest of the novel, though, didn't really work for me. My main problem are the main characters. They're just so... bland. I couldn't connect with neither Emma nor Josh because I felt both lacked personality - there's nothing that makes them special or memorable. I wanted them to have some kind of quirks or interests to make them stand out, but they're pretty boring. I didn't build up a relationship towards Emma or Josh, and I didn't particularly care what happened to them. And characters are what's most important to me in a book, so that kept me from enjoying The Future of Us as much as I wanted to.

I actually liked the secondary characters in the beginning - I think if I were to discover everyone I know on Facebook in the future, I would want to know what happens to all those people. I was disappointed that we didn't get to see all that much about other people. Josh and Emma almost only look at their own profiles and futures instead of the ones of their friends, and they say it would be wrong to look at their friends' profiles, but really, I don't see the difference to wanting to change their own futures. I would have liked to see them discovering more about all of the people they know. The same goes for the real-life secondary characters. I liked reading about Kellan and Tylor in the beginning, but don't think we got to know enough about their story.

I've heard a lot of people say what they loved most about this book are all the 90s-references, but since I was born in 94, I didn't get a lot of that. And while I can't blame the book for that, I still think it's kind of strange how much the story relies on references that their main target audience, being YA, probably won't get. Maybe it would have appealed to me more if I were older.

I'm also a little concerned about the timelessness of The Future of Us. The descriptions of Facebook are accurate for the time the book was published, but Facebook is already different, with the Timeline and all of that. Two years from now, the Facebook in The Future of Us will be completely different from the real one.

 Maybe I just had too high expectations for The Future of Us - I was expecting epic awesomeness, and while what I got is a cute story with a unique premise, it's nowhere near epic. The novel is too plot-driven for me, and the characters fall short, which didn't work for me, since I prefer character-driven novels. Whatever the reason, I felt very underwhelmed reading The Future of Us.

If you've read this book, what did you think?


  1. Great review! I enjoyed this one but it's nowhere near as good as Jay's other novel. It was just plain light fun for me. I can see why it woudn't blow minds though haha

  2. I haven't read this one yet, but honestly I'm just looking forward to the 90's references (being of '82 vintage it's going to be familiar for me!).

    It's always a shame when you can't connect with the characters - if you don't care for them and miss the emotional attachment then it's difficult to be gripped by the book!

    Great review :-D

  3. Well, I'm old so I should get all of the references!  haha


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