Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Future of Us

In The Future of Us co-authored by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, the setting is 1996 and Josh and Emma are high school students who had been friends since childhood, up until a few months ago when Josh made the mistake of trying to be more than friends to Emma and had his heart broken. It's been months since they've spoken but knowing Emma just got a new computer from her father, Josh's mom sends him over with an AOL CD they'd received in the mail. Once Emma signs in, she's logged into her Facebook page, the problem is Facebook has yet to be invented, and the page is of her 15 years into the future. At first Emma is sure this is merely a prank by Josh, but he denies her claims. Once they find Josh's page and are convinced this is no hoax but instead a peek into the future, they also quickly realize that the decisions they make today also affect their future selves.

The premise was so original and promising that I read this book, despite the fact that it's a young adult novel. The authors unfortunately waste the story's potential on the two self-centered and oblivious teenage protagonists. The book's chapters alternate between Josh and Emma, neither of which offer any redeeming characteristics which make the reader care about their life now or in the future. Emma is selfish and boy crazy, concerned about nothing and noone but her latest crush. Josh is slightly better, in so much as he at least truly cares about Emma, though he's quick to think with something other than his head or heart when he finds out that his future self is married to the hottest girl in school. Wasted opportunities abound. You get a rare glimpse into the future and all you're concerned about and obsess over is who you marry and where you'll live? Really? I know they're teenagers, but not all teenagers are shallow twits, I'd say most aren't. The books redemption comes in the last couple chapters when miraculously, like the Grinch's heart, their minds grew three sizes that day, and the two protagonist start to think like rational human beings.