The Future of Us
By Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
Expected publication November 21, 2011 by Razorbill
One of the fall's most anticipated teen novels, this is a collaboration between Jay Asher (whose debut 13 Reasons Why took YA by storm) and Carolyn Mackler (who has written a number of well-loved YA novels) that tells the story of best friends Emma and Josh. It's 1996 and Emma has just gotten her first computer. When Josh brings over a free AOL CD-ROM, Emma fires it up and finds...Facebook? OMG, she's looking at herself 15 years in the future...and she doesn't really like what she sees.
This was one of the most sought-after ARCs at ALA and I happily snagged a copy. Let me start with the good about this book: super-compelling. I literally did not want to put it down. I couldn't wait to find out how the present might affect what Facebook said the next time Emma and Josh logged on. Additionally, because this book takes place in 1996 and their Facebook profiles talk about things that don't exist yet, there are a few knowing laugh out loud moments. Sometimes, it makes you a bit nostalgic for the way things were (although this aspect might be lost on teens who were mere babies in 1996). But for me, there is one big part of this book that doesn't work: Emma. To me, she is one of the least sympathetic characters I've encountered in a while. And because of this, it causes a lot of the other aspects of the novel to not work for me. I find Emma to be whiny and ridiculous and because of this, I was actively rooting against her friendship with Josh. Because I thought Josh was a decent enough character and couldn't imagine why he was friends with Emma. Maybe it's just me and other readers won't have this problem. But this made the novel a bit of a miss for me.
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.