Never judge a book by its cover, they said. Yet I went and chose my book precisely because of that. Its glossy blue cover lured me to it as I scanned the shelves at the bookstore. As soon as I read the word ‘Future’ in the title, I knew I’d found my chosen one.
Written in the first person that alternates between the two protagonists, the book sets us into a very fast pace, as events unfold over the space of a few days. This makes Jay Asher’s and Carolyn Mackler’s The Future of Us a novel for teens that you won’t want to put down, even if you are an adult.
Imagine you could see your future. And you didn’t like what you saw. This is exactly what happens to teenager Emma when, living in 1996, she stumbles onto a mysterious social networking site from the future. Its name is Facebook. Meanwhile, for her friend Josh, the future is looking ridiculously perfect and he will do anything in his power to avoid it going wrong.
Oblivious to Harry Potter is or the fact that Titanic will be a film, Emma and Josh browse their fifteen-years-later profiles and keep refreshing when they don’t like what they see. But that requires making moves in the present, occasionally causing ripples and inflicting catastrophe upon their adult selves.
The most interesting thing about this story is the novelty in which the theme of time travel is presented. The characters perceive the future and keep trying to tweak it instead of accepting it as is. The authors question destiny and its hold over us, using two youngsters and a time-travel machine of sorts to continually update possible futures. Emma’s panic and reluctance to accept things as they are (or as they will be rather) shows the will-power and obstinate mind of a teen realistically. Josh’s apparent prospective good life causes even him to act just like any young man would, trying his best to make the dreams come true.
In this game, not only do the protagonists know what will be, but are also able to change the inevitable, as it were. Both of them also take a peek at their dearests’ upcoming lives, causing them worry and changing their perception of people they thought they knew well. The question here is simple – can anyone ever really control what happens next?
Then again, the real mission of the book seems to be a more direct and specific one, involving both teens, their present and past. For the future appears bleak unless they are Friends on Facebook in fifteen years’ time.
A little like Where Rainbows End (Cecelia Ahern) but a simpler and more straightforward read, this book jumpstarts the future whilst giving the two friends a past, keeping them just a little apart, constantly slightly missing each other for the future’s sake. This novel is the definition of a page-turner for who wouldn’t be curious to see… just what happens next?!
The book for this review was kindly provided by Agenda Bookshop.