Title: The Future of Us
Author: Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
Released: November 2011
Summary: 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. - Goodreads
Remember being a teenager and being utterly confused about well...almost everything? Everything felt so definite; the choices you made sometimes felt like they could be the biggest decisions of your life. What classes to take, what Universities to apply to, what friends you kept and the ones you let drift apart. Now imagine if you had the ability to look into the future and see exactly how these choices effect your life. Pretty sweet right? However as Emma and Josh in The Future of Us discover knowing the future is problematic, as it changes their current choices and sends out a ripple effect that changes their future in a multitude of ways.
The novel is told from the alternating view points of Emma and Josh, next door neighbors and best friends who have recently drifted apart due to Josh's unrequited feelings for Emma. This style of writing works well to move the story along quickly and highlights both characters journey of self discovery in the novel as the impact of knowing what their future will look like changes the way they behave in the present. Josh gains more confidence after discovering that his future self is married to the hottest girl in school, while Emma begins to question everything about her current life when she discovers that she appears to be deeply unhappy in the future.
While the characters don't delve into much outside of their own insular issues of 'who will I marry?' and 'what job will I have in the future?', the beauty of The Future of Us is it's ability to open up readers minds to what their own future will look like in 15 years. Not only was it thought-provoking and engrossing read, The Future of Us was overflowing with references to the mid 90s. Older readers will love this nostalgic walk down memory lane, back when we had CD-ROMs, Disc-mans, and dialing up to the Internet went hand in hand with listening to that crackling and beeping sound.