Friday, November 18, 2011

The Future of The Future of Us

"It's 1996, and less than half of all American high school students have ever used the Internet.

"Emma just got her first computer and an America Online CD-ROM.

"Josh is her best friend.they power up and log on -- and discover themselves on Facebook, fifteen years in the future."

I loved it, The Future of Us, by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler.

I love that the plot is driven by high school junior Emma's obsession to have a good marriage fifteen years ahead. Emma's motivation is clear: her own parents are divorced and remarried, with lots of complications.

The effects of divorce is just one of the social issues Future explores. There's also homosexuality; stereotypes; teen sex, drinking, drugs.

Who will Emma end up marrying? Will she be happy? What will Emma and Josh do about the future they can see? The six-day mystery unfolds in 65 short chapters, through alternating narrators Emma and Josh. Each chapter is so compelling and fluid that moving through the book is smooth and fast. I never found a good time or place to put it down -- wanted to keep going, had to remind myself to slow down and enjoy each word.

I can see Mackler's call for respecting individuality and complex family dynamics (The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things). And there are threads of Asher's theme of how one small "ripple" affects a lot of other people (13 Reasons Why).

While I might have traded out a couple characters for a little more 1996 -- what everyone was wearing/eating/drinking/watching/doing -- I cherished the details, like the songs that "played" in the story, and the "Wayne's World" part, and the problem with Pluto.

The Future of Us
is tight and real, funny and sad. These talented writers marry wit and philosophy, delivering a thought-provoking tale of two teens trying to thrive in a quickly-changing world:

"No matter how small the ripple, the most vulnerable part of the future is going to be our children."


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