Saturday, August 20, 2011
The Future of Us
THE FUTURE OF US, by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, will be a sure hit with the kids this fall. Josh and Emma are high schoolers who used to be best friends, but have drifted apart in the past few years. The year is 1996 and everyone is getting the AOL cd-rom in the mail with a "free 100 hours" (remember those?). Josh brings Emma the cd he has so she can set up her new email and AOL account. However, the next time Emma logs on, she sees a "facebook" link under her "favorites" page. She clicks on it, but has no idea what it means. She sees status alerts written by her in the future. Unfortunately, Emma's life doesn't seem to be what she dreams it will be in the future. Josh gets called in since he must know something about what she downloaded from his own disk. Josh "finds" himself on Facebook and finds he is married to the current most popular girl in their high school. As the novel progresses, Josh and Emma find that whatever encounters they have at school that day change the future through Facebook. Josh, however, likes his sunny outlook in the years ahead. As the two try to negotiate a social networking site they know nothing about (and hasn't even been invented yet), they discover things about themselves and their own relationship to each other. The novel is told in alternating perspectives and overlaps just a bit in time so the reader can see how the two have different perceptions of what is going on with them. The magical realism really drives the plot and makes for a fantastic read. To start with the question- "what if..." in this case, really works for both of these well received authors.