Release Date: Nov 21st 2011 (US) / Jan 5th 2012 (AU)
Publisher: Razorbill / Simon & Schuster AU
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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.When Josh gives Emma a free CD AOL CD he received in the mail, the pair use her new computer to log on to the world wide web.... and find a strange site called Facebook. It's 1996 and Facebook isn't even a seed in the mind of Mark Zuckerberg. But somehow Emma has logged on.... to her account 15 years in the future. It's such an intriguing premise, using the internet to take a peek into your future. I found myself so compelled to learn what new updates Emma and Josh would find on their profiles and how it would affect them in the present. One ripple in time can change your future in astounding ways. A small thing like spilled water could have a domino effect and change who you marry or where you work.
By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right - and wrong - in the present
I was surprised just how much the characters grew on me. Both Emma and Josh are engaging narrators. I loved watching as they matured and their emotions spiralled out of control both from Facebook and one another. Once best friends, Josh started to grow a crush on Emma which resulted in her rejecting him. Cue awkward tension that's lasted the past 6 months. Josh is still into Emma, but she doesn't feel the same way. It was so enjoyable to watch as they rekindled their friendship (with plenty of arguments along the way!) and for Emma to eventually come to terms with the fact that deep down, she might just have feelings for Josh too. Jay and Caroline captured all the awkwardness, confusion and raging emotions of teenage love perfectly.
Josh was a delightful character and it was often amusing reading from his perspective. Despite his disappointment and heartache over being rejected, he wasn't moping around. He still regretted that Emma rejected him, but that didn't mean he wasn't getting on with his life. While initially reluctant with Facebook, he saw what his future could offer and like Emma, that knowledge affected his daily interactions. Although his actions were sometimes a little less deliberate Emma's. He was trying to embrace his, whereas she was constantly trying to change hers because she didn't think she was happy based on her status updates. But we all know social networking sites are a breeding ground for whining (no offense anyone, but we ALL do it haha). She sometimes made stupid decisions that frustrated me, but in a good way, because she felt so realistically flawed. And I could relate to her growing obsession with the future, because I think curiousity would instantly overcome me and I'd be hitting that refresh button 50 times a day just to see if my life was as awesome as my overly exaggerated fantasies suggest it will be.
Knowledge is power. If you had foresight into the future and knew that one small thought or action could change things, would you actively try to alter it? Where would it end, though? It's a downward spiral if you become too invested. You're forever living to create the dream life you want, always looking forward, but never living in the now. The Future of Us is as much a thought-provoking novel as it is a fun and nostalgic look back at the 90's. Endearing characters, friendly nods to the past and a uniquely fascinating premise make this such an addictive read!
4/5 golden apples!