Book Review From a Guest Blogger: The Future of Us
It is my pleasure to welcome a guest blogger to Joyfully Retired. Our guest today is Q, my very talented eldest granddaughter. (I was going to introduce her as brilliant but, I’m trying to be modest.) Q loves to read, so she was born into the right family.
During the summer Q volunteers weekly at her local library and sits on the library’s Teen Council. She’s always up-to-date on the best books and often recommending books for me to read. I asked Q to share with us her thoughts on a book that is currently at the top of her ‘Favorites’ list. Here’s what she has written:
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The co-written novel, The Future of Us, by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, is a funny and fast-paced novel for adults, both young and old. It is an exciting book you just want to keep reading and reading. Teen readers can relate to the relationships and plot in this book. The Future of Us reminded me of The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg because of the confusing relationships between the two main characters. It also reminded me of the movie Back To The Future by Robert Zemeckis because of the time travel and comical situations.
The Future of Us is set in 1996, in the sunny suburbs of a town where everyone knows everyone. The main characters, Josh and Emma, have been next door neighbors and best friends for as long as they can remember. Josh begins misinterpreting friendship for romance, and their relationship becomes strained and uncomfortable. A few months later, Josh comes over to download a CD-ROM on to Emma’s new computer. Suddenly they are logged onto Facebook… but Facebook hasn’t been invented yet.
Throughout the book, Josh and Emma struggle as they try to understand this new information about their futures. They also try to comprehend how any changes that they make now, will affect them later in life. However, they realize that not only will their futures be altered by their choices, but their friends, families, and complete strangers futures will change as well.
The Future of Us was the first book that Asher and Mackler had collaborated on, which was released in 2011. Asher’s other book, 13 Reasons Why, is about a girl who tape-recorded thirteen different reasons why she committed suicide. This touching and sad book was released in 2007, and it also won the California Book Award For Young Adults a year later. Carolyn Mackler started out at Ms. Magazine as an intern, and contributed to a number of other magazines like Seventeen, Glamour, and American Girl. She has written several books including Love And Other Four-Letter Words, which was released in 2000, and Tangled, released in 2009.
The Future of Us is funny and exciting with characters that were both believable, upbeat and complex. I felt that the book gave off a carefree happy mood at times, while other times it gave off an agitated and sorrowful mood. I felt the moods blended together well, and really helped mold the story and make it seem realistic. For example, Emma is looking at a photo of Josh, two of their best friends and herself. The authors describe this happy and lively moment, and then go on to tell how she rips the photo in blind-hatred of Josh. This shows the way the authors incorporate both moods in one description.
While I found this book laughable and lighthearted at points, I disliked the fact that the authors made Emma really arrogant, and disrespectful of others feelings. There’s a section where Emma is trying to change her and Josh’s future as a game. As the game escalates, Emma ends up kissing Josh, when only four months ago, she rejected him. In another chapter, she is discussing the fact that she is dating a boy, Graham, who she doesn’t really like. She continues dating him because she wanted to make Cody, her crush, jealous. I found this incredibly irritating and it made me feel less sympathetic towards Emma.
The authors switched between the two characters each chapter, using the first person narrative. This was a clever device used to reveal both Josh and Emma’s thoughts. This brought you closer to the characters because it gave them more depth, and made them seem like real people rather than characters from a book. I also thought that the concept of time travel through Facebook, was a funny and interesting way to incorporate time travel into the book.
Overall, The Future of Us is an amazing book that is beautifully written. It has an easy to follow style, great descriptions, and loads of comedy. I recommend it to anyone who loves well-developed characters, time travel, drama and romance. If you need a good laugh on a rainy day, this a great book!
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Thank you Q. Now I can’t wait to read The Future of Us. Great review. You are most welcome to visit here anytime. Q is a seventh grader living in Portland, Oregon.