Book Review: The Future of Us

If you had the chance to change your destiny because of what you saw on your future Facebook page, would you take it?

Book Cover of The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn MacklerBy Heather Camlot

What would you do if your teen self discovered your Facebook page 15 years into the future – and you didn’t like what you read?

That’s the basis for the new young adult novel The Future of Us, written by Jay Asher (Th1rteen R3asons Why) and Carolyn Mackler (The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things).

When Emma installs an America Online CD-ROM into her new computer, she’s already logged onto Facebook. But this is 1996, and the powerhouse social network hasn’t been invented yet. What she and her best friend, Josh, learn about their futures in mini snippets is torturous for one, pleasing for the other, unexpected for both. Their newfound knowledge leads them to intentionally and accidentally change their behaviours in the present, resulting in ripples and waves every time they hit refresh.

As Josh and Emma discover how current moves affect their future, they’re still embroiled in their everyday lives, filled with high school, dating and parents who just don’t understand. Together, both battles – for a future of their dreams and a present they can live with – take teenage angst to a whole new level.

While the novel may be centred on Emma and Josh, the focus is much broader: the authors really question whether the way we use technology today in 2012 is healthy, appropriate and useful. Should we be revealing bite-sized information of our lives to our hundreds of “friends”? Has technology taken away from real relationships? What would happen if we just logged off?

The Future of Us is a compelling read (Warner Bros. thinks so as well; it’s already bought the film rights) for teens and adults alike. It makes you wonder about all those “what if” scenarios we’ve all faced and have yet to face. And it recalls a time when technology wasn’t the be all and end all of our lives. Maybe it’s time we pick up a book again and forget about the future for a while.

First published January 12, 2012, on WorkLivePlayCafe.com.

 

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