Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Review: The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler


Do you ever read a book that you don't dislike, but you don't really like it, either? It's just kinda "meh". That was what this book was for me. Which is disappointing, coz I was so excited to read it thanks to its brilliant premise - it's set in 1996, and two friends find they can magically log on to Facebook 15 years in the future. Seriously, how cool does that sound? It's such a unique idea and opens up so many possibilities - but unfortunately, the execution falls far short of the potential.

My main problem was with the two protagonists, Josh and Emma. Josh is OK, just an average teenager who has some funny moments - but overall he's kinda bland. And Emma, well, she's whiny, selfish and really, really annoying. The bulk of the FB-related story (which sadly becomes less of a focus as the book progresses) is taken up with her freaking out about her future husband(s) and how unfair her life is. The carelessness with which she treats not just her own future but also that of her friends is disconcerting. Plus the way she treats her family and friends in the present - and Josh in particular - is pretty awful. I didn't care for her at all.

I was also disappointed at the lack of resolution to the plot. I was hoping you'd be able to see Josh and Emma's "current" Facebook profiles to find out how things turned out after all, but the book just kinda ends. I get that the main message was that you should live in and enjoy the present, but it just felt unfinished. There were a few subplots left dangling, too, and the lack of closure made me wonder why they were even in there in the first place. They just took time away from the main story without really going anywhere.

What the book did do was make me think - if I'd been able to see my Facebook profile back in the day, what would my reaction have been? It actually made me realise that I probably would have been pretty happy with the way my life was turning out, and reminded me of all the cool things I've done and achieved over the past 10 years. Which makes me sound all braggy or something which is totally not cool - but my point is that it made me think about all the positives in my life. Which is cool.

It also made me think about how truly random, weird and occasionally frequently stupid Facebook is. It's pretty crazy that we spend so much time on it - and put so much of our information out there. But that's a whole 'nother rant. As for The Future of Us - it's a fantastic idea squandered on disappointing characters and a patchy plot. Such a shame!

Rating: 2.5/5

Eye Candy
As the setting was 1996, I just had to go back to my mid-90s celeb crushes to "cast" The Future of Us. Which essentially meant I pillaged two stars of The Babysitter's Club - Austin O'Brien for Josh and Marla Sokoloff for Emma.

 
Fine Print
Genre: Young Adult
Published: January 2012, Simon & Schuster
Get It: Fishpond

20 comments:

  1. I know what you mean! I really wanted to love this book - but it fell a little flat for me. It was interesting enough, but not one of my favorites.

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  2. Totally agree with your assessment - cool idea, but just so-so in reality. And speaking of the BSC... did you know that Scholastic has Pinterest boards for each of the members of the BSC??? Pretty sure Cokie Mason didn't get one though :)

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    1. OMG that sounds awesome. I need to get on to Pinterest - I've avoided it so far coz I already waste enough time on the internet!

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  3. I hate when you read "meh" books! I have a feeling though that if I were to read this book, I would feel the same way.

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    1. They're the hardest books to read - or review, at least!

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  4. I bought a copy of this recently but haven't read it yet, I hope I like it because reading meh books isn't fun!

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    1. I'd be interested to know what you think!

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  5. Oh bummer. I have high hopes for this one. Thanks for the honest review.

    LOVE that you chose Marla.

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    1. I loved her so much back in the day!

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  6. This book let me down as well. I so wanted to know what happened with her friend that had a 14 yr old daughter. And Josh's older brother coming out. So many subplots left undeveloped.

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    1. Yes I wanted to know how those things panned out too! So frustrating.

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  7. Ha! Your 90s cast is perfect. Despite the nostalgia I'm probably happy feel while reading this one, I don't think this one is for me. I hate it when it seems like things are left unfinished.

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    1. That's probably a smart move. Probably better to reread an actual 90s book :D

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  8. I don't think I would like Emma. I can't stand whiny characters. I am intrigued by this book though. You are right that the premise sounds amazing.

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    1. Yeah characters are SO important for my enjoyment of a book. They have to have one redeeming quality at least.

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  9. I felt pretty much exactly the same about this one. It had an interesting concept (and you're right, it did get off topic really badly) but failed due to awful characters. I hated Emma - just wanted to throttle her.

    I wish there'd been a little more explanation too - how did they manage to see Facebook in the first place!?

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    1. I would have liked the background/mechanics/magic explored a little more, too. I feel like the characters didn't react realistically to the whole situation - they kind of accepted it too quickly without exploring it.

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  10. Oh that sucks! Sorry you didn't like it as much. I've been hearing similar reviews about this one too. That's too bad since it sounds good.

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  11. Ive heard so many people say the same about this book.. its on my tbr and I really want to read it to see if I feel the same!

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