The Future of Us (by Jay Asher [Thirteen Reasons Why] and Carolyn Mackler [The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things]) has been getting quite a bit of hype because of its premise: It’s 1996 and two teenagers install AOL Online from a CD. They come across Facebook, which has not been invented yet, and they are seeing their profiles 15 years in the future. Anything they do in the present has the possibility of altering their futures, and all these minute changes are reflected in the changing Facebook statuses.
As I do with most YA novels, I found the characters to be somewhat weak and under-developed, but I believe the character development suffered because the book is driven by its premise, not by its characters.
Yes, it was a cool premise. I liked the 90s references scattered throughout the book. The characters listened to my kind of music, too, so that was neat. It was fun to hear the characters say or think things like, “What the hell happens to Pluto?” and “…if Netflix plus Glee equals my life, I’m hoping those are good things.”
The main part of the story takes place in the present, where the two main characters are trying to reconcile the futures they see on Facebook with what they do and feel and think in the present. There are a few romantic subplots, which was nice, but I didn’t feel as though the book ended well. It seemed that there were a few too many loose ends.
My favorite part of the book had to be the lesson/moral of the story: What you do in the present, no matter how small it is, will affect your future, sometimes in a profound way. It is good to be mindful of your future, but it is not good to dwell on things that you cannot change. I think that the book does a good job of conveying its lesson, and that, for the most part, it does deserve the hype it has received.