“It’s 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They’ve been best friends almost as long–up until last November when everything changed. Things have been awkward ever since, but when Josh’s family gets an America Online CD-ROM in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they’re automatically logged onto Facebook . . . but Facebook hasn’t been invented yet. Josh and Emma are looking at their profiles fifteen years in the future. Their spouses, careers, homes, and status updates–it’s all there. But it’s not what they expected. And every time they refresh their pages, their futures change. As they grapple with the ups and downs of what their lives hold, they’re forced to confront what they’re doing right–and wrong–in the present.”
What would you do if you had access to information from the future? Mind you, it’s not profitable information–just about what happens to you, fifteen years from now.
That’s what happens to Josh and Emma in The Future of Us. They get access to Facebook and find out how their lives turn out in the future. It’s a promising premise. Unfortunately, I don’t think it was fully utilized by authors Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler.
The thing is, for the most part of the novel, we are not invested in the love story they’re trying to sell. And that’s because they’re not doing a lot of selling in the story to begin with. We’re told that Josh and Emma have deep friendship, and then something happened. We’re told that Josh had feelings for Emma, but he’s sort of moved on. And Emma, for ninety percent of the book, is in love with someone else.
By the time the book ends, you feel as if the writers just wanted it to end. And the worst part is, you know that Josh and Emma will end up together before the story closes. So the lack of development in their relationship is really infuriating.
I think this book would’ve worked better with one perspective–either Emma’s or Josh’s. I’d pick Josh because he’s the more likeable character of the two. Or maybe Emma just became unbearable because Josh is mostly steadfast throughout the whole thing. (What is it with perfect boys in young adult chick literature, anyway?) The point is, the story suffered because we’re following two separate story threads that I think were supposed to meet midway, but didn’t.
Bottom line? I didn’t like the book. So much so that I wish the 1996 versions of the two authors can see the feedback on their novel and rethink the whole thing.