It's 1996, and less than half of all American high-school students have ever used the Internet. Emma just got her first computer and an America Online CD-ROM. Josh is her best friend. They power up and log on - and discover themselves on Facebook, 15 years in the future.
Everybody wonders what their Destiny will be. Josh and Emma are about to find out.
©2011 Jay Asher, Carolyn Mackler (P)2011 Penguin
"A clever, timely story that will attract any teen with a Facebook account." (Booklist)
This was weirdly unbelievable, but a lot of fun to listen to. The basic idea is that a boy gives a girl a free AOL CD In 1996 and when she logs on, she finds herself looking at FaceBook 15 years into the future. She sees her own profile and believes that her future self is unhappy so she changes current decisions and then logs on again to see if her future is any better. Her friend Josh likes what his future looks like, so he keeps trying to stop Emma from changing things.
The story was fun and unique. I really enjoyed it. One of my favorite scenes was when they read a Facebook comment that said something like "Looking at the planets....poor Pluto" and Josh says "What the hell happened to Pluto?" Funny.
I bumped off one star for just a couple of quirks that weren't quite right. For example, in 1996, the GUI Internet was a little further developed worldwide than the AOL-only version in the book. The characters acted like the Internet was new. Also, there were a few times when the author led the characters toward unnatural decisions that I had a hard time swallowing. Nothing huge, just like when they realized they could see their futures, rather than diving into everything in the short online time that they had, they suddenly decide "Let's not look anymore today." It wasn't realistic. If you could see into the future and you're not sure if the web page will be there the next time you log on, are you going to just turn it off? It's not a huge thing, but enough that I couldn't justify a full five stars.
I'd definitely recommend the book, even for adults who were around 15 years ago and remember the time period.
The innovative concept of two teenagers in the 90's accessing Facebook in 2010.
When Josh first brings over the AOL CD-ROM was such a fun flashback to what so many of us experienced 15 years ago.
My favorite scene was the first time Emma and Josh start to explore Facebook together.
I was moved by the scene in which Emma first discovers that Josh is no longer her Facebook friend in 15 years due to actions she has taken trying to change her future.
Fifth Grade Teacher
I thoroughly enjoyed the narration by Steven Kaplan and Mary Ellen Cravens. Their vocal performances brought nuances to the characters that one might not catch if reading the print version.
The Future of Us is unique in it's premise and execution. Reading it was like a journey back to my teens and college years, when Internet access was new and exciting. How would I have reacted to my current Facebook profile back then? Would I be happy with my life to come or try to change it? How would seeing the future change my eventual outcome?
It's hard to pick a favorite character. Both performances were outstanding, and it was easy to get carried away with them on their journey.
I am a 14 year old girl. I love reading but i have a reading disorder so reading is very hard for me. I love listening to books so much!
Yes! I have listened to this book about four times. It is so good and it makes me very happy.
I can't compare this to anything else I have read because The Future of Us is nothing like anything else.
I have never listened to any of Steven Kaplan or Mary Ellen Craven's other performances.
I laughed so much while reading this. It is so funny.
I probably wouldn't listen to it again, but I enjoyed it the first time!
When the boy and girl discover Facebook for the first time.
They were likeable. They were vulnerable.
There were a couple of parts that make me chuckle.
THE STORY: There are two 'gimmicks' to this story: the first is that Josh and Emma (in 1996) are able to see their future Facebook pages (from 2011), and the knowledge of the future impacts their present actions and decisions. The second is that like "Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist", the narration of the story alternates between Emma and Josh, with Josh's parts written by Jay Asher (and read by Steven Kaplan) and Emma's by Carolyn Mackler (Mary Ellen Cravens). The alternating narrators works well, because if you find (like I did) that one narrator is especially annoying, you can rest easy knowing that that narrator will soon be replaced by a more likeable one. As for the Facebook thing.....when I started listening to this book, I wondered who the target audience was. I remember a time before Facebook. Heck, I remember the 90's. I laughed to myself when Emma strapped a discman to her arm to go jogging. I listened to Alannis and Dave Matthews - I remember bootleg tapes. "You've Got Mail" used to my favourite sound. And almost nobody had a cellphone. And I could relate with a bunch of 20th century kids wondering at texting or thinking that the only way you could access the internet was on a computer, because it wasn't that long ago that I was in that position. So it was a trip down memory lane. But would kids these days relate? Would they understand? Would they get the references? Or would it be a physical embodiment of the "back in my day" stories they get from their parents? I don't know. I know I enjoyed that aspect of the book. The story line was two-fold: on the one hand it was an experiment on how would people would react if they could see and thus change the future, and on the other hand it was a typical high school romance story. Both story lines are simple, but easy to digest and enjoyable.
THE AUDIOBOOK: Steven and Mary Ellen swap back and forth as the narration changes from Josh and Emma. Steven has a very easy to listen to voice, although his "female voice" was a little hard to take. Mary Ellen was very high pitched, but perfect for the character of Emma. The one negative aspect of this recording was the treatment of the Facebook posts: I'm assuming that in the print version, the Facebook status updates would be shown as screen shots, as though they were taken from a Facebook page (please, correct me if I'm wrong). And the narrators faithfully read everything in those screen shots....including the 'Like' and 'Comment' buttons, which just annoyed the heck out of me (so rather than just "Emma Nelson-Jones is having mac-n-cheese. 12 minutes ago", it becomes "Emma-Nelson Jones is having mac-n-cheese. 12 minutes ago. Like. Comment." Annoying, right?) Other than that, I found this a good audiobook to just zone out to on the train home.
I graduated in the late 90's so I loved all of the references to scrunchies and dial-up internet.
technically it may be science fiction but it reads like realistic fiction
both great voices, great performances
Several of my 8th grade students really enjoyed the book also!
I like to read VERY much .. I'm obsessed with reading I don't have time to actually read a book so I've been a listener for three years now
you make your future
when she saw her pictures from high school labeled
they were fine , but the male narrator needs some improving
the way that the future changes the moment you decide something now .. I was really moved by this
this is a really fun read and I recommend it to everyone
I loved Jay Asher's "13 Reasons Why", so of course I wanted to check this book. I felt the girl was a little nuts, but otherwise everything was as believable as it could be, considering what the book is about.
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