I’m a sucker for best friend stories. I always have been, and I’m pretty sure I always will be. I have seen Made of Honor more times than I’d care to admit even though…well, let’s just say I know I should be and I am pretty embarrassed about it. It doesn’t have to be best friends to more (though that’s a plus), I just like stories where we get to see two people who know things about the other person and like them because of those things. I also really like stories that have an element of the supernatural without it being the usual supernatural or the whole omg it’s fated thing. On top of all of that, I was/am/will always be a little bit obsessed with Jay Asher’s 13 Reasons Why. So when The Future of Us, a book co-written with Carolyn Mackler, magically appeared on my doorstep, I might have done a not-embarrassing-at-all dance of glee.
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, fifteen years in the future. Everybody wonders what their Destiny will be. Josh and Emma are about to find out.
I loved the idea of this book. I loved the idea that maybe living in a time where every little details about ourselves is online isn’t such a great thing. And I really loved the idea of looking forward into the future and thinking…how did I get there? Because, for me, this book really hammers home the idea that life is what we make of it. Sometimes there are things that are completely out of our control, but how we react to those things is a choice. Seeing two seventeen year old not-quite-kids-but-definitely-not-adults struggling with their whole future? Some of us graduate high school and pop off to college and pick a degree without really thinking about what that will mean for our futures. And some of us think about it too much. This whole plot was a great play on what would otherwise be the usual high school theme of self discovery and etc.
I liked the Emma and Josh because I thought they fit the plot and because of their history. I liked seeing where they’d been and what had happened when things didn’t go the way either one of them had planned. I liked seeing the consequences of their decisions in their now and in their future and how they handled the idea of what all of that meant. And I really liked how long it took them to figure it out because, cheesy though this seems, that’s life.
Emma’s and Josh’s voices were similar enough that you can see that they’d know each other for their whole lives but different enough (yay for a working two author system) that they didn’t feel like one person. More importantly, each of them was a complete character. I got to see how they were when they were happy and sad and determined and confused. I got to see them experience sitting all alone without anyone else around. I got to see them as individuals, so I understood them by the time the book ended in way I’ve missed in a lot of YA books lately.
The book was predictable, I have to admit, but it’s not the type of book that shouldn’t be. It’s the kind of book you curl up with on a rainy/snowy fall/winter day (assuming you’re not as unlucky as me and live in a place that doesn’t have two seasons: early summer and late summer ), and just read to enjoy. It will make you think, sure, but that sort of delicious nostalgia kind of thinking and that awesome “my future is what I make of it” dreaming. I finished this book smiling, and really, I don’t know if I can ask for much more than that from any author. Now I just need to go find a bunch more Carolyn Mackler books because I am apparently missing out.
I’d like to thank Penguin’s Razorbill division for sending me this book before the November 21, 2011 release date. Because I want someone else to share my pre-release joy, I’m going to give away my ARC (even though I want to clutch it and cuddle it to my chest). All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this entry by midnight CST on Sunday, November 9, 2011 and you’ll be entered towin. Good luck!