Saturday, March 29, 2014

"The Future of Us" - Book Review

The Future of Us 
by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

Hi TBF Readers!

My name is Danielle Manou and I am a graduate student at Nazareth College. I am working toward becoming a Literacy Specialist for students aged birth through sixth grade. I currently work as a substitute in my local school district and hope to get a permanent teaching position soon. I absolutely love to read, but the older I get, the less time I seem to have to read anything other than textbooks or articles for school! When I do find free time, I usually spend it using social media like Twitter or Facebook, rather than picking up a book to read. I even offer the excuse that using sites like Twitter and Facebook are equivalent to reading a book.

Coincidentally, as I scrolled through the book choices on the TBF website, reading through a few descriptions, my clear first choice happened to be "The Future of Us"  by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler. I was drawn to the book because it centered around social media, with a major twist. While the main characters, Emma and Josh, struggled with their newfound ability to look into their futures I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to read the Facebook posts and look at the pictures of the ‘future’ me. Like the characters in the book, I think I would become addicted to checking my page for status updates and photographs, constantly wondering if I had affected my future in a negative or positive way with my actions each day. Unfortunately, I also wonder if I would allow it to consume my thoughts and interfere with my life in the present, especially my relationships. The relationship between Emma and Josh was dramatically affected by what they saw in their futures. While one of them is trying to maintain their marriage with one of the 'hottest' people in their high school, the other is trying to manipulate the little details in their present life to create a perfect future life. I found myself wishing I could just tell the characters what to do, rather than continue to read about them struggling!

Although the plot of the book is not very realistic (I have yet to meet someone who can see into the future) it proved to be a quick, enjoyable read and really got me thinking outside of the box. It also left me with many questions: 
  • How obsessed would we become with being able to change the future with our actions in the present? 
  • How much can one small decision alter the course of our lives years down the road? 
  • What would I want to see on my Facebook page fifteen years from now? 
  • If you could view the Facebook of the future you, would you do it, or choose not to?
I never expected to pick up "The Future of Us" and put it down with more questions than answers. I wonder if that was the intent of Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler - to force the reader to think about the book long after they have put it down.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post!

P.S. you might need to use google to look up some of the references made in this book! It was a serious blast from the past for me and reminded me of the internet and social media's measly beginnings back when I was a teenager (which wasn't even that long ago, but seems like it!).

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