When I was a teenager, long ago during the 1990s, the internet was a much different place than it is today. To connect to the World Wide Web you had to use dial up modems: small plastic boxes which made weird eeeeeeeebingdingbingdingchshhhhhh sounds when connecting, were incredibly slow and tied up the phone line. Instead of search engines like Google, to find a website you had to scroll through pages of directories: long lists of websites sorted by topic. And social media was non-existent: no YouTube, no Facebook, not even MySpace…just email. Online was truly a dark and lonely place.
“The Future of Us” is based in this bleak past, 1996 to be exact, where the internet was just beginning to take form. But Emma is about to get a glimpse into the future. When she receives an American Online free trial CD-ROM (these disks were everywhere) all she intends to do is create her first email account, instead she notices something called “Facebook” and opening it she discovers her own Facebook page…from 15 years in the future.
Immediately she has to share this discovery with her longtime neighbor and once-best friend (it’s complicated) Josh, and they proceed to look up their future selves. Only problem is, while Josh seems to have a great future, married to uber-popular and attractive Sydney Mills and living in a mansion, Emma does not seem very happy. She’s married to some guy named Jordan Jones whose apparently never home (Emma suspects he is cheating on her). To fix this Emma does the unthinkable: tries to make sure she never meets Jordan Jones thus altering her and everyone elses future forever.
I loved the concept of this book. Being able to see your future Facebook account is an appealing and frightening idea. I liked how Emma would jump to conclusions based on intentionally vague Facebook statuses, something I think often happens in our own everyday use of Facebook. Also, writing about time-travel can be very tricky, but I think that the authors did a great job here. Even the slightest change to the present significantly alters the future, such as how many kids Emma and Josh have, so every time they check their Facebook their lives are significantly different. This was a fun read that you should definitely check out!
Review by Simon, CLP-East Liberty