Teenagers Learn All Actions Have Consequences in ‘The Future of Us’

Haley Jamieson April 10, 2014 1
Teenagers Learn All Actions Have Consequences in ‘The Future of Us’
Cover of "The Future of Us." Photographer: Haley Jamieson '16
  • Writing
  • Story
  • Characters
  • Enjoyment

In a collaborative effort by authors Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, “The Future of Us” is a young adult science fiction novel that focuses on the perils of knowing the future.

Set in 1996 at the birth of the Internet, the story is triggered by a disk that holds information of the protagonists’ future lives.

Protagonists Emma Nelson  and Josh Templeton are neighbors and high school friends until a misunderstanding occurs about the nature of their relationship. Josh receives an American Online (AOL) CD-ROM in the mail, and Emma is given a computer.

The CD-ROM opens and takes Emma to Facebook, where she discovers her Facebook page in 2011. At first, both Josh and Emma believe they are looking at a fake page or a virus on the CD until something happens in their present life that was predicted on their Facebook pages.

They soon realize that every decision they make in 1996 makes changes to their 2011 Facebook page—a lesson that all actions have consequences.

As Emma and Josh focus on their future, their present lives begin to unravel. It is only when Emma considers the present over the possible future that she begins to see the possibilities right in front of her. She says it’s a “difficult decision, but I’m considering canceling my Facebook account. I should spend more time living in the here and now. Anyone who needs to reach me knows how.”

The here and now involves her family and finding romance with Josh.

The book is written in sporadic Facebook postings and first person musings. The perspective switches chapter to chapter between Josh and Emma.

“The Future of Us” tells a cautionary tale of spending far too much time on social media concerned with the future and is a call to be more present. This would be a great read for any vacation, especially on a long plane ride. The actual book is a better investment than the Kindle version because of the interesting cover art.


One Comment »

  1. Stephen April 11, 2014 at 11:36 AM -

    Haley, as always your viewpoint is inciteful and your prose vibrant. The value of “being present” is so important and one we don’t often consider in this digital age in which we live. Sounds like a good read for any age.