Book: ‘The Future of Us’ makes for a quick, one-time read


Stephanie Chang

“The Future of Us,” published Nov. 24, is currently priced at $19.99 for the hardcover version. The book was written by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler. Photo by Stephanie Chang.

The future is yours to take.

Jay Asher (Thirteen Reasons Why) and Carolyn Mackler (The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things), two of the most renowned authors in Young Adult literature, team up o write the novel, “The Future of Us.” Set in 1996, the story follows two high school students, Emma and Josh, and their discovery of their Facebook profiles, fifteen years in the future, on Emma’s new computer. However, while the premise of “The Future of Us” is certainly intriguing, the writing and execution falls flat on its feet.

The plot and writing attempt a crack at being unique and poetic, but the interest value in the novel withers quickly after the first two chapters. Everything else, including the ending, is foreseeable. Monotonous and full of cliches and plot holes, the writing also jumps along awkwardly and choppily in intimate scenes, interrupting the flow of the work.

The characters were almost as boring as the writing. Josh and Emma should have different, dynamic and vivid voices, even more so considering that each author wrote each character’s perspective in alternating chapters. Yet, despite having different personalities, the two voices are difficult to tell apart; if the chapters were not labeled with each character’s names, the writing would have jumbled into one, confusing narrative.

In fact, Josh’s character seems to be borrowed from the personality of Jay Asher’s previous protagonist, Clay Jenson from “Thirteen Reasons Why.” They are both Gary Stus — the male counterpart of a Mary Sue — kind, shy, passive, and all-around good guys. No wonder both characters’ crushes stomp all over them like doormats.

“The Future of Us” also attempts to make a social commentary by suggesting that we should watch what we post on our Facebook walls in case our younger selves are watching us. However, the dry and flat tone the novel has taken the credibility away from this message and instead, leaves the readers with many unanswered questions as it draws to a cliched and unsatisfying ending.