Gemma's Reviews > The Future of Us

The Future of Us by Jay Asher
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Dec 26, 2011

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Read in December, 2011

Kids in the 90’s discover the Facebook accounts they will have in fifteen years. They can see their career, their spouses, their children and their happiness—and if they don’t like it, they can just make a new decision, hit the refresh button, and watch their future unfold.

Brilliant, right?

Unfortunately, in the end, it all boils down to one thing: relationship drama.

It’s mostly about Emma, an annoying, self-centered girl I have the misfortune of sharing a name with. She has a boyfriend name Graham that she doesn’t love, and there’s a dude named Cody who she wants to go out with. There’s also her friend, Josh, who she really couldn’t care less about, until she sees his future on Facebook and sees that he’s relatively wealthy, lives in a nice house, and has three adorable kids with the most beautiful girl at their school, whom he is happily married to.

Well, she’s in a failing relationship with some jerk who’s cheating on her, so she’s jealous.

I suppose this is natural; if you saw that you were doomed to a lifetime of unhappiness while your friend lucked out and lives happily ever after, human instinct immediately goes to jealousy. However, she takes this jealousy to the next level. She’s mean and hostile to Josh and keeps screwing with her decisions and future in an attempt to get to that same level of happiness Josh is on, not caring if she messes with his future so long as she winds up okay.

Of course every decision leads her into more and more future unhappiness. It’s a bit of a paradox, though, because she doesn’t realize that it’s not the future that’s being cruel to her; it’s her own selfish motivations that lead her deeper and deeper into misfortune that is, quite frankly deserved.

I’m not saying life’s gonna go great if you’re a great person. Bad things will happen to good people. I believe in fate, or a divine plan or something along those lines. But fate is not always without reason. Emma’s selfishness motivates her every action, and because it is impossible for her to care about anyone but herself, it will be impossible for her to be really happy.

But she doesn’t know this, of course. So she just keeps screwing with everyone.

Including Josh. This really bothered me.

Josh reminds me of that guy from the Big Bang Theory. The short one… I think his name’s Leonard. Minus the superhuman smarts, there isn’t a whole lot to him. He’s just a nice, well-meaning (more or less) guy. Not particularly deep. If he has a fairly attractive girlfriend, he’s pretty much happy.

He’s just nice. And that’s Josh. He’s pretty much nice.

That’s both his best attribute and biggest character flaw. He’s too nice, especially to Emma. He keeps letting her jerk him around and get in his head. She stops him from being happy on his own and letting his life go in the direction it might without her interference.

Because of this, he eventually became unlikable and impossible to root for. By the end, I didn’t particularly care about either of them.

I did enjoy the premise, and most of it was quite well executed (hence, three stars). Parts of it were done in a way that was hugely fascinating and almost scary, and I did like that element of it.

However, the unlikable characters and stupid fake romance prevented me from liking the entire book. Still, it’s worth reading, just to think about.
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