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The Future of Us
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a book about kids growing up in the '90s who mysteriously get access to Facebook -- and their futures. This could spark discussion of whether one would want to know the future. Parents need to know that there really isn't much content to worry about here. By looking into the future, Emma sees that one of her friends gets pregnant as a teen, and there is some discussion of sex and birth control. Also, the protagonists go to a high school party where teens drink beer. Other than that, and some brand-name-dropping, there is a pretty clean story about two teens who learn to go after what they want right now.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
When Josh gives an AOL CD-ROM to his childhood friend Emma, these teens -- living in 1996 -- can somehow tap into Facebook, which means they can see their futures. While Josh is a rich graphic artist married to a beautiful, popular high school classmate, Emma appears trapped in an unhappy marriage. And that's not all: One friend has a daughter so old she must have gotten pregnant in high school -- and Josh's brother is in a relationship with a man. As their anxiety over their futures begins to warp the present, Josh and Emma have to decide to stop worrying about tomorrow. If they don't focus on the present, they might miss out on the most important thing: a relationship with each other.
Is it any good?
Readers will have fun with the premise here, and watching how even small changes have a big impact in Emma's and Josh's future lives. (As Emma intentionally intervenes with her future, she goes through several different husbands and city locations, sensing each time that she is still unhappy; Josh, meanwhile, begins a relationship with the girl destined to one day be his wife, but can't feel any spark.) There may never be any doubt that these two are meant to be together, but they are each flawed enough to make for some good romantic tension leading up to that inevitable hook up. The alternating perspectives allow readers into Emma's and Josh's heads enough to understand their anxieties and track their growing realization that they need to go after what they actually want, even if it means getting hurt along the way. Ultimately, this is a well-constructed novel that's clever, provoking, and, in the end, pretty sweet.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the future. If you could know yours, would you want to? What would be the pros and cons of knowing where you go to college, who you marry, etc.? What do you think the authors' take on this idea is?
Also, were you surprised by how much life had changed in past 15 years? In Emma's house, you had to use the phone line to connect to the Internet. What were some other differences you spotted between the 1996 and now? What was the biggest surprise?
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