By Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
hardcover, 356 pages
Published: November 21st, 2011 by Razorbill
It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn't been invented yet. And they're looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.
By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right - and wrong - in the present.
*Review May Contain Spoilers - Read At Your Own Risk!*
My Review Breakdown:
Story / Plot: 3/5
Total Score: 15/25
STORY/PLOT: The concept for this book is awesome - I absolutely knew when I read the summary on Goodreads that I had to read it. The idea that fifteen years ago, when you were sixteen, you logged into AOL for the first time and stumbled across Facebook fifteen years into the future drew me in immediately. The premise of the story is okay, nothing spectacular really happened that made me "OMG Fall In Love" with it, but it was definitely a cute read. I was left wanting more along the lines of why Josh and Emma were able to see it, and while the story only spans the length of a few days, had it either given a little more story before or taken place over the course of a longer period of time, I believe it would've helped strengthen the story, and the relationship between the characters as well.
CHARACTERS: I had trouble connecting with the characters. It's alternating first-person POV between Emma Nelson and Josh Templeton. We meet a few other characters, Kellan (Emma's BFF), Tyson (Josh's BFF and Kellan's love interest), Sydney (Josh's love interest), and Cody (Emma's love interest) along with both sets of parents and Josh's older brother, but none are memorable. I felt that Emma and Josh lacked depth. They just seemed to be there, in the story, but I didn't get that love and caring that I develop with other characters in other books. This was difficult for me, but I was able to connect enough on a superficial level and found myself liking Josh's character the most. Emma's character came across as very weak and troubled, and in the end she was able to grow and was more likable.
WRITING: The writing style was very simple, nothing too difficult, or unexpected. It flowed well, but again, lacked a little depth making it slightly difficult to connect with the characters. It was by no means awful, but it wasn't amazing either - it was just average. I like when lines and quotes jump out at me, that give me something to remember the story by, but that didn't occur with this story. There was a lot of 90's pop culture, which if you're around 28-33 you will probably say, "OMG I remember doing that, or listening to that, or watching that movie". Also, the characters seemed so completely blown away by all of the things that the future holds (like Josh's older brother ending up being gay). Some of it I felt was written not very well. While the world is in every sense of the word, a different place now than in 1996, I feel like a lot of it was just close-minded.
ENDING: The ending worked well, giving us our "happy ending" and wrapping up most of the storylines. We are obviously still left with questions from when Emma and Josh peered into the "future" on Facebook to see what they (and their friends) were up to. I'm sure anyone who read it (or reads it) will be wondering if it ever says, "Emma Nelson married to Josh Templeton". It was a nice story in that the characters each had their own set of problems and issues and for the most part worked through them and overcame them in the end.
COVER: There's nothing overly sensational about the cover. Two people - I assume Emma and Josh - are in the background and blurred out, and covered over with binary code, representing the "information superhighway".
FINAL THOUGHTS: It was definitely a cute book, I would recommend it if you enjoy contemporary YA stories along the lines of Stephanie Perkins, and Sarah Dessen. It's a good life lesson to everyone to stop using Facebook as a journal - airing your "dirty laundry", stop worrying about what the future holds, and live in the now. Live for the moment and in the end, the future will end up just as it's supposed to.