Teens today may not remember the 1990s, but I certainly do. The ’90s were my era as a teen, and as I get older, I find myself getting more and more nostalgic for those days. I still rock out to some of the great ’90s bands, watch old episodes of my favorite ’90s TV shows, and lament the days when Grunge rock style was totally acceptable.
So it was with this fondness for ’90s nostalgia that I approached The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler, an imaginative story in which two teens from 1996 load an AOL CD-ROM onto their computer and discover their Facebook pages 15 years in the future. Armed with this knowledge, what choices will they make to affect their future? The book follows Josh and Emma as they navigate both the future and the present day.
I can’t say how today’s teens will approach the book, and the characters’ reactions to their discovery (after all, the Internet itself was a new concept back in 1996) — but for me, The Future of Us brought me right back to my own teen years. I remember waiting for the dial-up connection (and that obnoxious sound the computer would make while connecting to the Internet). I remember how awesome it was when I finally upgraded from a Walkman to a Discman. And I remember how it was so freaking cool when I finally got a computer of my own.
But what’s most magical about The Future of Us is this: no matter how time changes, no matter the differences in technology, music, pop culture, fashion, etc., the teenage experience is in many ways universal. Josh and Emma experience the same drama and turmoil as the generation before them, and the generation that came after.
I think I liked the concept of The Future of Us slightly more than the execution, but I still found reading this book to be a delightful experience. Not just for the nostalgia, but to see how Josh and Emma would react to the changing information they glean from their future selves’ Facebook pages.
The Future of Us is in stores November 21st.