Author(s): Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
Publish Date: November 1, 2011
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Science Fiction, Romance
Rating: 2.5/5 Stars
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.
I was actually really excited to read this book. I adored Thirteen Reasons Why and expected great things from Jay Asher. Needless to say, I didn't get what I expected, and I will not be reading this book again.
The first thing wrong with this book is the plot. The synopsis makes it seem like the Facebook is the entire book, but it's not--not at all. I'd say the whole I-found-a-website-that-tells-me-my-future aspect of the book only takes up about a third of the novel. The rest was just Josh and Emma's high school lives, which was not what I was expecting or even looking for, really. Halfway through the novel, I was already bored with the premise. The Facebook idea just wasn't interesting enough. I found myself reading about Josh and Emma's relationships, not their future.
The characters were shallow and meaningless. Especially Emma. I didn't mind her so much in the beginning, but I found myself gradually beginning to hate her as the book progressed. She's selfish and insensitive, and I didn't want to spend any more time with her than I had to. When she finds out that her life becomes terrible, she doesn't try and change it; she just whines about it. And when she does try to change it, she messes up everyone else's lives--not only in the future, but also in the present. I was completely fed up with her by the time she kissed Josh and messed with his feelings so her own future would turn out okay, and then made him apologize for what she had done wrong. Another example is when Emma figures out that in her future Kellan has a fourteen-year-old girl--meaning she must have already gotten pregnant or will be soon. Her efforts to stop it from happenings are futile and pitiful. Not to mention the fact that it's not really tied up anyway--we find out that Kellan doesn't get pregnant, but we don't find out how this came about in the first place or how it was stopped.
Speaking of Kellan...she wasn't selfish or insensitive, but she was sort of meaningless. The book could have been written and gotten along quite well without her. Nothing about her was interesting, and her relationship with Tyson was so complicated I didn't even care to figure out what was going on there. Kellan just seemed clueless to me.
Josh was also sort of blind. How he could possibly like Emma is beyond me. Granted, growing up with her does have something to do with it, but still. He could've done better with Sydney, for pete's sake. He seems like a good guy, but he was exactly how his brother David described him--going with the flow. And I don't think that worked well with his character.
As weird as it sounds, Sydney was probably my favorite. She was the only one with some depth. Josh changed his mind about her so quickly, I almost missed it, but part of me wishes he hadn't. Sydney seems like she'd be the rude popular type, but she's actually a lot more caring than Emma.
The end isn't tied up at all. There are so many loose strings I can't even count them on one hand. Or two. What happened with Kellan and Tyson? David? Where did Emma end up going to college? How does Josh break it to Sydney that he all of a sudden changed his mind about her? What happens with Emma and her dad? What about her mom and Martin? It just goes on and on. It's like half of the book was random dealings with the Emma/Cory pairing and the Josh/Sydney pairing, and the authors themselves became so bored with the book that they just stopped writing it.
Honestly, I almost put this down. I was extremely disappointed, because I had high hopes for someone as good an author as Jay Asher. I can't vouch for Carolyn Mackler (I've never read anything by her) but I expected more from the author of Thirteen Reasons Why.
Needless to say, I really did want to love this book. But--at least in my eyes--it was a lost case.