The Future of Us, Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
A mostly entertaining story about what some teenagers might do with the information given to them by a bizarre portal to the future through a strange website called Facebook. It has a familar, funny Back to the Hot Tub Time Machine Future take on the future, borrowing cheap jokes from Almost Famous (which were cringeworthy then), Mick Jagger still rocking as an old man, etc.
FB pops up on Emma's new computer when she first loads up the Internet and she's horrified to discover the picture of an older version of herself alongside a bunch of short inane comments about her life. How vapid it can be? This is what I personally hate about social media. Contemplating highlights, attention-seeking behaviour making pathetic comments about her husband - blurg. But the character of young Emma as she is presented, I was hardly surprised that she would grow up to be that kind of FB user.
Emma isn't nice, but perhaps that's what the book is about, it holds a fifteen-years-later mirror to her face and she has to rethink the way she acts. The message and the outcome are a bit confused though. She was manipulative to the end, selfish and shallow and there was little chemistry between the two leads. I just kept wanting to shout at Josh run! get out of there!
The book's story is a love story, but I would have liked some more about the world as a whole - what has changed since 1996? Death of Princess Diana, September 11, George W, Obama, another war in the Middle East, tsunamis and floods and earthquakes. But not even just political: reality TV, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman splitting, Madonna's weird arms and hands ... it could have been really fascinating to see the world through a FB feed, links to news articles and photographs of significant events.
I wanted to love this book. A quick read, funny in parts - possibly will entertain the yooths with the outdated technology. I pretty much agree with this NYTimes review.
But speaking of disappointing and vapid ... I saw Young Adult.
I forgave Diablo Cody for Juno because Ellen Page was so damn endearing and because Allison Janney is my queen. And Young Adult had such a brilliant poster, Charlize Theron is pretty amazing and I love a good return-to-your-hometown story. Unfortunately I don't think the film was funny, nor insightful, enough to be successful. Mavis was so sad, so alone, and she needed help. She was narcissistic and mean and desperate. But nobody learned anything, nobody changed at all. So what was the point?
Not only this, but it was generally accepted that Mavis wrote YA (even though I don't know that her Sweet Valley High-type books are really YA) because she had been unable to leave her teen years behind.
Now that's a depressing thought. And so, so wrong. It is such a special gift that YA writers have of being able to remember the wonder and the joy and the angst of being a teenager or young adult. I would never want to tell any of my favourite YA authors to grow up! For it isn't about living in the past, but being able to tap into it and tell a great story. That's what Young Adult lacked. A story.