The Future of Us
is a science fiction young adult novel by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler. It was first published in 2011. In 2012 the film rights to the novel were optioned by Warner Brothers.
Emma is a teenager living in 1996. Her next door neighbor is her best friend Josh. The two have known each other for a long time, but recently they have begun to feel distant from each other for reasons that confuse Emma. Emma’s father has just moved away with his new wife, leaving Emma with a fancy new computer as a gift. As Emma sets up the computer, Josh stops by with an AOL Online disk that will allow Emma to install the internet on her new machine. Emma sets the disk to install and goes out for a jog. She thinks about the boy she is involved with and how she plans to dump him soon because he likes her more than Emma likes him.
When Emma returns home, her disk has finished installing. She begins to create an email account, but before she can, a strange webpage pops up on her screen. It’s Facebook, a site that will not come into existence for another ten years. Confused, Emma begins to browse the site until she finds the profile for herself, only from many years in the future. The page lists her as married to a man named Jordan Jones, Jr.
Josh joins Emma in looking through the Facebook profile. They consider several theories about what the page could be. When Emma checks her profile again later, she notices that it has been updated. Finally, they come to the conclusion that the page must be from the future. Emma is upset by the fact that not all of her status updates are happy ones. She talks about her husband being away often and about needing a therapist. Emma and Josh are shocked that anyone would share so much personal information publicly.
The next day at school, Emma confesses to Josh that she found his profile on Facebook as well. The future Josh is married to an attractive woman and has exciting vacations. Josh becomes obsessed with the woman he is destined to marry, a girl in the class ahead of him at school who doesn’t seem to know he exists. Eventually, he becomes so worked up that he rushes off to find Emma. He walks in on her making out with her boyfriend Graham, and is very upset by what he sees.
Back at home, Emma wants to check Facebook to see what has changed, but she doesn’t want to talk to Josh. She remembers how she ruined their relationship when, after a night hanging out together, Josh tried to kiss her. Emma told him then that she only saw Josh as a friend. After that, Josh began behaving strangely around her and Emma is afraid that she has ruined their friendship.
Josh comes over to Emma’s house to check Facebook. The pair are surprised to find small changes to their statuses based on things that have happened recently in their lives. Emma decides that she needs to make changes to her life so that she doesn’t end up married to Jordan. When Josh realizes what she is doing, he attempts to stop her because he is worried that if Emma changes her future it will change Josh’s future as well.
Josh follows Emma to the library and realizes she has been trying to find Jordan Jones. He follows her home, but Emma has already called Jordan and engineered her future so that the two of them will not be able to meet at college. Josh comes over and the two check Facebook. Emma now has a new husband, but Josh is still married to Sydney. They find many other changes to their future loves, however. They agree not to try to change the future again.
The next day, Emma looks up her best friend Kellan on Facebook. She finds out that Kellan will become pregnant soon and it will derail her life. Emma decides that she has to prevent Kellan’s pregnancy to help her. No matter what she tries, she can’t change Kellan’s future; however, she can change her own. Josh warns her to stop trying to change the future just because she doesn’t like it.
Emma and Josh argue, then kiss, and then argue again. Josh storms out of her house. He redoubles his efforts to date Sydney, though once they start hanging out more Josh finds her lackluster. Meanwhile, Emma begins to research a classmate named Cody on Facebook in hopes of dating him, which seems to work. However, after getting to know him better Emma realizes that she doesn’t actually like him much.
Both Emma and Josh realize that the only future they can imagine is with each other. Emma checks Facebook to find that her profile is gone and that she must have deleted it in the future. Kellan and her boyfriend Tyson come up with a scheme to get Emma and Josh together and this time they kiss and agree to go on a date with each other. As the book ends, both of them wonder what their futures might look like now.