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Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

The Future of Us

The Future of Us
by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

It’s 1996, and less than half of all American high school students have ever used the Internet.

Emma just got her first computer and an America Online CD-ROM.

Josh is her best friend. They power up and log on–and discover themselves on Facebook, fifteen years in the future.

Everybody wonders what their Destiny will be. Josh and Emma are about to find out. (goodreads.com)

This book depressed me. Not because of the subject or the writing, but because of this:

HOW CAN 1996 BE FIFTEEN YEARS AGO?

How was I not even in my TEENS 15 years ago?

In 1996 I was 20. Yet, when I think of the 1990s I always think I was a teen. Turns out at least four of those 90s years were in my 20s. How has it been so bloody long since I was in my 20s? Ugh.

The other thing that happened while reading this book was this:

OMG AOL
Did Crash really come out in 1996?
Diskman!!!
Last episode of Fresh Prince? Really?

God, I’m old.

VCRs!
I feel like Ellen has always been gay. Right? I mean, didn’t this happen a lot longer ago?

WAYNE’S WORLD? Shwing! I don’t think I’d find it funny now.

I feel old.

These are random exclamations I made while I turned the pages of The Future of Us.

Try as I might to focus on the story, I was stuck in the Land of Nostalgia for the 1990s. Oh, me. Although I have to say I rather liked the book. It might have tried just a little too hard to prove it was set in the late 90s, but the characters and the actual plot were enjoyable.

This is one of those books that has really great secondary characters, too. Tyler and Kellen were so fun to read. (Also, how cool is the name Kellen?) (Just realized I might be spelling it wrong, but my book is upstairs and I am feeling too lazy to go get it and double check. Oh, well.)

My one qualm about the book (other than the fact that it made me feel old) was that I found it too short. I kind of wish there had been more of a glimpse into the Facebook Future they found. A little more experimentation with changing the future. Not just Emma’s, but Josh’s too. Since the story was told from both perspectives, I would have enjoyed more Josh Future and not just all about Emma. I know it’s not right to play with your future, but, still. The curiosity would have killed me (my name IS Cat, afterall) and I’d have been testing the boundaries of what I could change or not.

I think the concept behind this story is interesting and clever. I have told a few other people of this book in the last week and though they aren’t all YA readers, even they expressed interest in it. Of course, I think for us it’s more of a curiosity about reliving our past and seeing those familiar pop culture references and reminiscing.

Seriously. How has is been 15 years since I was 20? How was I not a teen in 1996? Gah!

If all you Young People out there want to see how us dinosaurs discovered the beginning of the internet, pick up this book and learn a little about your elders. heh

In My Mailbox #51

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.

All my IMM posts can be found here!

First week back on the picket line wasn’t so bad, except for the cold I seem to have caught. Obviously some of the Canadian publishers thought they’d help cheer me up by sending me some surprises! Cannot wait to read all of these books!

For review:

The Scholastic Canada books were gifts from the event I attended last weekend (post here). I swear I feel like Christmas came a month early for me. I can’t wait to read all of these books! Trying very hard to hold off on the spring 2012 ones though. I don’t know if my willpower will be strong enough.

Th1rteen R3asons Why

Th1rteen R3asons Why
by Jay Asher

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list. (goodreads.com)

I am a little behind everyone else in reading this book. It’s been one that has sat on my wishlist for ages but I never picked it up because of various reasons (mainly price when it was hard cover). Turns out my crappy library had it so I borrowed it and let it sit on my table for 4 weeks staring at me. I was nervous about reading it because it is about suicide and therefore I gathered an emotional roller coaster.

The book was not nearly as gut-wrenchingly depressing as I thought it was going to be. In fact this book was almost a thriller-like story making you guess at who was on the next tape and what they did to Hannah to make her commit suicide.

This was a powerful story that had me turning pages until my eyes just couldn’t stay open anymore and then reading again as soon as I got up in the morning. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for Clay’s name to crop up on the tapes and wondered what number he’d be and who else would she name.

Having suffered from and treated for severe depression I know myself how hard it is to communicate with others about what’s going on in your head. You might think you’re giving them clues and so obviously drowning in front of them that you resent the fact that they don’t notice and do not try to help and yet at the same time you turn away from those who really do try to help but you don’t want it at the time.

Many of the people on Hannah’s tapes did do horrible things, but I felt that the 13th person, that counselor couldn’t help her the way she wanted because SHE wasn’t giving him the chance. SHE wasn’t letting him know what was wrong and by vague suggestions he was doing his best. I don’t think he didn’t care and couldn’t have helped more if she’d come out and said “I want to die”. I don’t think she was straight enough with him in her answers and to be honest I get the feeling she didn’t want to be by that time. Had she spoken with him earlier maybe he’d have a better idea, but you can’t get the fact that someone’s about to kill themselves just from a 5 minute conversation.

At the same time when you’re that far gone and depressed you don’t actually want to be saved.

I have read some reviews of this book that stated they have no idea why Hannah killed herself and that the reasons she stated really weren’t all that bad to deserve such a tragic ending. These people were not in her head at the time. The smallest thing can be the biggest thing to a teen, or anyone who is depressed about things. Obviously there was depression there and she wasn’t just making the decision based on those 13 events, the catcher is that no one noticed how far she’d sunk since they were too busy focusing on rumors.

Did Clay deserve to be on these tapes? In my opinion, no. In my opinion Hannah was beyond cruel to the one person who cared and that she cared about. Putting him on those tapes was just cruel and hurtful. He will forever live with the thought that he was part of the reason for her death. She didn’t have to put him on those tapes just to explain. I hate her for doing that to what seemed like a really nice guy. The other jerks on the tapes, yes, they can live with the fact that their thoughtless and hurtful actions can actually matter to a person’s life. But Clay? And the counselor? I don’t see any justification for ruining their lives. In that sense I find Hannah’s act selfish and cruel. She not only wanted to end her life but take people down with her.

I have known people who have committed suicide. I do not think it is always a selfish act. Some people are just so lost inside that they honestly feel it is the only answer. The problem I have with Hannah is that she decided to take others with her that shouldn’t have had any blame put on them.

Hooo boy.. ok, enough of this! I feel like I am writing an essay on why this book works and why it doesn’t! Goodness!

Needless to say this powerful and moving novel touched me deeply and will stay with me for a while. It was fantastically written and an emotionally compelling story. I will be looking forward to more novels by Jay Asher, that’s for sure!