Thursday, December 15, 2011

This Time Tomorrow

More Time Travel! I just finished The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler and R.J. Anderson’s Ultraviolet this week. I was waiting so impatiently for The Future of Us and I wasn’t completely disappointed, but it wasn’t as much fun as I was hoping it would be. I loved Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why, as depressing as the subject of teen suicide is. The idea of someone committing suicide and saying, “You. You made this happen and here’s what you did.” was kind of fascinating in a voyeuristic way. In The Future of Us, the central premise is just as engrossing.

It’s 1995 and a girl gets her first personal computer. Her next-door neighbor and former best friend-boy brings over an AOL CD with 100 free hours of internet time. (If I looked hard enough, I probably could find one or two of those disks in my storage box.) She signs up for AOL and manages to open Facebook, 15 years in the future. She can see who she marries and where she lives and has enough hints from her status updates to judge that maybe she’s not so happy in the future. So, she starts actively changing the present to affect the way her life will turn out, with instant results to her future Facebook profile. Her neighbor, on the other hand, has the future life he’s always dreamed of, and he’s desperate for her not to mess it up. I really did love the idea of this book, but I did hope it would come down to more than a sub-plot in the traditional boy/girl Y.A. love story.

Ultraviolet was a different kind of story. Alison wakes up in a mental hospital, remembering only that Tori, the most popular girl in her high school, disintegrated during their fight. She’s not sure if she killed Tori and went into a fugue state or if she’s truly crazy. Complicating the issue is that Alison has severe synesthesia, where one sense triggers another. Letters have specific colors and tastes, visual cues have sounds associated with them, words have personalities. She’s convinced that her synesthesia means that she’s schizophrenic, anyway, so she’s not really sure that she didn’t kill Tori. There’s not much else I can tell you about the book without giving away major plot points, but just allow me to say, Time Travel!!! (Imagine it with jazz hands and an Oprah lilt for the full effect.)

I don’t think the next book in the stack has any time travel, but you have to see this cover. It’s weirdly fetish-like for a Y.A. novel, but I don’t think it has anything to do with latex. I’ve been wrong before, of course, but that would be an interesting new genre to fall into, wouldn’t it?


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