Posts tagged ‘chance’

January 24, 2012

Bookbyte: The Future of Us

What would you do if you could see your future? How would you try to change it? The Future of Us is about the journey from adolescence to adulthood, and learning that you can, in fact, control your own future.

Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler (authors of Thirteen Reasons Why and The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things, respectively) have co-written a book with a unique premise. It’s 1996, and two friends, Josh and Emma, are dialing up to the Internet for the first time. Cue bloorpy 56k modem noises… now. Josh has given one of those ubiquitous AOL CDs to Emma. (Remember those? We never lacked for a coaster in the 90s.) When Emma signs up for AOL, she gets more than “You’ve Got Mail” and the world’s worst customer service; she gets access to her Facebook page 15 years in the future.

What would you do if you could see your future? How would you try to change it? Josh likes his future–married, with children, to one of the most popular girls in high school. Emma doesn’t like hers–she’s unhappily married, and not happy with where she lives or her career. (She’s also one of the most annoying people on Facebook. You know, the kind who whine & complain All. The. Time. But that’s beside the point.) They learn that the smallest of decisions can affect their own futures, and the futures of their friends.

The Future of Us has appeal for two generations–today’s teens and those who grew up in the 90s. The 90s references are sprinkled throughout. They’re used for fun, nostalgic moments, and not really critical to the plot. The time-traveling conceit is never fully explained, but it doesn’t need to be. The Future of Us is about the journey from adolescence to adulthood, and learning that you can, in fact, control your own future.

Learn more about The Future of Us at Jay Asher’s and Carolyn Macker’s websites.

January 27, 2011

Bookbyte: The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag

A Red Herring Without Mustard

A Red Herring Without Mustard

Alan Bradley’s latest Flavia de Luce mystery, A Red Herring Without Mustard, hits bookshelves on Feb. 8. While eagerly anticipating the latest installment in this exciting new series, I recommend Bradley’s previous Flavia mystery, The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag, and not just because it has a snappier title.

Flavia de Luce hit the literary scene in 2009 with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Bradley, a Canadian, has created a fresh, smart character and a living, breathing little world.

In Bag,¬†Flavia, an eleven-year-old chemistry enthusiast, lives in the 1950s English town of Bishop’s Lacey. With the help of her trusty bicycle, Gladys, Flavia tries to solve the murder of a famous puppeteer who has been electrocuted on-stage. Flavia’s sharp tongue tends to get her into more trouble than the average eleven-year-old roaming the English countryside might find herself in, but her smarts and knowledge of poisons always gets her out.

Bradley’s writing is witty and the mystery moves at a brisk place. Bag takes Flavia to darker places than Pie does, but the result is a stronger, more compelling work than Bradley’s debut. Here’s hoping Flavia’s third outing is even stronger.

— Chance