Genre: Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 356
Emma and Josh are high school kids in 1996 when the story begins. Emma gets her first computer and hooks it up to AOL only to receive the bonus Facebook. She finds her username and password for AOL work on Facebook and is shocked to find that she is looking at her own profile in 15 years. When she tells Josh, her estranged best friend, he finds a profile of himself as well. To say their futures are not what they expected is an understatement. Emma is especially disappointed in her future and vows to make decisions that will permanently change it. Josh is not necessarily disappointed in his future, but a bit confused as to how he gets there. As they begin noticing that little changes affect their future profiles they both need to think hard about what they want in their futures. Can they come to terms with their possible futures or do they want to make big changes that might help them get closer to where they hoped to be?
The relationship between Josh and Emma is complex at best due to the romantic rejection Josh felt when he tried to tell her he wanted to be more than friends. Despite the slight distance that has grown between them they still share a connection, which is why they get so jealous when they see the other person in a romantic relationship. The idea of getting a glimpse of the future is intriguing, especially to teens who are making those big decisions such as where to go to college. The references to 1996 are humorous, even if many are lost on current teenagers. The overall story moves quickly and will engage many young readers. Fans of romance and realistic fiction will enjoy this title.
Age Level: 14 and up
# of Pages: 249 p.
RAC Book: Yes
Bo Marsten tells this story from the late 21st century. In this world the USA is now called the USSA and people are monitored closely so that any false move can result in swift incarceration to a work camp. Almost a third of all adults get incarcerated at one time or another due to the stringent rules that have been put in place by the new government. Bo’s father and brother are already at different work camps working off time they have accrued through incidents stemming from their hot tempers. Bo follows suit when he is blamed for spreading a rash around the school. A subsequent public outburst leads him to a work camp of his own.
Once at the work camp he realizes that it would be better for him to become a Gold Shirt, which is the elite group that only has to work eight hours a day and has a lot more options for meals. The Gold Shirts put him through a bizarre tryout and he makes it. He quickly realizes that life as a Gold Shirt is not as simple as he had previously thought. He starts to fear for his safety when it becomes apparent that no one cares if any of them survive their sentences in order to be released.
Bo’s story is very well detailed in how this society is set up and functions on a daily basis. For example, safety regulations are much stricter than we know them to be today. Many activities like riding horses or playing football are against the law entirely. The idea of people working for corporations as punishment for their discretions, varying by degree of severity by quite a bit, makes an interesting tale about how everyone must learn to survive in this society. Students who enjoy futuristic type stories will find this one unique and interesting as they follow Bo’s struggle against the inevitable.