Tag Archives: Jay Asher

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
Book Reviews
September 16, 2012 posted by Nikki

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

Josh and Emma are about to discover themselves–fifteen years in the future

It’s 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They’ve been best friends almost as long–at least, up until last November, when everything changed. Things have been awkward ever since, but when Josh’s family gets a free AOL CD-ROM in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they’re automatically logged onto Facebook . . . but Facebook hasn’t been invented yet. Josh and Emma are looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.

Their spouses, careers, homes, and status updates–it’s all there. And every time they refresh their pages, their futures change. As they grapple with the ups and downs of what their lives hold, they’re forced to confront what they’re doing right–and wrong–in the present.

In Josh and Emma’s world, the Internet is just taking off. Email and instant messenger is all the rage, and no one has even heard of Facebook. When Emma’s dad gets her a computer, Josh brings over a CD-ROM to install the Internet, and their lives are changed forever. When Emma boots up the CD, this thing called Facebook pops up. It seems to be some kind of Internet page dedicated to their lives in the future.

Josh is married to the hottest girl in school, and Emma, well, Emma’s life changes every few minutes. She goes through several husbands, finds herself living in places she’d never dream of living, and finds things out about friends that she doesn’t really want to know. And then it becomes clear … the things they do in their daily lives now are affecting the lives that exist in the future on this Facebook page. Even the tiniest little thing completely alters their future.

This novel is narrated through a dual perspective. Both Josh and Emma have a voice, which is cool. I really liked Josh, and I feel that teenagers will really relate to him. He’s that average kid that gets overlooked all the time; he’s the nice guy that finishes last; he’s pretty, well, normal. Emma, on the other hand, is less enjoyable to read. She’s selfish, incredibly shallow, and everything always has to be about her. As I read, there were several points in the story where I really wanted to slap some sense into her. Josh is so patient with her and he’s far too good to her. She doesn’t deserve his kindness, especially after the way she continually abuses their relationship.

This story is written so well that it’s impossible to tell it was penned by two different people.  I’ve always been a big fan of both Jay and Carolyn, so I was excited to see how well they worked together, and it gives me great pleasure to say that they’re an amazing team!

This one is an easy read, folks.

Pages: 356

Publication Date: 2011

Publisher: Razorbill

Rating:: ★★★★½

Teaser quote: I have a computer in my car? Josh is going to freak out when he hears this.

Pubsicle #18
November 2, 2011 posted by Kiona

Pubsicle #18

Flavor of the week: Frozen Peach Penguin Swirl

Pubsicle is a weekly meme that combines our two favorite things – ice cream and books. We hand the reigns over to some of our awesome publishers as they highlight what upcoming releases they’re excited about.

Crossed by Ally Condie

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky – taken by the Society to his certain death – only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander – who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart – change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

Release Date: November 1, 2011

Ally Condie is a former high school English teacher who lives with her husband and three sons outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. She loves reading, running, eating, and listening to her husband play guitar.

Website: www.allysoncondie.com

Brotherband Chronicles: The Outcast by John Flanagan

They are outcasts. Hal, Stig, and the others – they are the boys the others want no part of. Skandians, as any reader of Ranger’s Apprentice could tell you, are known for their size and strength. Not these boys. Yet that doesn’t mean they don’t have skills. And courage – which they will need every ounce of to do battle at sea against the other bands, the Wolves and the Sharks, in the ultimate race. The icy waters make for a treacherous playing field . . . especially when not everyone thinks of it as playing.

John Flanagan, author of the international phenomenon Ranger’s Apprentice, creates a new cast of characters to populate his world of Skandians and Araluens, a world millions of young readers around the world have come to know and admire. Full of seafaring adventures and epic battles, Book 1 of The Brotherband Chronicles is sure to thrill readers of Ranger’s Apprentice while enticing a whole new generation just now discovering the books.

Release Date: November 1, 2011

John Flanagan grew up in Sydney, Australia, hoping to be a writer. It wasn’t until he wrote a highly uncomplimentary poem about a senior executive at the agency where he worked, however, that his talent was revealed. It turned out one of the company directors agreed with John’s assessment of the executive, and happily agreed to train John in copywriting.

John began writing Ranger’s Apprentice for his son, Michael, ten years ago, and is still hard at work on the series. He currently lives in a suburb of Manly, Australia, with his wife. In addition to their son, they have two grown daughters and four grandsons

Website: www.rangersapprentice.com

Playground by 50 Cent

Thirteen-year-old Butterball doesn’t have much going for him. He’s teased mercilessly about his weight. He hates the Long Island suburb his mom moved them to and wishes he still lived with his dad in the city. And now he’s stuck talking to a totally out-of-touch therapist named Liz.

Liz tries to uncover what happened that day on the playground—a day that landed one kid in the hospital and Butterball in detention. Butterball refuses to let her in on the truth, and while he evades her questions, he takes readers on a journey through the moments that made him into the playground bully he is today.

Release Date: November 1, 2011

50 Cent is a hip-hop artist who founded the G-Unit Books imprint.



The Future of Us by Jay Asher and 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.

Release Date: November 21, 2011

Jay Asher was born in Arcadia, California on September 30, 1975. He grew up in a family that encouraged all of his interests, from playing the guitar to his writing. He attended Cuesta College right after graduating from high school. It was here where he wrote his first two children’s books for a class called Children’s Literature Appreciation.

Carolyn graduated from Vassar College. When her book The Earth My Butt and Other Big Round Things was named as one of ALAs Top Ten Banned Books of 2006, Carolyn became an advocate against banning books. She lives with her husband and son in New York City.

Website: jayasher.blogspot.com

Website: www.carolynmackler.com

Legend by Marie Lu

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Release Date: November 29, 2011

Marie Lu writes young adult novels, and has a special love for dystopian books. Ironically, she was born in 1984. Before becoming a full-time writer, she was an Art Director at a video game company where she enjoyed discussing Facebook game apps with her co-workers, hearing amusing insider stories about World of Warcraft bugs, and delighting in cute 3D renditions of buildings–all via Skype.

Website: www.marielu.org

Penguin USA can be found online at penguingroup.com.

Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
Book Reviews
January 3, 2009 posted by Nikki

Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher

I am speechless. Numb.

I just finished reading Jay Asher’s debut novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, and although my brain is buzzing, I can’t seem to find my words. So I’m going to ramble of a bunch of statistics, which hopefully, will highlight the gravity of the issue Asher deals with in his novel.

Did you know:

Approximately 8 in every 100 000 people aged between 15 and 24 in the United States commit suicide every year.

Among 15-19 year old Australians, suicide accounted for a total of 85 registered deaths in 2004, at a rate of 6.2 per 100,000 people (7.5 for males, 4.8 for females). Suicide accounted for 15.2% of total male deaths and 17.1% of total female deaths registered in this age group (source: Suicides, Australia, 1994 to 2004. ABS, 2006).

Teen suicide is often attributed to drug and alcohol abuse, poor family situations, extreme trouble at school, mental illness. Sometimes, pinpointing a reason why someone kills themselves is impossible and friends and family of the deceased live out the rest of their days wondering why, what – if anything – they could have done to help.

In Thirteen Reasons Why, readers are given a detailed blow-by-blow account of Hanna Baker’s journey towards death. Before she dies, she records her story on a set of audio tapes. She devises a plan to make sure that everyone featured on the tapes receives them, and listens to every single word she says.

When Clay receives the tapes, he doesn’t know what they are at first. But after listening for only a couple of moments, the realisation that he is in possession of Hanna Bakers last words, and that he is somehow part of her downward spiral is a sobering thought indeed. Clay listens, not just because he wants to learn about his role, but because it was Hanna’s last dying wish that everyone that receives the tapes, listens to them in full.

Clay always had a thing for Hanna Baker, but they’d only made out once, so what could he possibly have done to contribute to her decision to kill herself? As Clay is listening, often with tears streaming down his face, he realises that his failure was unavoidable. Sure, he could have tried harder to get through to Hanna in her time of need, but she pushed him away – and how can you help someone that doesn’t want to be helped?

Some of the events that unfold in Hanna’s tale are really quite horrific, and I found myself questioning the very essence of human nature over and over. How could these kids do these kinds of things to each other? Can’t they see that their actions, their words, all come with consequences? Or maybe they do know, but just don’t care? Reading Thirteen Reasons Why made me realise that I’m either a very naïve person, or I’ve lead a very sheltered life (quite possibly a combination of both). Teenagers can be the cruellest creatures on Earth.

Foresight is not a characteristic commonly employed by the characters in this novel. From the those that contributed to her demise, right through to Hanna actually committing suicide, no one looked past the now. Would Bryce have done the things he did if he knew it would lead to Hanna ultimately deciding that she couldn’t live with herself anymore? Maybe Clay would have stayed in the room longer, maybe Justin wouldn’t have started that rumor. Maybe. But maybe not, too.

Hanna herself was guilty of lacking foresight. She couldn’t see past her immediate problems, couldn’t see that her life wasn’t necessarily always going to be at the whim of the idiots she went to school with. But I argue that she couldn’t see these things because she didn’t try. She didn’t want to see a life beyond what she knew. The question then stands, then, if the combination of events Hanna blames as the source of her desire to die, hadn’t happened, would she have found other reasons to justify her death? Was it set in her brain, programmed from birth? It’s a difficult question to answer and one that often gets asked in the wake of a successful suicide attempt.

Teen Suicide is not an issue to be taken lightly, so I was happy to see Jay Asher dealing with Hanna’s death in a responsible, accurate manner. Thirteen Reasons Why is written in simple, straight-forward language. As this is Asher’s debut novel, it’s hard to tell whether such a technique was intentional or is just the product of his natural writing style. But it works, very well. Hanna’s story is profound enough that it does not need the help of colourful language to get the message across. Asher captures the essence of the teenage mind brilliantly, providing a captivating, raw tale with lessons about humankind for all.

Rating: : ★★★★½