Published by AW Teen on April 1st, 2016
Genres: science fiction
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What do you do when the future is too late, and the present is counting down to an inevitable moment?
Elena Martinez has street smarts, the ability for perfect recall, and a deadline: if she doesn’t find a job before she turns eighteen, she’ll be homeless. But then she gets an unexpected offer from Aether Corporation, the powerful Los Angeles tech giant. Along with four other recruits—Adam, Chris, Trent, and Zoe—Elena is being sent on a secret mission to bring back data from the future. All they have to do is get Aether the information they need, and the five of them will be set for life. It’s an offer Elena can’t refuse.
But something goes wrong when the time travelers arrive in the future. And they are forced to break the only rule they were given—not to look into their own fates. Now they have twenty-four hours to get back to the present and find a way to stop a seemingly inevitable future—and a murder—from happening. But changing the timeline has deadly consequences too. Who can Elena trust as she fights to save her life?
The first book in an unforgettable series about rewriting your destiny in the city of dreams.
Don’t you love that feeling when you’re totally immersed into a story from page one? Future Shock grabbed my attention from the get go with heroine Elena’s sharp wit, tough exterior, and good heart. The fast pace of the plot and the time travel element made this one a futuristic sci-fi mystery I really enjoyed reading!
Nearly 18, and about to be kicked out of the foster care system in which she has found little refuge, Elena is nearly out of options. When approached by a mega-corporation to sign on for a 24 hour that all but guarantees her way into a well-off future, Elena doesn’t hesitate too long. The mission, it turns out, involves sending a motley crew of 5 teens (all but one also from the foster system) ten years into the future to report back on advancements in technology and any other pertinent info that might benefit the people of today. After 24 hours they’ll return to the present at which point they’ll receive their payment and be free to go on their way. Simple enough, right? A few provisos, though: 1) They are not to look into their own futures and 2) They are not to make contact with their future selves. What could go wrong?
As it turns out, quite a lot. The group finds itself unexpectedly spurred 30 years into the future instead of ten. And then find out only one of them appears to even have a future. What happened to the group? Why? And, most importantly, can their fate be altered? What follows is a twisty thrill ride through a future, unknown Los Angeles. There are the requisite “cool technology” moments, what with the smartclothes and the self-driving cars. But the focus of the book remains solidly on the connection between the five teens as they learn to trust each other in the alien and life-threatening world they have suddenly found themselves in.
The book passed by in a flash, which is both good and bad. It’s good because it means the book passed my “time test.” If I’m so absorbed that I don’t notice time passing while reading (this has happened to a truly depressingly few number of books for me this year) then it gets major props. And then it’s bad because I think the book could have afforded to be a little longer. I wish there had been more time spent developing the characters more fully. Being in her head, it’s easy to connect with and to understand Elena. Her motivations, fears, desires, and hopes are all relatable–even when she’s difficult or less than perfect. The other characters also come into their own, and as the book goes on we get to know them somewhat. But the emotional impact of this book would have struck a stronger landing if these characters had been expanded upon a bit more. One of the things I liked best about this book was the group dynamic and teamwork on display.
I also would have appreciated a little more exploration of the future. It’s pretty cool to see the wearable tech that essentially looks like a changing face tattoo and connects your brain to the internet. But what is happening politically? Are things veering ever more toward dystopia? How’s the economy? At the same time, the book takes place in only about 24 hours so I understand the kids had a limited time in this world, and also have more pressing concerns to attend to.
There’s a bit of romance in here, too. I admit I was a little impatient with it since, as I mentioned, this book takes place over little more than 24 hours. From the moment he’s introduced it’s obvious who the love interest is going to be. He’s also just a little too obviously cute and nice and all around perfect-seeming than I seem to care for in my romantic leads. Nevertheless, during the sweet moments of intimacy there were I found myself quite taken! This despite all of my reservations regarding the romance. I chalk this up to the strength of Briggs’ writing which is fluid, strong, and compelling. I also really appreciated the gender swapped dynamic of the pairing where Elena is the tough, emotionally closed off one and Adam is the sweet natured, inexperienced one of the two. Major points for that.
All told, a compelling and complex POC heroine, a fast-paced, action packed plot, a mystery that keeps you guessing, and the diverse cast make this a YA sci-fi romp that is definitely worth the read!
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review.