Published by Albert Whitman & Company on April 1, 2016
Source: Publisher, Edelweiss
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance
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Elena Martinez has hidden her eidetic memory all her life--or so she thinks. When powerful tech giant Aether Corporation selects her for a top-secret project, she can't say no. All she has to do is participate in a trip to the future to bring back data, and she'll be set for life.
Elena joins a team of four other teens with special skills, including Adam, a science prodigy with his own reason for being there. But when the time travelers arrive in the future, something goes wrong and they break the only rule they were given: do not 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 from unfolding. With time running out and deadly secrets uncovered, Elena must use her eidetic memory, street smarts, and a growing trust in Adam to save her new friends and herself.
This book was fast-paced, fun, and full of action! Future Shock brings a cast of characters together to go into the future and bring back information on what’s happening over there. Elena is an orphan, and we start the book with her being rejected from yet another job. Thus, when Aether Corporation provides an opportunity for her to make big bucks, of course she accepted.
Elena was chosen for her eidetic memory, and the other kids also have cool abilities. At first I thought by “special skills” in the blurb it meant they had powers or something. Haha, WELL, their skills were a bit more mundane than that, like being smart in a certain area. Each of them had an ability that helped them survive in the future. (Certainly not superpowers, but it did make them quite unique.)
Elena is a very tough character. She has a strong will and doesn’t take crap from anybody. We see glimpses into her past, as well as her fear that she’ll become a murderer that stems from it. Her character really develops as she and the other kids explore the future. The rest of the group was as exciting to read about, but I felt a little disconnected from them. We see more about their backstories and how they came to be what they are in the story, but it doesn’t make much of an impact since we’re always caught up in the action. For example, there is a quiet Asian girl (grr at that stereotype!) and we see small glimpses of her life such as a sister that got separated from her when they were young. However, I read it in a detached way and couldn’t muster up sympathy for their situation. It was sad, yes, but I didn’t care that much. So, I really liked the characters but I couldn’t fully connect to them.
At Aether Corporation, they’re given instructions that they have 24 hours to find out all they can about the world in ten years. However, Elena definitely has doubts on the whole thing. When they get sent into the future, it turns out they got sent 30 years ahead, not ten. From there, the kids have to find out why they were sent so far ahead and discover the risks of it all. Aether Corporation may not have been as generous as the money they gave them, and the stakes are high in this book.
The science behind the time-travel was minimal, but didn’t detract from the believability. The author’s take on the future was also fun to read about. We can see that there are quite a bit of changes, especially in the technology department, but many past things stayed the same. Usually I’m pretty skeptic about our world in the future, but this one was pretty well-developed and realistic.
An unexpected romance blooms between Elena and Adam, the only kid in the group who’s not an orphan. His character was also interesting to read about, but again, I could never fully connect to him. Although there wasn’t an instant attraction, their relationship does progress rather quickly. Keep in mind though that the group had 24 hours together, which meant more time for them to create experiences that could lead up to a romantic development. While it was pretty quick, I surprisingly found it realistic in their situation and environment. Adam is really sweet, and had a different upbringing than the other world-wary teens in the project. However, he provides a nice contrast to Elena’s tough exterior and they form a cute couple.
I’m not in this alone anymore. Together, we’ll change our future.
Overall, Future Shock was a quick read that offers a fun escape from the present. The ending was quite conclusive and satisfactory, and I’d definitely recommend this one for readers looking for an adventure to excite their day. The fun yet fleeting cast of diverse characters as well as the exhilarating plot will hook you to the pages right until the end.
Rating: 4 out of 5