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The Futures by Anna Pitoniak (debut)
Publisher: Lee Bourdeaux Books
Release Date: January 17, 2017
Length: 320 pages
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Single Sentence Summary: A hopeful young couple take on NYC in 2008, just as the economy (and much of their world) is collapsing.
Primary Characters: Julia – grew up privileged in Boston, went to Yale, but has no clear vision of what she wants from her life. Evan – grew up in British Columbia, went to Yale on a hockey scholarship, landed a prestigious job at a hedge fund.
Synopsis: The Futures, Anna Pitoniak’s debut novel, gives the reader a peek into the lives of a young couple in their first year out of college. Yale grads Julia and Evan move to New York City in 2008, just as the economy is taking a nosedive. Evan works crazy hours at a hedge fund and Julia…? Well, Julia doesn’t really know what she wants. Their lives are littered with obstacles, both real and imagined, making it next to impossible for their relationship to survive.
Review: A fellow blogger, Sarah@sarah’sbookshelves, calls books like The Futures “brain candy.” That’s an apt description of this compelling, quick read. I didn’t always love the story and I definitely didn’t like all the characters, but I was always interested in what was coming next.
I may be too old to judge what’s normal for Millennials as they spread their wings. If I were to do so, my judgment of Julia and Evan would be harsh. I found them both to be whiney, especially Julia. To be truthful, I liked very little about Julia other than the fact that she drove the story. This was a girl who was never happy and always felt sorry for herself! In so many ways Evan and Julia were two incredibly lucky people. Evan seemed to understand that, but Julia never did. Are these characters inline with what we’ve come to think of as “Millennial” qualities: confidence, hope, entitlement, disillusionment, and sometimes narcissism? Julia definitely embodies the less flattering characteristics.
“But something had changed soon after we started working. I was plagued with a new dissatisfaction. Was this it, was this everything? Was this my life from now on?”
Anna Patoniak’s writing is straightforward, and unemotional, alternating between Evan’s and Julia’s perspectives. She beautifully used New York as a backdrop to their story. As a coming-of-age story, The Futures both succeeded and failed. Success came in the challenges Evan faced and in the lengths he went to for recovery and growth. With Julia, I’m less convinced. She faced very hard times (largely of her own making), but was she made new? I have serious doubts. If the story went on, I believe Julia would continue to feel like the world was not offering up what was best for her. I may be totally wrong on The Futures, and would love to hear thoughts from some readers in their 20’s and 30’s, but for me the subtitle might be, “Millennials!” Grade: C+
If you liked this book you might also enjoy:
- Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler (my review here)
- The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close (my review here)
- The Intersestings by Meg Wolitzer
Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher (via NetGalley) in exchange for my honest review.
Disclosure: There are Amazon Associate links included within this post.