Published by Little Brown and Company
Publication date: January 17th 2017
Evan and Julia are college sweethearts who decide to take the next step and begin post-college life together in NYC. But while Evan is on a clear path in the world of finance, Julia is a bit more untethered. She finally gets a job as an assistant at a foundation owned by her parents’ friends, but only as a way to pay the bills. The Futures is Anna Pitoniak’s take on the highs and lows of coming-of-age in the contemporary world.
Pitoniak recreates the striving of new adult life with all its attendant confusion and energy. Evan has a path and he’s on it hard. He can taste and feel success and if it has an unsavory whiff to it he’ll ignore it for as long as he can because this isn’t college anymore and compromises have to be made. Julia, on the other hand, never stoops to see the unsavory. Instead, her focus is still squarely on the ‘me’ that was in college when everything was theoretical and the only action you had to take was not flunk out. Pitoniak plays with this opposing dynamic throughout The Futures. Evan is from a small Canadian town and is only at Yale thanks to an athletic scholarship. Julia comes from money. Not enough to mean she never has to work, but once they’re out of school and living together Evan realizes
My money came like water from a pump, flowing only as long as I kept working. Hers came like a spring whose source was bountiful and deep.
In this way, Evan and Julia’s relationship is caught in the intersection between his desire for success and her desire for things to stay the way they’ve always been. Add in the recession of 2008, life after college, the concept of responsibility, and the loss of the carefree attitudes of college and The Futures lands squarely in new adult territory. Pitoniak even lets the timeline slip around within chapters giving the novel a bit of a millennial feel—jumping from one thought to another without a break in between. In the novel this mental agility is paired with an emotional sluggishness. Meaning regardless of which stage of life you’re in: moved out, moved on, moved up, The Futures may not resonate. It is good entertainment without the depth needed for great reading.