Age: Around fifteen
Appearance: Close to six feet tall with shaggy red-blonde hair
Activities Include: Skateboarding, drawing, hanging out at GoodTimez Pizza
Futures Include: Marrying Sydney Templeton and living in a mansion on Forest Lake, vacationing with his hot wife in Waikiki and Acapulco
As Sydney Templeton put it, Josh is "one of the nice guys" (61.9). He's trustworthy, reliable, and a little bit shy—so much so, that the poor guy seems to be eternally doomed to pining after his best friend when we first meet him. Who can resist his advances? His neighbor and best friend, Emma, who sees him only as a buddy, or as she puts it: "Josh is… Josh" (38.67). In other words, he's the guy that girls like to be around but don't think of dating, one of those dudes who girls fondly refer to as like a brother.
Josh plugs along like this until—thanks to Facebook—he realizes that he's going to marry Sydney, who is arguably the hottest girl in school. With this, Josh comes bursting out of his shell, and once he does, he starts getting attention from all the girls at school. His world totally changes; he notices "All morning, guys who've never said more than What's up? Have stopped to talk to me. And the girls!" (33.4). Josh basically gets to live out every shy guy's teen dream: He goes from zero to hero overnight.
Unlike Emma, Josh ends up with a pretty good deal throughout the book. Maybe it's because he's a nice guy so he doesn't have the same work to do on himself that Emma does, but whatever the reason, Josh doesn't just discover that he has an amazing future, but his starts happening right away. Once he works up the courage to talk to Sydney, Josh's amazing life seems well on its way. And while Emma constantly meddles, trying to get herself a better future, no matter what she does, Josh's life doesn't really change. He tells us:
Even with Emma changing husbands, Sydney couldn't stay away from me. (26.57)
And Sydney isn't the only great thing happening in Josh's future. He has a fancy house and all the perks that come with it; he finds himself imagining "driving something so insane I can't even imagine it now" (28.4). And though his future is set in Forest Lake, the small town he's growing up in, Josh doesn't care. Emma's ideal future is moving away and finding a dream job—Josh, however, is way more go with the flow about things.
While Josh is lucky when it comes to what the future holds for him, let's not jump to the conclusion that his go with the flow ways are just a good thing. He ends up in a bind because what awaits him doesn't seem so great after a while. When this happens, Josh turns to his brother, David, for advice—and David tells him: "You're a go-with-the-flow-guy […] And that can feel great because it means you don't have to make any hard decisions. But sometimes you need to figure out what you want, Josh" (55.53). In other words, it's time to check in, Josh.
Josh's life isn’t so much easy, then, as he doesn't make it hard by opting to just accept things as they come along; Josh doesn't fight and he's easy to please. But in the end, he realizes that he needs to play an active role in his life if he wants to make sure it's truly satisfying to him. And in this regard, he and Emma learn similar lessons: You have to invest in the present in order for your future to fall into line the way you'd truly like it to.
Per his go with the flow ways, Josh is the kind of guy who waits for the right girl to come along. Emma tells him at one point, "You're always looking for something long-term, and you'll stay with that person until you know for sure it's not right" (31.43). And she's right: Josh is patient when it comes to romance. But let's not forget that Josh also totally put his heart on the line when he told Emma he liked her. And when she told him the feelings weren't mutual, well, the poor guy was a bit heartbroken.
But just because he was crushed doesn't mean that he bounces from Emma's life. Things may be a little awkward, but Josh keeps hanging around, checking Facebook with her and sharing rides and all that friendly, neighborly stuff they've always done. Because like we said: Boy is patient. Plus, as he says to Emma in regards to Graham, "hanging out every day when you don't really like someone, isn't that hard?" (31.40). In other words, Josh places a premium on enjoying his company—even if they don't want to date him.
And, of course, in the end Josh's patience pays off. Emma comes around, and as we leave them in the ball pit, we're pretty confident they're just beginning this next—and totally romantic—chapter of their lives together.