Thursday, March 29, 2012

Review: Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

by Katie Kacvinsky
Published: May 2011
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Available: Amazon


Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her.

Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking.

In this not-so-brave new world, two young people struggle to carve out their own space.


I was really impressed by this book. There's a sea of dystopian novels out there right now, and a lot of them tend to remind me of one another. There's heavy, and depressing worlds where people aren't safe alone and there's some vague references to a war, but Awaken take on a more realistic approach. After terrorist attacks hit a number of schools across the country, killing thousands of children, the country goes into a lock down on their children, instituting an online school program that is mandatory for all children.

What I love about Maddie is that she's not drawn into a rebellion by Justin, even though he's definitely on a mission to get her to join him. And when Maddie finds out exactly who he is, she's angry and hurt. But unlike so many romance driven dystopians she doesn't go out and make rash decisions, or more importantly stupid decisions. She goes into everything with her eyes wide open.

The ending was not what I expected and that made the story even stronger. This is the first in a series, and I am definitely interested in what happens to Maddie and Justin, but even if it wasn't I'd be satisfied with how Kacvinsky finished the book.

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