AUTHOR: Katie Kacvinsky
PUBLICATION DATE: May 23rd 2011
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.
After reading this book I'm surprised to see so many mixed or outright negative reviews of this book. It's one of the best, most intelligent dystopias I've read in a while.
In fact, I think Katie Kacvinsky's idea in her debut novel is the most intriguing and plausible at the same time among the dystopias. Let's face it - the genre is becoming more and more far-fetched, as the authors struggle to fit in because of the trend. Awaken stands out with a world not really different from ours. It takes place only 50 years in the future, but the society has changed. Every person in the country has an access to free education - they attend so called Digital Schools via internet. Everything happens online - there's no point in even going out of the houses anymore, as people can order whatever they want, they socialize, relax and study in front of their computers.
I liked how well-thought this book is. The reasoning behind every change in the society is well explained and I found myself nodding at some of the ideas. The government had a good reason to enforce DS on the society, as well as society had a good reason to fight it later.
The main character Maddie is no damsel in distress. She can think for herself and despite her not being street smart, she learns quickly. There's a huge character development throughout the book, but you can't really pinpoint certain points in her change - the transition is smooth. The reader can see that it was building in her for quite some time. Justin is just as fascinating character. Easy going and friendly, he's got his own demons.
I absolutely loved how INTELLIGENT the dialogues were. Especially between the main characters, Maddie and Justin. These two actually talked with each other and built a solid base for their later romance.
There were some minor issues like continuity errors, a few awkward phrases that (hopefully) were gotten rid of in the finished version of the book. I think I was also a bit annoyed by the tug-of-war Justin was playing with Maddie - the constant "You're too good for me, you deserve better" was a little overdone.
Overall, it's a good, thought provoking read. Not for everyone, but if you enjoy dialogues that don't seem forced, dystopias and likable characters, I'm sure you will love it. I can't wait to read the sequel!
4 out of 5 stars