By Katie Kacvinsky
Published May 23rd 2011 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Ebook from Local Library
"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." ~ Goodreads
Awaken exposes us to a world that may not be so far away and reveals the consequences that come with it.
I loved Maddie in the first half of the book because even though she was experiencing (in her mind) radicial things she took it in stride with an open mind. Better yet, she allowed her desires and human inclinations to grow. In the second half of the book, this resilient Maddie was still present but completely love sick. She became that girl that can't live without the love of her life. She lost major points with me on that front. It was the same with Justin. In the first half, I loved him to bits - he was mysterious, caring, super cool (he had a wicked car), and had so much passion for what he did it was contagious. But then, he started pushing Maddie away - only to be reeled in again. I know he had good reasons, but still. That whole you-shouldn't-want-me-Maddie-I'm-no-good-for-you stick got old really fast. On one hand I really liked their relationship, but on the other hand it was annoying.
There is no doubt that Katie Kacvinsky knows how to write. At times it was deep and insightful, wonderful. (Certain phrases did repeat themselves quite often though.) I believe she did a great job with the world building and the whole backstory on how DS came into effect was solid. It was thought out. The theme she incorporated is an important one and I know everyone will take something away after reading Awaken. If it wasn't for the push-and-pull (pushing done by boy, pulling done by girl) kind of romance, I would have enjoyed the ending more. The pace was steady and it wraps up in a decent way. There is definitely room for a sequel/second book.
I recommend Awaken to readers who enjoy dystopias, adventure, books that make you think, and well, who don't mind a romance that at times may be frustrating. The first half was incredible - read it just for that!
"So, why are you really here?" I whispered. "You're not paying any attention to this."
Justin looked at me as if the answer was obvious. "To be around people. It's one of the only ways I can."
I creased my eyebrows at him and had to make an effort to whisper. "What? Are you nuts?"
He leaned closer. "I think people are nuts to shut themselves inside all day long. We're cutting ourselves off from each other and it's only going to get worse."
I felt goose bumps rise up on my arms. I grinned at him.
"And you think going to study groups and doodling in your notebook is going to change things?"
Justin smiled back, a plotting smile that held uncountable meanings.
"I have a plan," he said.