Thursday, May 26, 2011

Review: Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

AwakenTitle: Awaken
Author: Katie Kacvinsky
Series: I would think series
Pages: 352
Published: Available now from Houghton Mifflin
ISBN: 9780547371481
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: 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 Give This ...

I must not have read the description very well when I requested this book, because we I started I had no idea what it was about.  I was a little surprised at the electronic element of the story and how it controls peoples lived.  Turns out, I can completely see this happening in the future.  

This dystopian society functions differently than a lot of others I've read about recently.  It seems to be controlled in away that people have a sense of freedom and don't realize they are being controlled.  I wouldn't even call this a society anymore because people rarely interact with one another.   Violence escalated so badly that people basically cut themselves off from everyone.  Everything is done electronically from the comfort of their home.  Maddie is no different from any other teen out there.  Except her dad is the creator of the virtual school every student attends.  And 2 years ago, she helped to almost destroy it.

I enjoyed Maddie because she craves something more than this virtual life is giving her.  You can tell because she participates in so many different online groups.  She graves that human interaction.  It's not just fate that puts her in touch with Justin.  Turns out he can show here exactly what she's missing.  She's not the only one who feels this way.  There's an entire society focused on this issue.  Maddie starts to feel like she belongs, plus she has serious feelings for Justin and wonders if he feels the same.  

But, then the group begins to ask to much of her.  Despite how she feels, she can't turn her  back on her family.  She's still paying for the last time and what they want now puts her that much more involved.  A night out with Justin ends up breaking the final straw and her parents send her off to a detention center.  Maddie realizes that her dad will stop at nothing to keep the virtual school running.  Justin rescues her and Maddie must come to terms with what she really thinks and how it will effect her future.

I liked the whole set-up.  It made me appreciate the freedom I have now and how electronics might look in the not so distant future.  I'm hoping there will be a sequel because I don't think this story is close to being over!

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