Awaken – Katie Kacvinsky

07 May

By Katie Kacvinsky
Available 23 May 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.   

This Blonde’s Review:

Imagine a world where you never have to leave your home. Where you are encouraged not to. School, shopping, socializing, anything you would want to do can be done online. Imagine your father is the man who built the online school and is responsible for a lot of this happening. Now imagine that your father doesn’t trust you an inch and your every move is monitored.

This is Maddie’s life. Until she meets Justin. He is just a random kid she met in an online study group. A boy who talks her into a live study session. A hot boy who seems to be interested in talking to her.

Justin believes in a world Maddie doesn’t know. A world where people meet face to face. A world where people have a choice of what kind of school they attend. A world where people are not arrested for protesting online school.

The scary thing is that this future seems all too possible. Katie Kacvinsky shows us the world as it could be. School shootings becoming more frequent, school bombings coordinated across countries. Elementary school children killed by the hundreds. People afraid for their children and afraid for themselves. Online schools are already available for for all grade levels, it is easy to see a day when online school is required.

But what happens when you live in a world where all of your contact is made online? You start to lose to ability to connect with people. The only things you share are the things you choose to, so you only know the part of a person they choose to share with you. Nothing is real, everything is surface only.

Except Maddie isn’t really all she seems. As the book goes on we see that there is more to her than you think. Justin isn’t just a boy she happened to meet, he’s a member of a rebellious group that has searched her out purposefully, hoping to recruit her to their side.

I really enjoyed Maddie. She’s stuck between what she believes, a boy, and her family. If there is no way to have it all then how can she choose?

I kind of liked Justin at first, but didn’t like him at the same time. He clearly had an ulterior motive, but did he Really like her or was he just using her? He was hard to get to know and care about, although I did ultimately decide I liked him and wanted things to work out for him and Maddie. They could be really good for each other.

Awaken wasn’t really what I was expecting. I suppose I thought it would be the kind of place where no one went out and the world outside was basically empty. A world where it’s not safe to be outside. There are no real trees or grass in cities anymore, but when you get away from the cities it almost seems like everything is fine. There are still people who get out and meet others, so going out isn’t as uncommon as I thought it would be. Instead it is discouraged but still allowed.

I really can’t wait for the 2nd book in this series! I haven’t heard anything about a 2nd book yet, but with the way it ended it is clearly part of a series.

This is a dystopian YA story about teenagers trying to change a world gone wrong. If the description sounds good to you and dystopian worlds that could really happen are things you enjoy reading then you should get a copy of this book later this month.


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