Review: Awaken

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: AwakenAwaken by Katie Kacvinsky
Series: Awaken #1
Published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children on May 23, 2011
Genres: Dystopian, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 309
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
three-half-stars

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.

Awaken grabbed me from the very first page. The book starts with a journal entry by Madeline, which discusses the fact that people do not write longhand anymore and keep journals this way. Nor do they print books or use paper, what with there not being real trees anymore. A definite dystopia for a librarian and lover of literature! These journal entries are interspersed with the narration. There are only a few, but I think it works, because she only has one journal and cannot write too often or will not have anywhere else to write important things.

Of course, Awaken does have the immediate super duper love thing. Madeline falls for Justin the moment she sees him. From then on, she generally describes each first sight of him in a room thusly: “I instantly felt the energy in the room shift as if the lights dimmed or an air current changed direction” (150). This is definitely a bit much, but perhaps more understandable considering that this is almost the first time she has ever met someone her own age. So if you spent most of your time in your room on your computer, then left to meet a friend you chatted with and he turned out to be incredibly hot, nice, smart and trying to save the world, you might fall pretty hard pretty fast too.

Katie makes a good main character. She’s brave sometimes, petrified sometimes, capable of defending herself and others when she needs to, incredibly intelligent and unaware of her amazingness. All of this combines to make her into a real character, a teenage girl trying to figure out her place in the world and what she wants to make of herself. It was always interesting when one of the journal entries would come up, because you could really see her working through the things that preceded. Plus, you got a view into what she hid in front of others, because she likes to really think through possibilities before committing herself to something.

This was a great dystopian read with some fantastic quotes that totally kept me rapt. From the ending of this one, a sequel is pretty much certain and I am most glad of it!

5 responses to “Review: Awaken”

  1. Heidi says:

    I loved this book! So glad you enjoyed it as well.

  2. Great review – I really enjoyed this book and was so stoked when I found out that there was a sequel. I really liked the premise that fear had driven people indoors to the point that getting out and going for some cake and coffee seemed like a completely odd thing to do! Sincerely hope that this doesn’t eventuate in my lifetime 😛

    • Christina says:

      I sincerely hope things don’t go full-on dystopia in my lifetime! Haha, but yeah, I am curious to check out Middle Ground, although my memory’s a little fuzzy at this point, so we’ll see how that goes.

  3. Great review – I really enjoyed this book and was so stoked when I found out that there was a sequel. I really liked the premise that fear had driven people indoors to the point that getting out and going for some cake and coffee seemed like a completely odd thing to do! Sincerely hope that this doesn’t eventuate in my lifetime 😛

  4. Great review – I really enjoyed this book and was so stoked when I found out that there was a sequel. I really liked the premise that fear had driven people indoors to the point that getting out and going for some cake and coffee seemed like a completely odd thing to do! Sincerely hope that this doesn’t eventuate in my lifetime 😛

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