Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky
Release Date: May 23, 2011
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books
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. - Goodreads.com
This is one of the more interesting dystopians I've ever read because I could so clearly see how the world is already well on its way to becoming like the one described in this book. Technology is an awesome thing, but cell phones, iPads, computers, the internet and social networking has exploded so much and has chipped away a great deal on our time to spend amongst living, breathing people. It's really not unrealistic all to imagine a world like the one in Awaken. And it all started with parents wanting to keep children safe from a rapidly violent school life. Isn't it funny how a lot of really bad ideas come from good intentions?
Maddie lives in this world, is completely disconnected from real socialization, much as everyone else is. And worse, her father is the "father" of this new way of life. So when she gets drawn out to meet a guy she met online, she discovers a whole other world out there and is slowly pulled from her "online living" into actual life. The book was aptly named, because watching Maddie reconcile this new experience is like watching someone awaken to something they thought of as a dream.
The romance in this story was good, although I felt it could have been developed a bit more. I would keep in mind though that there is going to be a sequel to this, so I believe we're going to get to see a lot more development. This was an excellent debut book from Katie and I am looking forward to the sequel.
Great job on the characters, and awesome job on the world-building. This was a very enjoyable read!
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