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.
- Publisher’s Blurb
One thing I found really interesting about the dystopian world Katie Kacvinsky creates in Awaken, is it’s not all a harsh and terrible experience. Maddie’s father, the architect of the Digital School system, gets the chance to show the good points of the system, and even Justin and his friends acknowledge this, their issue is the lack of choice, the fact that people can not decide for themselves, and the consequences of having little or no social interaction.
And unlike say Candor, the controls he places on Maddie’s life are her own fault, a few years before the book starts, Maddie, hacked into her father’s computer and the resulting fall-out very nearly cost him his job.
So right from the start there’s a freshness to this one that helped is stand out from the others I was reading at the time, that’s not to say it’s totally original, there were a few parts of Maddie’s journey that reminded me a lot of Lena’s in Delirium by Lauren Oliver. (Totally unintentional I’m sure, as both of these had yet to be published when I read them, and going to go see a live band as a demonstration of new found freedom, is hardly a unique event and perhaps is more an indication of how close together I read them than anything else).
It’s very easy to imagine Maddie’s life. We’re so connected digitally these days, with the likes of Facebook, Twitter and smart phones etc, that taking it all to the ‘nth degree is not that big a step.
So, despite the obviously ‘safer’ life the digital world offers, there’s a certain shudder that goes down that the spine, when you consider how easy it would be to lose yourself in the system, and only ever meet people online… The reality of that is more than slightly disturbing.
I also like the fact that, Maddie was already somewhat of a believer, the conflict in this one came from just how far she wanted to take her rebellion and go against her father, moreover in convincing Justin that he actually needs to live the life, he is so desperately fighting for.
They both need to take their own journeys, and the friendship that develops between them helps them both to take that journey, and open each others eyes to the world they are fighting for.
It’s a friendship and eventual romance that anchors the story, and it is the thrust of the narrative, so thankfully it’s a relationship that sparks, feels genuine, and they characters you care for.
- ISBN-13/EAN: 9780547371481
- ISBN-10: 0547371489
- Hardcover ; 352 pages
- Publication Date: 05/23/2011
I actually read this one during my YAD2 Reading Challenge at the end of last year, but wanted to keep my review for a bit nearer the publishing date, so while I don’t normally give ratings for books, I thought I’d say what it would have scored during the challenge.
My copy of Awaken was provided by the publisher via @netgalley for review purposes.