Monday, January 14, 2013

Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

By Katie Kacvinsky
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011
309 pages (paperback)

Maddie lives in a world where everything is done online. She's okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Suddenly, she gets a feeling that maybe there is a better way to live, a way that is different from what her society and parents have told her. Now she must learn to stand up for herself, as she and Justin struggle to make their own space. (from

I have had this book for a while and kept wanting to read it (mainly because I thought the cover was cool; mason jars are such cozy decorations). I don’t know why I wanted to long to read Awaken. It was amazing. In the literary world, I feel like young adult novels are getting a bit bogged down with dystopian love stories. But this book was fresh with a new twist on dystopia and why electronics took over the world.

In fact, the electronic theme was a bit disturbing. A bit too realistic. This is a world where so much was done online (especially school) because of the violence in America. After so many school shootings that killed thousands of children and teens, school has become an online requirement and people rarely interact face-to-face. We all see all of this happening more and more. Americans spend ridiculous amounts of time using electronic devices. Even my 3 year old can use my phone like a pro. And whenever there is a tragic shooting we worry a little more and avoid going out when we can. Obviously technology is not bad, but it can’t take over our lives because there are serious consequences to that.

One flaw I found in the world created was that the serious threat of digital school didn’t seems so serious. I could read between the lines and understand the implications, but I wish the propaganda of living digitally was explained more… and in a more dire tone.

Anyways… beyond the theme, I loved the characters. They were complex and endearing. And instead of the love triangle being between a girl and two hot boys, it was between a girl, a boy, and a resistance movement. What will win out in the end? Katie Kacvinsky leaves the reader hanging onto every word and desperate for good and love to triumph. I am already on to the sequel and can’t put it down.

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