Monday, January 3, 2011

Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

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. (from

The irony did not escape me that I was reading a book about too many computerized devices on my Nook e-reader!  That philosophical musing aside, I have to say that this was a great book and evidently, hit very close to home.

I love the character of Maddie.  She is strong, yet believable.  I’m not sure how I feel about Justin.  I love him and hate him at the same time.  The supporting cast of characters are interesting as well, with Clare and Noah being my favorites, and just like everyone else, I don’t like Molly and Scott.

The action scenes in this book are riveting and like Maddie, I found myself looking over my shoulder a lot during many scenes in the book.  Another interesting point was the way that the author makes the reader hate all the digital living, but then throws a big whammie into that in the dead center of the book!  When the explanation of how digital school came to be,it gives one pause to reflect for a moment and realize that maybe the "digital side" isn’t so horribly evil.

I think that one of the things that makes this book so compelling is that it is so on-target.  This is a situation that is totally within the realm of possibility.  In fact, I often complain to my teenage daughter and my teenage students alike that they no longer do face to face very well.  They are forgetting how to interact socially.  In fact, I think that as a society we all are forgetting how to be social.  So this book is very timely.  It provided me with a lot of food for thought about my own habits and just how “plugged in” I am.

Was there anything that I didn’t like?  Yes!  The cliffhanger of an ending!!!  That has me hanging on the edge of my seat just waiting for more!

So, with a well-written story with a timely theme, an interesting cast of characters and a cliffhanger ending that will have you begging for the next installment…..what’s not to love?  I give this book a solid A.

This book is available for purchase on May 23, 2011.  Thank you Houghton Mifflin for letting me read the ARC!

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