Monday, May 23, 2011


Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011
309 pages
YA; Dystopia
3.5/5 stars

Source: Received a free e-galley via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I started out really enjoying this book.  Maddie seemed like a cool independent girl.  I was intrigued by her family life and her obvious intelligence and rebellious strike.

Interestingly the setting is 2060, less than fifty years from now.  There are many similarities in terms of technology but the big change is scope as people barely leave their houses, instead fulfilling their desires through technology and specially delivered food to their houses.  However I wonder about relationships.  People still seem to value marriage and I believe a courtship can be conducted through email and such but how do they have a married life when people can barely communicate in person?  And why does Maddie play soccer in real-life with an actual friend (who basically disappears from the plot once she hooks up with the guy) instead of just online?

The main problem, for me though, was the romance.

Have you ever heard that women either pick a guy who's like their father or is the exact opposite? Well, Maddie kind of follows that, falling for a distant, fanatical, controlling guy whose main distinctions from her father are that he fights against the Digital School that her father created and he's better at acting like he cares about her.  Justin is also very lecture-y, which is a trait I thought I could tolerate but it turns out that only Mr. Knightley may lecture his lady-love; all others should cease.

Their relationship began when Justin  invested three years in searching for the person who had hacked into her dad's computer and aided Digital School protestors.  Once he found her, he and his friends spent a lot of time attempting to win Maddie over to their side. Maybe they genuinely do like her (now) but their relationship was founded on lies. The result is that I normally want my books and series to end with a happy romantic attachment for the main character but in this case I would be happier if Justin ended up dumping Maddie once she could no longer help the cause.  She would be shattered but it would be fascinating and way different from most YA that I've read. 

Overall: Some interesting questions raised by this dystopia but it didn't make much of an impression on me.

Read for YA Debut Author Challenge and for e-book challenge.

1 comment:

  1. The premise is very interesting and quite scary, in that many people already communicate only through the use of technology and neglect personal contact. It's too bad the execution of the premise is a bit bland. And I agree, I can only tolerate Mr Knightley when it comes to lecturing, other guys just shouldn't do it.:)

    Still, the book sounds pretty cool! Great review!


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