Author: Katie Kacvinsky
Release Date: May 23, 2011
Edition: Paperback (320 pages)
Genre: YA Dystopian
Cover Review: I really like this cover. It's symbolic in an un-obnoxious sort of way. The flower is like the people. They are trapped, only speaking to others through electronics. It's as if each person is a flower in a glass jar.
Series: Awaken #1
Main Character: Madeline Freeman
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.
Rereading Awaken was just amazing. The reader follows Maddie, the daughter of the inventor of Digital School. You see, in the world that Maddie lives in, everyone goes to Digital School, which is school through computers. There are also fake trees and grass, because they are less hard to burn. The school became digital because when Maddie was young, there was a lot of terrorism. People were actually bombing tons of schools at the same time FOR FUN. These people were mostly trying to do something about overpopulation, but there are other ways to solve that. There was also a lot of shootings happening. Since Maddie's dad didn't want her to have to live a life like this, he created Digital School, which is now a very successful school. Everyone in America goes there.
Maddie really doesn't like going to school digitally. A few years ago, she decided to do something about it by hacking into her father's computer files and sending secret locations of some of the towers to Digital School protesters. These towers were later bombed, and Maddie got in huge trouble. She's pretty much grounded though most of her protest websites and friends are completely blocked.
Maddie has been talking to Justin in chat rooms ever since they both needed essay help. One day, Justin suggests that Maddie come to one of his study groups so that they can finally meet face to face. Maddie is a bit unsure about this, but there is some part of her that wants more to life than just electronics, so she decides to go. After meeting Justin, she's intrigued. Maddie wants to know more about his life and what he does, especially after she gets taken on one of Justin's missions. See, the thing is, Justin is the son of the protesters that Maddie gave the tower files to way back when. Justin's a protester and he wants to get Maddie on his side, though more ensues than just this. Throughout the novel, Justin shows Maddie the true meaning of life and that humans were created to enjoy everything, not to stare at screens all day.
Maddie's character development was major. She starts out as a girl against Digital School though still trapped within a cage, though she later really wants to do something about her thoughts and what she believes. Justin encourages this greatly, as he says that she was given opinions for a reason.
For some reason, even though I read this book a year ago, I still remembered Justin. I guess he really left an impact on me. Some of the things he says are just great life lessons. He also stands for some great symbols such as freedom and human rights. It's great that he wasn't corrupted like the rest of the world was by Digital School.
Claire ended up being one of Maddie's best friends in the end. I thought that it was cool that she finally started relating to people in real life and one of the people was Claire. It was fun reading about how they talked about boys and stuff, knowing that Maddie probably hadn't done that before.
Awaken is really a life-changing book. What if the world does come to this? I mean, it could happen. This is one of few dystopian books that I could say that about. Already tons of colleges are being moved online. I bet that there are other schools online too. Who's to say this couldn't happen? One thing I'd really like to emphasize on is Katie Kacvinsky's writing. She writes so beautifully and it's kind of melodic. Her writing just flows so nicely. Hopefully I'll be able to pick up Middle Ground next time I go to the store. I'd definitely suggest picking this book up because it's really an eye-opener!
Recommended for fans of:
"Some people try to tell you the things you want in life are out of your grasp, while others life you up on their shoulders and help you reach them. I may not know a lot, but I prefer to fill my life with people who let me climb on top of their shoulders, not people who try to keep me planted on the ground."
"Life should be a risk. It's more than a straight line that you can see clearly from one point to the other. It dips and curves and you never know what's around the bend sometimes until you get there. That scares a lot of people. But that's the beauty of it."
"You can't stop people from being human. We're creative, we're social. People are like water. If you try to contain them, they find a way to break free."
"Because someday, when your life slows down, you're going to look at all the great things you've done and the people you've touched and you might go down as a hero. But no one would have ever wanted your life. Because you'll be alone."
"Sometimes you need to get lost in order to discover anything."
Have you read this novel? I'd love to hear your thoughts!