So I did.
And OH MY GOSH.
As I said above, STARTING Awaken was a little hard for me, but once it got going, this book seriously ROCKED.
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.
Awaken is a different kind of dystopian than the usual, one that is--in my opinion--even scarier. Instead of exceeding amounts of violence or hugely different societies (like Hunger Games and Matched), Awaken takes place in a society disturbingly similar to our own, and it's set only about fifty years in the future.
In this world, computers are everything. Spending time outside or with friends is an infrequent event. Why would you, when you can chat it up with your contacts online, or go for a virtual walk along the beach, or go on a virtual climb of Mount Everest? Your computer can tell you anything you need to know, make connections, run your life.
The fact that everyone's always too busy on their computers or phones to pay attention to each other, even when they're hanging out in person, totally freaked me out as it's so close to what's happening in our society now. Even the timeline of this story is realistic. I can completely see this happening within the next fifty years, and that's scary.
There's a point in the book where Maddie compares going without technology to being an alcoholic going through withdrawal, and that REALLY got me thinking. Because I think a lot of people (myself included) would feel like that if we went very long without our computers or iPods or phones. It makes me think that maybe we should all unplug more often before this book becomes our reality.
But that was just one of the things that made this book awesome. The story itself was great. Maddie was a fun, smart, strong character. She's pretty much been under house arrest for three years, but that doesn't stop her from fighting against her dad's rules and opinions every chance she gets. Some part of her understands that society has taken a dangerous turn, but it doesn't really become clear to her until she meets Justin.
Justin...is awesome. I loved his character. Extroverted, smart, brave, and selfless to a fault, Justin is different than most typical YA heroes these days. All of his friends were great, too, especially Clare. Clare was HILARIOUS, and I'm looking forward to seeing her and the others in future books.
Now, I know I don't usually share quotes in my reviews, but I found a couple that were just so good I want to share them with you guys.
She rolled her eyes. "Scott can be such a drama queen. It never crossed his mind that mocking and ridiculing you to your face might not be the wisest strategy to convince you to join our side."
"I took a self-defense class," I added.
He raised an eyebrow. The gesture only made him sexier.
"Online? What did you learn, push the up and down arrow keys really fast to get away?"
Altogether, Awaken definitely gets <*><*><*><*><*>