Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky.
Publication Date: April 2012
List Price: $8.99
Review: Imagine living in 2060 with fake trees in your front yard and having a DS or digital school education. Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky is a phenomenal read for young adults that predicts the future development of technology and its ups and downs. 18 year old Maddie lives in a world where your work, school, and social life is controlled on the computer. She plays soccer and is initially okay with her solitary digital life until she finds someone she truly loves. Madeline embarks on a journey to figure out if DS and her digital life really more important than having a social life that humans were designed to have.
Maddie thinks she is only leaving her house for a short tutor session, but there she meets Justin, the start of a life changing journey. Justin is against DS and has parents were sentenced to death for coming very close to shutting it down. They become good friends and from now on the only thing Maddie can think about is Justin. Justin shows her a side of the world that she never knew existed. There are thousands of anti-DS people, cities, and organizations. Maddie is shown the coffee shops where people talk and drink coffee with others, the clubs where people dance in front of people listening to live music, and the lifestyle where you go to the store instead of shopping online. Places like these are all kept secret because if you are caught acting against DS, no matter what age, you will be taken to a detention center. Most importantly, Justin takes Maddie on one of his interception where they help people being taken to detention centers escape. This is when Maddie realizes that Justin is the leader of the largest force against DS. This is a huge problem for Maddie because her father is the inventor of DS! Is Justin using Maddie to get to information he desperately needs? Or does he really have feelings for her?
Katie Kacvinsky sticks a fantastic fiction for young adults or teenagers that shows how technology is taking over routine life. She takes a certainly disturbing concern and creates it into the understandable context of middle or high school readers. She even manages to make every page full of detail while continuously showing the issue. The details form a movie in your head. You can feel the tension in the air and sense a person's happiness. Katie Kacvinsky makes you feel like you are in the action and the emotion. It's like a rollercoaster that changes speed and height. The characters development throughout the story is very interesting because the point of view between Justin and Maddie flip. The thing I love the most about Awaken is the setting. 2060 is definitely a long time from now and Katie Kacvinsky does a fantastic and creative job of predicting society, technology, and the government. That is another factor that makes you want to keep on exploring the creative book. It's interesting from the first page to the last because it contains short journal entries by the characters that really allow the reader to be in their shoes. It's always interesting to get a taste of the future because no one really knows which direction it's going to go in.
Review written by Ravi (7th grade student).
We would like to thank Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing a copy of Awaken for this review.
Have you read Awaken? How would you rate it?