Middle Ground by Katie Kacvinsky. The Sequel to Awaken.
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Publication Date: November 2012
List Price: $16.99
Review: When you live in a world of technology that is only beginning peak of its potential, only one book makes us truly wonder about where technology can lead us, where the steady rate its development is going. Middle Ground by Katie Kacvinsky, the sequel to Awaken, is a fantastic story, with thorough details, independent but vulnerable characters, and a storyline which pieces together writing that gets better with each turn of a page. Though the author eloquently writes her story and distributes a great amount of details, something that really stands out to me is the message and the characters' development throughout the story. Characters Justin and Maddie are really unique because their personalities are well rounded and multidimensional- they turned out better people at the end of the story and were capable of change.
Middle Ground takes place in the year 2050, a time where electronics have brainwashed the human race to have their lives based solely on computer time and to avoid human interaction. The heroine, or protagonist, Maddie, is a rebellious teenager who wants to stop the madness. The problem is that her dad is one of the main people who developed the program. Additionally, his boss could fire him if Maddie keeps up with her rebellious streak. Of course, Maddie is even more determined because her boyfriend, Justin, is one of the main leaders that fight back at technology. Soon Maddie's one act of resistance ends up getting her caught and stuck inside what is considered a prison, where kids who don't cooperate are drugged. They have it drummed into their heads that technology is great and good for them. To make it even worse, Maddie's dad thinks it's beneficial for her! Maddie is unsure if she can survive through the harsh and unforgiving conditions. Maybe, if she can stay strong, and remember Justin, she might pull through this tremendously challenging situation.
In my opinion, Middle Ground is a great story because of its memorable message and its unparalleled characters. Kacvinsky managed to develop the characters and make them fit their wiser personalities after reflecting on their experiences. Justin's mysterious past and Maddie's determined nature not only brought them closer to learning to trust each other and hold on, but it helped make their relationship work better. Another notable element Kacvinsky has excelled in was her theme. In the real world today, technology has now become a big part of our lives. Middle Ground shows the potential of what technology can become because of its rapid growth. The theme for the reader is also something worth remembering, in fact, Kacvinsky layered many themes into the story. The overall messages are many: hold on, love can conquer anything, and friendship is of key importance. For example, when Maddie gets stuck in prison, everything is a bit more bearable at the thought of Justin, someone she loves. I could relate to the book in many ways, so this book belongs to the age group of students in middle school or junior high; students that age can appreciate the crude humor. Overall, I would give Middle Ground by Katie Kacvinsky four stars because of its great storyline and characters.
Review written by Sachi (6th grade student).
We would like to thank Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing a copy of Middle Ground for this review.
Have you read Middle Ground? How would you rate it?