Book Review: Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

AWAKEN by Katie Kacvinsky
Publication Date: May 23rd 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Rating: StarStarStar |

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.

I love dystopian novels so I jumped at the chance to review this galley! I was hooked straight away from the summary. I have to admit that after the first few chapters, I was not sure that I was going to like this, but I judged way too quickly! Maddie is such an easy character to get along with. She tries to follow her parents’ wishes, trying to be that “perfect” daughter – it’s something that, I think, we all struggle with as a teenager: getting the approval of your parents. However, at the same time, we learn very early on that there is another side to Maddie: her rebellious streak.

I love the romance in AWAKEN! One of the things that really seal the deal for me in terms of a book is a good love story, and AWAKEN does not disappoint. Justin is a great character. There was a lot of build-up and good chemistry between the two characters. I think Katie Kacvinsky does an amazing job setting up the romance in the book. It was one of the reasons why I kept on reading.

In terms of secondary characters, I have to love Clare. Being online all the time, Maddie really has no real friends, so I was happy to see that she was able to form connections out in the real world. With Justin as one of the main characters, it was nice to see more female characters in the novel. I felt like Maddie needed that female sidekick and she definitely got it with Clare.

Furthermore, I love that the entire time that I read, the book made me think about life in the digital age. As a teenager who is constantly online, I can definitely find myself relating to Maddie who is so dependent on technology. It makes me wonder what would happen if we do take technology to the next level and make it even more immersed with our lives. I think a lot of teens can relate to Maddie’s story and will make them think about what they’re doing the next time they are socializing online instead of face-to-face conversations.

I think the best part about Kacvinsky’s dystopian novel is that I can see it happening in the future. It’s a scary thought, but the way we are already dependent with technology, I would hate to see ourselves move into this direction. In addition to AWAKEN being such a fun read, it sparks thoughts in my mind which is a definite plus in my book.

On the other hand, the plot was just okay for my tastes. I do not think that the plot keeps you on your toes or keeps you guessing until the very end, but there are a handful of action-packed scenes that kept me interested. With that being said, I was really disappointed when the book ended because I wanted more! I am really curious to know whether or not there will be a sequel to AWAKEN because I really do not feel that Maddie and Justin’s story is over. I guess we will have to find out!

Overall, I definitely enjoyed this book. I think others who would enjoy this read are those who love dystopian novels, tech-savvy or heavy Internet users, and romance lovers.

Thank you so much to HMH Galleys from NetGalley for allowing me to review this amazing book!

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