Thursday, December 30, 2010

REVIEW - Awaken

AwakenAwaken by Katie Kacvinsky

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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. description from Goodreads

I struggled with my rating. It may be more of a 3 1/2 rating.

Maddie lives in the near future where life is lived digitally. Everyone is so plugged in that a social life is a rare commodity. Most people us public transport to move around, but even then they are attached to some sort of screen and do not interact.  They have forgotten how to live outside of a virtual world.  Maddie is asked out on a virtual date.  She would stay home, her date would stay at his house and they would stroll along a virtual path and chat.  YUCK!  Can you imagine it?  I hope this is not the future that is in store,  I think of how plugged I am at times, particularly my children.

Children do not attend school, the learn at home, again plugged into a computer. Of course, school violence is non-existent and the powers that be are thrilled. Maddie's father is the creator of the digital school and a very powerful man. Her home is dysfunctional. She has a loving mother and a domineering father.

Then Maddie's life takes a turn, she agrees to meet Justin at a live study session. Usually she participates in the chat room sessions. Through her interaction with Justin, Maddie's true character emerges. She was once part of a rebellion against digital school, was caught, and is now living with consequences. She begins to see there is more living to be done surrounded by people instead of computers.

Justin is part of a group trying to weaken the hold of the digital school.  They see the loss of humanity, that people are not using their creative side of the brain.  So many things that we take for granted have been lost, one of them is the printing of books. 

She sees how controlled her life has been.  Her father knows who she chats with, what she says.  To get onto public transportation, you have to put your finger on a scanner.  The government knows where and what everyone is doing.    She watches her parents dance, not with each other, but with a virtual program. 

At times the book seemed to go along a bit slow.  Maddie's activities and life were described in detail.  The most interesting moments were her journal writing.  She talked about the trees, artificial trees.  She talked about her feelings with the world and her part in it.

I am hoping there is a sequel, the ending is slightly frustrating.  I would love to see what the future holds for Maddie and Justin.

I received a copy from Netgalley for review.  This book will be released in  May 2011.

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