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.
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Source: ARC/NetGalley + Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
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Challenge: 2011 Debut Author Challenge Next: T.B.A.
Hands down one of my favorite YA dystopian reads thus far!
I loved AWAKEN! From its exceptional story line to the marvelous characters to the fantastic, melt-worthy romance. Not to mention an ending that leaves me hoping for more (which - as you will soon find out tomorrow - there will be!)! AWAKEN tells of a digitalized life, in which humans have come to be co-dependent on technology, for school, for work, and for 'living.' Not only was I a little freaked out by this world's obvious reliance on the slew of high tech electronics incorporated in the story, but its close correspondence with life for us in the present-day. For my life now. I have to say that AWAKEN's message really made me think.
Besides having a point to get across throughout the novel - one that was executed incredibly well, I might add - I remained an enraptured reader the entire time. The novel didn't come off as preachy, though it had a message to deliver. Instead, it's this absorbing book that kept me completely engrossed until I was finished reading. Seeing the world for what it had become, I couldn't help but be on the protesters' side. They fought for choices, for freedom to live the way they choose instead of an enforced automated existence. Plus, an added bonus was all the action-packed ventures of the awesome 'unplugged' protesters!
Even more amazing: my complete love for both of the main protagonists, Maddie and Justin. Not to mention their terribly sweet and passionate romance, which built up slowly and intensely! But before I even go there, I want to touch on them separately. Maddie has this demure demeanor about her, but ultimately she has a rebellious streak beneath the surface. I enjoyed seeing her former experience-deprived self transform into this open-minded, willing girl. I loved seeing that defiant side eventually emerge! More, her pure receptiveness to all that Justin showed her, to the brand new experiences that began to fill her life, her admiration and wonderment of all that ensued after meeting Justin, kept me entertained and happily content with her character.
And Justin was just as much of an extraordinary character! He's complex and insightful and deep. That's what it is that draws me, his depth. To say that he's a well-developed character is an understatement. From his habits to his actions to his outlook on life... he's downright fascinating. In fact, these qualities made me fall in love with him almost as much as Maddie. And I can honestly say that I have never been as truly invested and connected to a male protagonist as I have been with Justin. And my feelings only multiplied for these two once they finally became a twosome. As I mentioned a bit before, it was a slow and thorough build-up, one I enjoyed sitting through and reading. The fact that they each brought out new sides in each other, new unexpected, good sides, I couldn't help but love the two of them as a couple!
Although the ending was satisfying, I didn't like it being left so open, with me left so much in the dark. I mean, what's in store for this wonderful duo, both separately and together, in the future? I need to know! It's not fair that I have to wait awhile to find out! Still, I wouldn't have traded a second of the time I spent reading the novel to read another. It was that good for me. And I want more, which means I'm anticipating a highly remarkable sequel to come and can't wait to have!
"Have you ever kissed anybody?" he asked, and took a sip.
I smirked. "There aren't a whole lot of oppurtunities in the digital world. I did practice on my hand once. It didn't do anything for me."
Justin coughed on the water he was swallowing and I slapped a hand over my mouth.
"Did I just say that out loud?" I mumbled.
He was half coughing, half laughing. "Yes, you did," he managed to say.
"Delete, delete, delete," I said. . . (208)
Want to know more about AWAKEN? Then be sure to stop by the blog tomorrow to read my recent chit-chat with the author, Katie Kacvinsky!