Monday, April 2, 2012

Awaken (Awaken #1) by Katie Kacvinsky


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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So I picked this book up with pretty much no expectations; it was just there at the library and I thought, "Hmmm, this seems interesting." It looked really good, but I didn't want to get my hopes up. After reading the book, I have to admit it was really good and I'm glad I picked it up by chance.

Out of all the dystopian YA novels I've been reading lately, I can actually see this happening in reality. The book takes place in the future, 2060. In Kacvinsky's world, people have virtually no interpersonal relationship anymore. They rarely even set foot out of their homes. Why? Because they've been basically brainwashed into believing it's safer that way. I can understand where they're coming from, but I believe it's a bit too radical. They wanted to protect everyone from ridiculous crime, rape, murder, etc., rates, especially among teens. Why go out and see a movie with friends when you can watch a movie online with your friends and chat? Kids go to DS (digital school), which is basically our equilavent of online school. They no longer use paper products; everything is done on a digital screen of some kind. They don't even have trees! This made me think of the Lorax, having recently seen it :)

Anyway, enough about the plot. From page one, I was hooked. The storyline was intriguing and had me captivated. I couldn't help thinking about how easy it would be for us to evolve into this fictional world. With all the technology we have today, people spend hours and hours everyday staring at some sort of screen, and less time with eachother. The idea of this becoming our reality was slightly more terrifying than any other dystopia I've ever read mostly because it was the most realistic.

Justin is old fashioned. He despises technology. He prefers pens and paper to digital screens. He is part of a rebel society and therefore does alot of traveling. He uses this as an excuse to push Maddie away, telling her it wouldn't work out and that he doesn't deserve her.

Maddie appears to be sitting on the fence, trying to decide which way to fall off. Her father being the founder of DS puts in her the spotlight, forcing her to go along with all her father does even if she thinks its wrong. She grew up with everything digital, never really having to deal with the outside world or seeing what it had to offer. But once Justin shows her freedom, her whole world changes forever.

Maddie and Justin's relationship...it was alright I guess. I just couldn't help but wonder if she really liked him because of who he was and/or what he does, or if it was more of an instant-love type thing where she just fell for him because he was one of the first and only guys she was able to have face-to-face contact with.

Overall, I think this was an amazing book. I believe it gave some insight as to what might happen in the future when it comes to technology. It sends us the message that we should not let computers and phones take over our lives. We have to remember our friends and family, and remember that life exist beyond the digital screen. No one is their true self online. People use the internet as a way to live the life they want; to create their perfect world. But in the flesh, it's more difficult to hide who you are because you're more vulnerable and have less defenses. Don't be afraid to be who you are, because who you are is better than anyone you could make yourself up to be. This is what I learned from this story :) Cannot wait for book 2!
        

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