Saturday 4 October 2014

Book Review - Awaken

Author: Katie Kacvinsky
Series: Awaken #1
Genres: Science Fiction, Dystopian | Young Adult
Release Date: 17th April 2012
Publishers: HMH Books
No. Pages: 320
Source: Purchased
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
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 read this book a few months ago on Amanda's recommendation, and it's taken me a while to write the review. Why I hear you ask?, not because I didn't like this book, it's because I loved it. Every now and again I read a book that I ended up loving so much that part of me wants to keep it to myself, and this is what happened with this book. I thought 'I just wont review it, if people mention the book I'll tell them how much I liked it' but then it hit me, if Amanda didn't tell me and everyone else how much she loved this book and why, I would never have picked it up. I would have missed out on what was a brilliant start to the series.

I think my absolute favourite thing about this book is how uniquely it captures something that we are faced with day to day. Not enough people in the 21st century connect one to one with people, everything is done via social media websites. Instead of going out to a bar to meet people we rely on online dating and we can even order shopping to our doors. We can do pretty much anything we want to in the comfort of our own home, never really having to leave it all thanks to the internet. Of course its more convenient but we have become hooked and so concerned with what's going on in the world of Facebook, that we have forgotten to focus on our real life relationship.

Maddie lives her life through a computer. She goes to online school, online book clubs, online everything. She rarely ventures out of her house and has convinced herself that she's okay with the isolation, that she has proper friends even though she can tell people whatever she wants them to know, something that we can all be guilty of at one point or another. One day, on the request of an online friend, she takes herself to a face to face study group, where she meets the boy behind the computer, Justin. Right from the start Maddie can see that Justin is everything she's not, he's unplugged, and given the fact that her father is the creator of the virtual world she's been living behind for years, could he be after more than friendship?

On the face of things Awaken is just another dystopian book, but underneath all the layers and what could be classed as cliché and stereotype to the genre, we have something that's wonderfully new and so relatable that I dare you not to connect to it in some way. The world building  though good, wasn't perfect but Katie Kacvinsky did her best to try and make you picture a future that isn't hundreds of years away but a mere 48 and in doing so has made something that is completely plausible.

What little that I found lacking in the world building, was more than made up for with the amazing characters. In the form of the main protagonist we have Maddie, a highly intelligent young girl. She is confident, strong minded and fearless. We watch have to struggle and come to terms with what she's believed all her life, what he father has told and her own sense of right and wrong. Next we have Justin, someone who is equally confident and opinionated but can at times come across as pushy. He's lived his life outside of the box for so long that it's like he almost forgets that others have never known any different. However saying that, I loved watching these characters grow and become more at one with who they are and what they need to do.

As well as watching the characters grow into themselves, we also witness them start to open up and trust each other. Feelings start to grow and relationship may or may not be taken to no level. I'm not going to tell you if they end up with each other at the end because its something you can find out on your own, what I will say is that the way the feelings developed over time was in my eyes, perfect. They both really come out of their shell in a lovely and natural way. Too often do we have romances thrown in our faces that are so forced and thankfully that wasn't the case in this story.
All in all as you can tell, I pretty much loved this book. Apart from a few problems with the world building, the over opinionatedness of Justin and waiting on the edge of my seat for so much as a kiss, it was in my opinion such a fresh spin on the dystopian genre.


  1. I'm with you, I was blind when I first read this, but the world does suffer throughout the series, it's the only real issue I ever have with it, but generally, oh man, A POSITIVE REVIEW. The only real positive ones I've seen are my own, which sucks a bit, but YAY, so glad you enjoyed this! *dances with happiness*

    1. Really? I've read a lot of positive ones since I read the book, I think a lot more people actually enjoy the series than you think which is nothing but a good thing :P. I am too haha, I'll get around to finishing the series next year :)

  2. This is my absolute favorite series - it was bumped up to number one after I read the third book. I love your review and can't wait to see your thoughts on the next couple books, if you do end up reviewing them.

  3. You and Amanda are making me REALLY want to read this book. It's not fair. My TBR is out of control right now. It's actually making my head hurt a bit. I keep saying 'I'll get to this soon' or 'I'll get to it one day' and then never seem to be able to find the time. I need to get this TBR under control. This does sound so good though.... DAMN!!!! >.<

    1. It might take you a while to get to it, but my advice is make sure you have the others because you might like it to the point of the rest haha.


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