Monday, October 24, 2011

Book Spotlight: AWAKEN

Author: Katie Kacvinsky
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Released: May 2011
Pages: 320

I'd like to thank the author for providing me with a signed copy of this book.

Favorite Line/Passage: I followed him outside to his car parked down the block. We were both silent while we drove down the desolate streets, and I concentrated on the soft sprinkle of rain hitting the windshield. My thoughts were shooting and firing in my mind so quickly it felt like there was a war going on in my head. I watched the windshield wipers swipe the glass clean and for a moment the world was clear again, but in the next second it muddled in a blur, like eyes brimming with tears. We pulled up to the side of an apartment building. The bottom floor had three large windows and they were all showered with light. There were no signs outside to advertise what the spade was, but Justin pulled the front door open and we were greeted with a chime.

Description: 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.


My Splats: A thought-provoking glimpse into our digitally-connected world and what might happen if we allow it to go too far.

Touch is absent from most peoples' lives. No need to gather or chat with neighbors--or even leave your room. No intimacy. No need for other senses. Just fingertips tapping keys, keeping the world connected. 

Kacvinsky creates a possible (and thought-provoking) future world through the authentic voice of the main character, Maddie, and eventually her counterpart, Alex--the rebel. Initially, Maddie conforms to her world, although it's obvious that she's at quiet odds with the way things are. Then, as you can image, the rebel comes into play, giving Maddie pause and making her question. 

I really enjoyed how Kacvinsky mixed up the romantic angle, not having Maddie solely involved with the lone rebel. Instead, she's taken in by a group, who are desperately trying to remind people that living is about physical connections with people and nature. The digital age is to enhance humanity, not take it over. Teens will relate to Maddie's struggle to give herself permission to accept change, especially when that change goes against the grain of what she's been taught or lead to believe.

My only pause, while reading, was the vague descriptions of the futuristic technology. Personally, it didn't keep me from reading on. I was able to overlook those questions popping up in my mind and found more interest in the overall story and characters' growth.

I'd recommend this book to any young adult/adult interested in pondering our current world with a possible takeover by the digital age.


  1. Sounds like an intriguing premise and one overdue to be explored, I think. I seem to recall that one of the books in the Isaac Asimov Foundation series involved an evolution of the human race that left them unable to interact except through computers. But since then, I haven't seen the subject addressed. Thanks for sharing!

  2. That cover is so cool. Very 70s. As for the premise: awesome. This sounds like a good one.

  3. Great review. Okay, I had better be dead by the time our world slips into the dystopian-like tales we've been seeing in YA novels lately. Romance and intimacy has become evil in every one of them. Not the world I want to live in. :P

  4. This sounds really really neat-I've thought about what a world like this might be like and had no idea a book was written with that kind of premise! thanks so much for sharing the review!

  5. What a fascinating premise. Thanks so much for reviewing this. I've seen it around but didn't know that much about it. Good to know it's nightstand worthy!

  6. ooo, I love stories of technology gone wrong. I bet I'd like this. And four splats! Rock on~ :o) <3

  7. I have this one on my Kindle but haven't read it yet. Thanks for the review!! :-)

  8. Sounds good! And another book I hadn't heard about yet. What's up with that? You know what this means; I'm not spending enough time on the internet. He he he.

  9. Now this sounds like something I need to get my hands on. I did a blog post not long ago where I talked about how appalled I was at myself for bringing a book to a picnic and sneaking off to a remote corner of the yard to read it. And then, I was tweeting at the same party. It's amazing how sometimes the virtual world can be more appealing than the real one... when in reality there's no substitute for actual human interaction.

  10. I've heard of this and have been intrigued. Thanks for the review. It's making me want to read it.

  11. Wow...I'm hooked. It sounds a lot like the future. The loss of touching another human would be awful though.

  12. Great review. I sincerely hope this is not the future. But I think we'd need something equally cataclysmic to tear us away from our keyboards and screens!

  13. Kind of reminds me of Surrogates. Sounds great!

  14. The premise is frightfully close to the way the world is going. This sounds like a great one, thanks for the review!


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