Sunday, July 22, 2012

Review: Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

Title: Awaken #1
Author: Katie Kacvinsky
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 
Published: May 2011
Synopsis: 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 was instantly drawn to this book due to its beautiful cover that seems simple
 yet holds so much meaning, matching perfectly with the story within the cover. When I read the synopsis I knew the book would live up to this, I have a little obsession with dystopian based novels/things to do with society and what the world could become. 
I have always 'disliked' or been one to not 'get along' with technology, saying 'I should have been born in the Victorian era' and my biggest fear - like in the film IRobot (you know with Will Smith) - is technology taking over the world. In Awaken technology isn't taking over exactly, however based in the year 2060 the population is allowing technology to live their lives so they become dormant. But there are people who want to change that, who want to show people how it is to live, really live and appreciate the outside world and interaction with others. 
But this world is all Maddie has ever known, she has become content with her life and then  Justin - the selfless, mysterious guy - comes along and turns her world upside down, she realises there was something inside her that was never completely content with the life she had. Justin is the one who shows Maddie and as he 'awakens' her to the world beyond the computers and gadgets, she awakens him to emotions he hasn't allowed himself to feel because he is too busy trying to save everyone else. The story is both fast paced with action and a slow awakening to these new worlds. Leaving you wondering if you spend enough time living, has technology already got a big seat in your life? and wondering if you think about others enough and even if you think about yourself enough. 
Like any novel there are obstacles and dilemmas, Maddie is very closely linked with the designer of the technology that has spiraled into control of the population. She's left with a choice between the people she has always known and loved and the ones who want to change the world, the one she begins to fall in love with. 
I could relate to this book in so many ways from my fear of technology having a too big of a presence in our lives to feeling controlled by parents to the want to live and appreciate nature and the world. Isn't it great when a book just gets you? 
I found as I was reading there were so many quotes I wanted to remember, to live by, here are a couple of them: 

' I'm a piece of clay they have to mold in order to hold a shape.' 

"It's like looking through a microscope your whole life." he said "You miss the whole picture. Sometimes you need to get lost in order to discover anything."

'We'll never realise our potential if we always live inside the boundaries of what we fear. Teaching society to be afraid and stay tucked safely behind their locked doors is not the answer to human problems. It only conceals the problem, like a bandage. It doesn't fix it. Giving the problem open air and room to breathe, to mix with other elements, is what helps it heal.' 

"You need to content with small steps. That's all life is. Small steps that you take every day so when you look back down the road it all adds up and you know you covered some distance.'

In my Saturday Snapshot post yesterday I mentioned this book and a lot of people said in the comments they haven't heard of or read this book and if you're hesitant about reading it I hope my review has given you that little push. I came across is by accident on amazon but couldn't find it in any shops so I ordered it, maybe it isn't widely known, but if you like dystopians such as Delirium, Across the Universe, Matched, Divergent... then I recommend this book for you, in my opinion it's better than a couple of those novels I just mentioned.

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