Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Review: Awaken

Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Maddie lives in a future world where everything is done via computer. School, especially, is all done through the internet. In fact, it’s Maddie’s Dad that developed and implemented Digital School (DS for short).

Because Maddie’s Dad is in charge of DS, she was targeted in the past, by an extremist group…Maddie made some poor choices and has subsequently been under house arrest for the better part of 3 years. Because of this, Maddie keeps a low profile when online. She does manage to make a friend at an online tutoring group. His name is Justin, and it’s Justin that manages to convince “Alex” (Maddie’s Alter-ego) to meet at a tutoring group…in person.

Maddies is taken with Justin! Justin seems to be interested in Maddie as well…but Justin has some aspirations that don’t jive with her Dad. Will Maddie awaken to the possibilities?

This book grabbed me from the first page…first I wanted to understand why Maddie went online as Alex, then what she did to basically be grounded for 3 years, then what the deal was with Justin, and so on. Each mystery revealed led to another larger mystery. So much so that I couldn’t put the book down and read it in one sitting.

The other thing I deeply appreciated about the story was the ending. The whole story is completely realistic and imaginable…and with that, the ending was not tied up in a nice, neat little bow. It reached a logical conclusion and left it there.

I loved Justin’s sense of duty. He’s lived in a world of self-sacrifice his whole life and just doesn’t know how to reach out and grab a bit of life for himself…and if he did know how to do it, he wouldn’t. I also loved how Maddie awakened and blossomed to new possibilities…with Justin gently guiding her. Awaken was a great cautionary tale with just a bit of romance…a wonderful way to spend an evening.

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