Saturday, December 3, 2011

Book Review: Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

Title: Awaken
Author: Katie Kacvinsky
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publishing Date: May 2011
Length: 320 pages
Genre: YA, fantasy, dystopia, romance
Source: Netgalley

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.

Summary by Goodreads 


Kacvinsky drew a future world construct in which humans mostly exist through their technologies, personal and real life contact is scarce. It's a world that fascinates and scares me at the same time, because it isn't that absurd.  She invented technical devices like mind readers or drawing canvases on the ceiling, developed an infrastructural and a whole new cultural and social system.

AWAKEN can be divided in two halves. The first part of the novel felt too slow-paced and dragging. Maddie is our heroine and 1st person narrator, I really liked her character. She is an intelligent and very brave girl. She always thought she knew the digital and structured world she's living in, until she meets Justin.

And that's when action and love come into play. The second half of AWAKEN was great. The relationship between Maddie and Justin simply captivated me, their love story is cute.
Both Justin and Maddie need to find their places in life and finally get the chance to open up. With the help of each other, they can find their true selves and finally become the persons they always deserved to be. Both are so stubborn and I loved to see them just open up a bit.

Maddie starts writing diary entries which give further insight into her thoughts and feelings. What irritated me is that at some point she just doesn’t continue the writing, so it wouldn’t be necessary in the first place to offer the option to understand her emotional development throughout the novel.

Of course there’s also an antagonist which is the government her father belongs to. So not only the external conflict between rebels and government is stressed, but the internal familiar conflict as well.  I can’t wait to see which way the story will take in the sequel.


1) of a really special flight
2)  it makes us appreciate that there’s no delete button in real life
3) of the yummy sandwich instructor
4) it makes us question our online behaviour
5) it’s set in Corvallis, dwelling place of author Katie Kacvinsky  

3,5/5 **** AWAKEN-  A digital future scenario, with great writing and heart.

Katie is a debut author 2011 with a creative mind. I’m definitely waiting for the sequel to AWAKEN! 

* Read an excerpt of AWAKEN here

* You can find the AWAKEN playlist here.

* Visit for more information about Katie and her books.

1 comment:

  1. I loved this book. I thought the social commentary was excellent, while not being preachy. I thought it was especially relevant to today's tweens/teens. Great review!

    Karis @YA Litwit