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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.

309 pages, Hardcover

First published May 23, 2011

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About the author

Katie Kacvinsky

11 books1,093 followers
I am publishing my latest book (in 2017) under the pen name KATIE RAY. Be sure to check out my other books (First Comes Love, Second Chance, Finally Forever, Awaken, Middle Ground, and Still Point), published under my legal name, KATIE KACVINSKY. You can find out more about me and my books at my website:

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,562 reviews
Profile Image for Janina.
214 reviews527 followers
May 29, 2011
Katie Kacvinsky’s debut novel, Awaken, takes the reader to the year 2060, when every aspect of life has become digitalized. People hardly go out anymore; they have confined themselves to their homes after tragic incidents in the past and live through their computer, socializing only in online communities. Young people even go to school online. Madeline is one of them, yet different. Since a rebellion and betrayal against her father, the founder of digital school, Maddie has been kept under constant supervision. Now she has left her past behind, concentrating on schoolwork and her future. But that changes when she meets Justin - a boy who challenges her views and introduces her to a completely new and different way of life. Maddie is torn: Should she follow Justin and betray her father again for what she believes in? Or should she continue to play the role of the obedient daughter for her family’s sake?

This premise sounded extremely intriguing to me and – combined with the gorgeous cover (yeah, I know, please don't judge me) – made me look forward to reading the book. Now I’m very sorry to say that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I expected to and was actually not far from putting it away unfinished two or three times.

Positive things first, though: Kacvinsky’s writing definitely had a great flow (I’ve learned that this isn’t to be taken for granted) and there were some beautiful quotes I wrote down to remember.

At the beginning I liked Madeline, the main character, a lot, too. She is intelligent and not afraid to take matters in her own hands or take risks. I liked how she wasn’t waiting for her crush, Justin, to make the first move but actually approached him on her own. Later on, though, he became the absolute centre of her world and her moping around got on my nerves. Additionally, Maddie often only seemed to be the pawn in someone else’s plan, and was too passive to really be considered the book's heroine.

I found the idea of the world Kacvinsky takes the reader to fascinating. I can really imagine that a world like this might be our near future, but – sadly – the details and explanations were extremely fuzzy, especially on the technical level. Also, the view of the future seemed almost too optimistic for me in some ways. Not once did the situation feel threatening to me. (Just an example: All nuclear weapons have been put down, weapons with bullets are illegal and the police only use tranquilizers.) Also, some of the things that were labelled "bad" actually weren't in my opinion. Digital school, for instance: I agree that it is important that pupils have the possibility to interact personally, but to present it as a huge threat to personal freedom? Altogether, not convincing.

In the end, though, what I liked least about the novel was strongly connected with Justin, the love interest: First of all, I couldn’t really feel any chemistry between him and Maddie, or understand why she was attracted to him in the first place. And secondly, he was so preachy. Seriously, every time he and Maddie met, he only talked about the dangers of computers, about how bad it was that people lived only through those devices and how society had become too dependent on them. His ramblings actually made him unattractive to me. I only thought: Okay now, I got it, you don’t have to beat me over the head with your views, I’m not totally dumb! To make things worse, he also had this ‘I'm-not-good-enough-and-too-dangerous-for-you’ attitude – and combined with ‘You-are-too-precious-and-important-to-take-part-in-anything-dangerous’ he really annoyed me.

All in all, this book just wasn’t anything to be excited about. It focuses a lot on romance, and this romance fell flat for me because I didn’t like Justin. I also would have loved to see more development in Maddie’s relationship with her family, but that aspect was almost completely abandoned after the first half. Additionally, the world building lacked the vivid details I look for in this genre.
As there are a lot of dystopian YA books coming out at the moment, I certainly would not recommend Awaken first.

Thanks a lot to Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for giving me the opportunity to read this early version.
Profile Image for Kim.
690 reviews1,698 followers
November 30, 2010
I often wonder what life will be like in 10, 15 years from now. If I look in the past, it seems like nothing has really changed, besides the fact that I grew up. But when I look more closely, I see technology evolved in ways I didn't think were possible. 15 years ago I would have laughed if somebody would have told me people would be online, constantly. Computers, laptops, phones,... The possibilities become more and more endless, the opportunities become bigger and bigger, the future is looking so bright it hurts my eyes. Things just only get better, right?

This books is set in a world where technology is used to control people's lives, not to enrich it. We already feel slightly threatened when people ask you for your email address in a random store, so imagine what it would be like if everything you did left a trace somewhere. From when you wake up, to stores where you buy your clothes to the conversations you have with people.

Face to face interaction is nearly extinct in Maddie's world. You can do everything while sitting in front of your computer screen: going to school, walks on the beach, workouts, anything. When we meet Maddie, she's perfectly okay with the way she's living her life. The only downside is the way her father treats her. A few years ago she went through a rebellious period and because of that, her father nearly went to prison. Ever since, his leach on her has been extremely short, keeping a close eye on her every digital movement. He is the inventor of the most influential program in history called Digital School, which makes if possible for people to study at home. The amount of power he has is almost endless.

Things suddenly change when Maddie meets Justin Solvi online, who convinces her to come to a real life tutor session. He puts her world upside down while trying to convince her people shouldn't be shut off from the real world, but live in it. Everything Maddie believes in gets questioned. I liked the interaction between Maddie and Justin, but his motives for not wanting to get close to Maddie are a bit on the hollow side. He has is own parents to show how it can work, if you put some effort into it. There is no way he can keep on doing this without having somebody to be close to. I hope he realizes this soon.

I really liked this book, it has a good flow and the buildup is well written. A lot of the characters are interesting and likable. This story makes you think about the direction we are headed in and wonder if it's the good one. I can't wait to find out what happens next.
Profile Image for oliviasbooks.
774 reviews515 followers
December 18, 2010
**** includes some "light" spoilering ****
I was very excited when my request to read an ARC of Katie Kacvinsky’s debut Awaken was approved of. It is young adult dystopia, it has a gorgeous cover that stands out, it contains some kind of a boy-girl-story and it deals with a possible negative outcome of our present trend of living part of our lives connected to the web, of working as teleworkers straight from home or from far away of our employers.

My excitement deflated in stages until I had read about 130 pages. That is when I stopped reading. My friends know that I am a pretty picky reader, so my not-finishing a book is nothing to be alarmed about, if you do not share my view of the points which peeved me and which will be explained in the following.

The setting (idea and execution)
Awaken is set in a non-post-apocalyptic America about 50 years from now. I agree with the author: Not every possibility of a future necessarily has to involve a war, the end of democracy or the death of whole nations because of the changing climate, outbreaks of multiple deseases and over-population. But the rather vaguely pictured life in Ms Kacvinsky’s 2060’s strikes me as not really futuristic (I come to that in a second) and downright pinkish positive in general.

The the hometown of Maddie does not have birds living in it. But that is because trees as we know them exist only outside of cities and even there are too rare and precious to produce paper from them. (I asked myself immediately where the oxygen comes from that Maddie is inhaling.) Nobody really misses those trees, though, because – same as paper for those who like to read the old fashioned way – back- and frontyard trees in all sizes are made out of plastic. It is not explained where the future Americans miraculously found that huge reservoir of oil, though, although it is generally expected now that by 2060 earth should be run out of the estimated rest. The only hint until page 130 concerning the energy question is that Maddie’s parents’ house’s roof is decked with solar panels, which wouldn’t really suffice, since the portrayed society seems to need a lot of energy.

People do not own their private vehicles, but use different means of public transport. Apart from wondering „What is wrong with bikes?“ I thought „How wonderful!". Apparently that is not the message which was meant be conveyed, since the heroine complains about how very dangerous the streets have become for kids since the increase of train and tram use (highly illogical - especially with so many people not leaving their houses at all) and – and this annoyed me very much – the hero, who is the one to fight the system and to remind the heroine of vital aspects missing in her digitalized life, owns a sports car (a model already known today which runs on gasoline) and displays it as a symbol of freedom and rebellion against the wrong turns society had taken. The heroine almost instantly feels alive after fastening her seat belt.

On to the futuristic or non-futuristic (out)look: We speak of a society five decades from now. Look back and recollect how much has changed during the past decades, Ms Kacvinsky. People in Awaken carry pretty normal looking mobile phones they have to type into, they have computers at home which they use for school and work and recreation. School and the internet seem to be non-virtual - kind of community-based where you do not see each other, but connect via the written word. TV has become a little more interactive; there are programs like virtual mountain climbing and dancing with virtual partners, machines that read and transfer your thoughts. And people tend to carry around e-book readers called bookbags and "flipscreens", which are basically today’s iPads in shoulder-bags (like this, maybe: http://www.modulrcase.com/store/shoul...). Apart from changing the school system from real classroom lessons to net-based classrooms, which would take up administrative time, Awaken could happen tomorrow or even today as far as technology is concerned, which disappointed me. If somebody invests her imagination to transport me forward in time, I want to notice the difference.

As to the book's warning to us that we shouldn’t give up real contacts and real sports and real touch and real experience in favour of shifting it all to our online-existence, I believe that the concern is partly valid, but partly unnecessary: In Awaken people eat healthy, pre-prepared food instead of frequenting restaurants or cooking themselves. They have stopped going out to meet their friends for a coffee. I think that people love to eat and eat in company too much to forget what arouses their taste buds (Look at all the cook books and cooking shows). People fly across the globe to handle a deal, because they know how important a face-to-face communication really is. Besides, I am sure the economy would collaps if people didn’t have friends and neighbors to show off their newly acquired gadgets and clothes to.

The characters (and the story)
At the beginning of the book I liked Maddie pretty much: An intelligent, soccer-playing girl who has to stay home most of the time because of her controll-freak father, who follows her every step (even online) and even is the founder of the compulsory Digital School system, which in turn is responsible for Maddie’s isolated life. Good for Maddie, that she still has her mother on her side, who has to be essentially a good person, because she owns a shelf full of old-time paperbacks. That is what I assumed.
Later on I could understand the father a little – despisable as he is in his self-proclaimed glory. For Maddie turned out to be a pretty unreasonable and unreliable heroine. Her case is a special one. Not every kid is as closely monitored as she is. When she was 14 she broke the law,just because she felt a little rebellious. Now she is on probation until graduation, which in my book beats juvenile detention every day. Maddie sees that differently. She wants her father to instantly forgive her and to trust her not to do something as stupid again. But on the other hand indignant Maggie leaves a charity event and does not return as early as she had promised her mother, and she goes off with Justin on one of his rebellious law-breaking sprees without insisting on an explanation of what she got herself into. She just feels alive and basks in her sickly obsession of good-looking, charismatic Justin, who she doesn’t really know much about.

B.t.w., Justin. I couldn't stand Justin. At all. Justin doesn’t deserve to be a hero in my eyes. It becomes obvious pretty early, that Justin singled Maddie out for reasons serving "the common good", namely his terroristic cause. He gets nervous whe she touches him, He tells Maddie at their first date that he won’t be much in town and wants to introduce her to his friends who will contact (and influence) her in the meantime. He and his friend marvel about how much of his precious time Justin sets aside on Maddie. Usually, whe he "trains" someone, the meetings do not get that personal:

"I can guarantee he’s singled you out for a reason. He doesn’t waste his time on people. I know that much about him. His time’s way too valuable. […] Justin never pays too much attention to one person. It’s like people all blend into him."

Well, hurray, Maddie. Here's your designated love interest. Justin’s behavior reminded me strongly of recruiters of religious sects and of pimps who invest a certain amount of money and charm and intimacy into a new member of their congregation or "staff". And I felt the bile rising in my throught when Justin took along the unsuspecting Maddie as his criminal sidekick demanding her to do as he said and when he said, because she trusted him, didn’t she? When she nodded helplessly I wanted to scream: "How can you trust someone who risked you life by racing his car on the train tracks, girl?" Instead I turned off my e-reader – which is not worse for the eyes than a printed book, Ms Kacvinsky – and stopped reading.

Another person that annoyed me considerably was Maddie’s mom. She embraces all things old-fashioned like hand-writing, reading paperbacks and talking face-to-face, but she lives a weak life in her husband's shadow, reminding her daughter to comply to his wishes and avoiding confrontation. She points out posibilities without even considering the notion to act upon them. If the future will as bright as Awaken depicts it, I wish women like Maddie’s mom will have died out by then.

This review has gotten much longer than I planned it to be. But I have to add something concerning the writing. The writing is good. Not exceptionally so, but enjoyable. So if you are unfazed by the aspects that bugged me, please buy and read the book. There are definitely worse books around.

Thank you for letting me read and review Awaken, Houghton Mifflin. I am very grateful and I have not lost my faith in your ability to spot good books. Your program is predominantly awsome.
Profile Image for Laura Kreitzer.
Author 15 books673 followers
July 18, 2014
The first thing that attracted me to Awaken was the cover—as it is for me with most books. The more I stare at this cover, the more I understand what it represents. You can’t jar nature; you can’t put plants or animals in a box and expect them to live. Really, that’s not living at all, now is it? But that’s exactly what’s happening in Awaken. Maddie, the lead character, is used to being inside, going to school via the internet, holing away and being someone she’s not online. She’s an avatar. A picture. Anything she wants to be—and everything she’s not. She yearns for something different and attempts to achieve it when she betrays her family at a young age. Now she’s restricted and left to live in her technological world, play her technological games, and communicate through—you guessed it—technology. Awaken, to me, represents what our world will become when people start to fear leaving their houses and decide to stay indoors. In this remarkable novel we might actually see our own lives jump off the pages. Is this what we’re becoming? To not truly know what it is to feel someone else, to let someone hold you, or for you to hold another? It’s almost scary.

Let me explain Awaken to you quickly, because I’m pretty sure all of my blog readers will be interested in this. Since I’m a full time author, I find the majority of my time glued to the computer for one reason or the other. This book actually made me feel incredibly guilty that I’m not living my life outside of it. It’s not completely true, but as Justin, the male lead character who convinces Maddie it’s okay to go outside her house and see other people, talk to them face to face, touch them, be with them, I feel that I too must spend more time in “reality.” Maddie’s father is a powerful man. Famous, beloved, the creator of Digital School. So imagine how he feels when he finds that his daughter is seeking a connection outside of his carefully constructed online world? He eventually becomes fed up with his daughter who’s spending too much time with “that boy Justin” who teaches her the opposite of how he lives his whole life. So, as any clueless father, he sends her away. Fortunately, Justin intercepts her and now Maddie must go “off the grid.” No technology. No email. No phone. No traveling. But then she soon learns that she didn’t need any of that now that she’s been awakened. Or maybe it’s just Justin’s soft lips?

Oh yes. On top of an intense storyline, we have a romance to remember. Justin and Maddie’s relationship is slow going—only because they are both so caught up in their own world they miss the point of what Justin—and soon Maddie’s—preaching is all about: connecting. But when both of them (mainly Justin) finally gives in, I swear I swooned, almost falling off the couch and gripping my Nook like it was really Justin. It was freakin’ . . . fantastical. Magical. Stunning. Brilliant. I saw stars, fireworks, rainbows exploding from my Nook. I don’t know how Katie did it, but she had me. Almost as if she super-glued my eyeballs to the screen.

Katie is a very talented and gifted author. Her way with words, thoughts, and dialog all make this book much more than a twisted tale of what the future might hold. She’s spun this world as if weaving a golden plot—intricately, and masterfully, crafting this story with such dazzling radiance I thought sparks would shoot from my body when I got excited! Awaken is shiny in its simplistic nature—though each word seems to be deliberately placed, like setting up your chess pieces before you call out “check mate.” Her characters, Maddie and Justin, pop off the pages. Or maybe it was I who had been sucked into the book? Either way, I couldn’t stop reading once I started. I devoured this book and was actually disappointed to find out the release date is in May and it’s only December. Now I’ll only have to wait that much longer to find out what happens next.
Profile Image for Reynje.
272 reviews962 followers
September 20, 2011
Conceptually, I liked this book. The subject matter is topical, and I feel that the arguments presented are valid and worth discussion. The issues Kacvinsky conflates to build her future world will resonate with anyone who has even half a finger on the current technological pulse, or an interest in social anthropology in general.

In execution, however, this novel left me with fairly lukewarm feelings.

Fast forward to 2060, when escalating violence and rapid advancements in technology have caused the lives of US citizens to invert. Education and social interaction take place largely online. Private transport is uncommon. Writing longhand and paper books are practically obsolete (*gasp!*) And almost everybody is “plugged in”, armed to the teeth with phones, “flipscreens”, even “MindReaders”. There’s no longer just “an app for that”, there’s a device that will do it for you.

We meet Maddie, daughter of the founder of Digital School, suffering the consequences of a past rebellion and living her life mostly within the confines of her home. Enter Justin, a mysterious online study group contact, who extends the unusual invitation to meet in person, and offers Maddie a glimpse of another kind of life.

This is not a subtle book. You do not have to read between the lines, because the lines essentially leap off the page and hit you in the face. Whether through the internal musings of Maddie herself, or via Justin’s eloquent speeches – he occasionally sounds more like a travelling sage than a year old guy – the evils of technology gone too far are expounded loud and clear. I’d go so far as to say there isn’t really subtext here. Just text. To wit: as life becomes increasingly tied to technology and thus devoid of physical and emotional connection, it tears away at the foundation of what it is be human, and the intrinsic value of relationships.

I don’t disagree with many of the sentiments that the characters / the story express. And Kacvinsky’s writing is clear with some nice, expressive turns and genuinely profound lines. Maddie is not an entirely unsympathetic protagonist and it’s pleasing to see that she takes some of her choices into her own hands. So perhaps I should simply chalk this one up to not being to my particular taste.

While my interest was piqued by the beginning, I felt that the mid section of the narrative was somewhat flaccid. It paints an accurate picture of the boredom of Maddie’s restricted, virtual life – but my attention waned considerably. The pacing increases throughout the latter chapters, but I felt here that the story relied heavily on the reader’s investment in the Maddie/Justin will they/won’t they relationship to pull them through the plot, as opposed to Maddie’s actual predicament. I’ll admit that for me, the chemistry between the characters fell flat. There are "swoony" moments between them – but the constant expository, didactic dialogue was a little frustrating.

In terms of the climax, it was well-paced, but relied heavily on convenient twists and pulled together rather too neatly for me to completely buy into. And while the ending leaves threads loose to be picked up in the sequel, I can’t help but feel that maybe it would be a stronger book if it stood alone. The hopeful, yet slightly melancholic note of the final pages might have reinforced the impact of the story, lingered more, had I not know that they would be picked back up and extended later. I may be alone in this opinion – I’m sure that there are plenty of readers who are eager to get reacquainted with these characters and follow their story.

Awaken is well-written and poses some interesting, albeit very blunt, questions. I can see that the speculative nature of the story and the character’s relationships will be appealing to some – however the style in which the themes were delivered made this not really my kind of book.
Profile Image for Jessica.
723 reviews611 followers
December 7, 2010
Awaken is set in 2060, a future not too far away. Interpersonal relationships have been reduced to a minimum due to the fact that almost everything can be done online. Kids attend digital school, so they don’t have to leave the house for that anymore, people don’t meet their friends the old-fashioned way by going out, they only meet up virtually in chat rooms. People’s understanding of going to the movies together is actually only watching a movie on their PCs while simultaneously chatting with their friends. Cars are rarely to be seen because everybody’s using public transportation and ordinary paper isn’t used anymore due to the fact that there are almost no trees left. This is only a partial description of the worldbuilding and opinions on the realism of this scenario may vary but for me the basic idea is definitely probable.

Just think about how much time you spend each day in front of your computer. In my case it’s 8-10 hours at work plus at least 2 or 3 hours at home, meaning I spend the majority of my waking hours glued to my screen. Everybody knows about online games like World of Warcraft (it is an online game, right?) or phenomena’s like Second Life. How many people create fake identities on the internet in order to find approval which they can’t seem to find in real life? Just look at all the information that can be found on the internet about all of us. I think it’s scary with which carelessness some people reveal information about their private lives on platforms like Facebook for example. The internet doesn’t forget information. Once uploaded it’s extremely hard to remove it again.

In the present case the scenario might be a bit overdrawn in places and one can argue about the probability of some aspects of the worldbuilding but as I already said, the basic idea is realistic. As you can see, this book really got me thinking and that’s what I liked about it.

Enough about the worldbuilding. I enjoyed reading this very much, I got quickly hooked, I thought the plot was gripping and I liked all the characters. Sure, Justin is a little heavy on the preaching part (COMPUTERS ARE EVIL!) and his attitude towards relationships was a little annoying, what with him thinking he doesn’t deserve Maddie’s love, but to be honest, I wasn’t bothered much by this. I guess I sound like a broken record by now but I have to say it again: I just love when the relationship develops slowly. I enjoy pining away for the love interest together with the heroine.

I was torn between a 4 and a 5 stars rating but settled for 5 stars eventually because Awaken meets all of my personal criteria in order to qualify as a 5 star read.

Do I want to re-read this sometime? --> Yes.
Did I re-read single passages while reading because I thought they were so good? --> Yes.
Did the romance make me swoon and root for the heroine and the love interest to get together? --> Yes.
Didn’t I want to stop reading or did I try to read slowly in order to savor the story? --> Yes.
Did I think about the book even when I was not reading (at work for example)? --> Yes.
Did I think about the story even after I had finished the book? --> Yes.

The above are probably not all of my criteria but it was enough for me to rate this 5 stars.

Thanks to netGalley and Houghton Mifflin for the opportunity to enjoy Awaken already now.
Profile Image for Kristi.
1,188 reviews2,892 followers
June 3, 2011
Unique and captivating, Awaken is sure to seize your attention and send your mind reeling!

I wasn't sure what to expect after reading the summary, Awakened sounded interesting enough, but it wasn't something I was dying to read. Until I started reading it.... and then I was dying to know what was going to happen. This book was not at all what I was anticipating.

I really connected with the idea of the novel.... the whole "digital life" I could totally see that happening. Some of the reasons that it does happen in the novel, are eerily realistic and incredible sad. I also really empathized with the characters, with Maddie and Justin especially. I admired them both so much. I truly hope that I get to read more of their story.

And there was a little bit of a love story between Maddie and Justin and it was the frustrating kind of love, where you just want to yell at the characters... so much tension... I mean I did yell at Justin... would you kiss the girl already! But I loved that. I watched these two characters from this different world, work through these obstacles and in the process come to care very deeply for each other. That's my kind of love story.

Katie does a great job keeping your attention throughout the entire novel, I can't wait to read more of her stories.

Read this one people! You won't regret it!
Profile Image for Krystle.
893 reviews337 followers
May 23, 2011
Okay, so I’m not sure if I can give this a very accurate review because I think my ARC had the ending cut out (on accident) or maybe that’s really the ending. Anyway, on to the review.

I really wanted to read this book because it had a fabulous premise. I mean, how can you not salivate over the idea of technology/digital world overtaking our lives? It is certainly an issue in our society today, so I like how this story attempted to pose the ‘what if’ scenario on us. But despite my expectations, this book failed to live up to them.

One of the main reasons why I couldn’t really get behind any of the messages behind this book was because neither of the sides seemed viable or realistic. Both sides had a very “all or nothing” kind of gung ho motto about them. The non-digital side was practically bashed into my brain and they were so radical about that they felt more like an unyielding fanatical cult that refused to see any perspectives from the other side. The digital side had the same aggressive atmosphere as well.

Why is this being marketed as a dystopian novel? It isn’t much of that to be honest. It’s simply a poor cover for a very slight sci-fi influence. Obviously if a novel is going to place in the future (2060), technology is going to be quite a bit different than it is now, but it was a very poorly developed society. I’m quite sure technology by then would have evolved past fancy digital screens and elaborate gadgets that really don’t do anything spectacular than change form. Look at how fast technology moves in our society now! In what was it? Fifteen years? We have the ultimate in blinged out cell phones (Japan I’m talking to you. Please unlock your phones so I can use them. Thank you.) and crazy computers. I’m sure this world of Awaken can do a lot better.

If the whole struggle between the opposing sides had been developed a lot more, than I would have given this a lot better grade but halfway through the book, everything set up in the premise was tossed out the window for a very lackluster romance. Maddie falls head over heels for Justin so fast, it’s enough to make you get whiplash of epic proportions. I also really hate it when a girl makes their whole life revolve around a guy. Come on! And she gets into some uber mopey omg he’s not with me 24/7 sulkiness which is really annoying. Then she develops some sort of fatalistic attitude concerning him, like I can’t live without him and if I do, I’ll die for him! WTH?! No. Just no. Woman, get a hold of yourself!

And I know how much people hate this comparison but it really did feel like Twilight. In the sense that their whole relationship revolves around the “I love you, but I’m BAD for you!” sort of back and forth. Ugh! I am not joking with this, man. And then he’s doing the whole “YOU DESERVE SOMEONE BETTAH! I AM TOO FOR MY CAUSE TO CARE ABOUT YOU!” Key words here! Get over him, asap! He’s not that into you! If I had to read a faux seduction sexy times one more time, ima tell that boy to get some real balls, dammit!

Maddie, you are such an indecisive, naïve, stupid, and ridiculous main character. I cannot understand your motives besides the OMG, HOT BOY PAYS ATTENTION TO ME need. Can you please shut up? And let’s not go over the how she’s the awkward, outcast girl but SOMEHOW is a really uber blazing hot chick. Ha ha ha.

I am not pleased.
Profile Image for Morgan F.
512 reviews465 followers
December 4, 2010
17 yr old Maddie lives in the year 2060, where everything, from dating, schooling, and going to the movies, is done online. Ever since her disastrous rebellion two years before nearly caused her and her father to go to jail, Maddie has lived compliantly with this life, never complaining or yearning for actual physical contact. One day Maddie meets a boy online in school chatroom, and he invites her to actual go to a real tutor session. Maddie agrees and that is how Justin enters her life. Justin is wild and unpredictable, being here for one minute and leaving the next. He hates everything about society nowadays, and embraces actual social interactions. Justin shows Maddie that the best things in life aren't behind the computer screen. Maddie can feel herself falling in love with Justin, even though her father, the founder of Digital School, forbids it. Maddie is torn between doing what is right for her family, and doing what might be right for the world.

This was a good piece of YA dystopian fiction. The world-building was excellent, probably because it is not too hard to imagine a world like Maddie's, seeing as society seems to be heading there anyways. I know I am lazy. I know I depend too much on my cell phone and my laptop. I know that's bad for me. But unfortunately, one of things I disliked about this book is it preachiness. I felt I was getting beamed on the head with my Mac. COMPUTERS BAD. PHYSICAL EXPERIENCES GOOD. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I get it. At least I've seen fire and live music and I have real trees unlike Maddie SO THERE. It's kind of ironic though, because I was reading this book online.....

Maddie was a good narrator. She actually had some hutzpah and wasn't some passive, dependent troll. She actually proved she was intelligent instead of just reading Wuthering Heights for the four billionth time, like that means anything. I liked Maddie. Justin.....eh. Yeah, he was hot, I guess, but most of the preachiness came from him. If he goes on a rant one more time....I also didn't like that he had "I will be aloof to the woman I love because I am not good enough for her" syndrome. Dude, come one. Have some respect. I don't like it when protag love interests think that they know what is better for the protagonist more than the protagonist does.

I really liked the first half of the book, but something threw me off about the second half. It's like someone poured cold water on the book and yelled WAAAIIITTT. I think the sexual tension between Maddie and Justin was drawn out too long. Every time they walked away kiss-less from each other, I let out a frustrated sigh. The second half of the book was mostly on Justin/Maddie romance, and that was Maddie pining for Justin most of the time. The final action scene also felt really contrived.

And guess what! There was a character named Clare that I didn't hate! I'm improving!

Overall, a decent YA dystopian fiction. I wanna know what happens next realz bad.

Profile Image for NAT.orious reads ☾.
849 reviews340 followers
August 26, 2022
This series is for … visionaries

Looking back at how this series overall made me feel, I’m not sure recommending it is what’s in my heart right now. The dangers of a completely digitalised life have been explored by countless authors, and they have all made us realise that digitalisation has perks and drawbacks – and it is the drawbacks, especially that stick to me when I think about how I imagine life to be in the future. I love Katie’s idea and the world she created, it is vivid and exciting.

Despite what people my age and older say – the awareness among young people is there. And in the end, it will always be people who care and are passionate that are going to bring about change – not grumpy boomers and Gen Z folks that act like everybody younger than them is a soft but ignorant snowflake while they lean back and are in fact the ones doing harm.

To allow a bit of foreshadowing Awaken is a great kick-off and gets the adrenaline going that can never be truly honoured because the series will take many unrealistic turns. What is exciting, in the beginning, will eventually be replaced with irritation and confusion.

What’s happening.
‘Don't worry about hurting me, if that's what you're afraid of. I want to get hurt. At least I´ll feel something for a change.’

spoiler alert : True to these words, Maddie’s unwavering courage will never waver.
4 STARS. Would stay up beyond my typical hours to finish it. I found some minor details I didn't like, agree with or lacked in some kind but overall, this was enjoyable and extraordinary.
Profile Image for Sandy.
291 reviews187 followers
January 7, 2011
The premise for Katie Kacvinsky's Awaken is very timely with today's technology-minded culture: Imagine a world in the future so technology-obsessed and fearful that people no longer leave their homes. How would people interact? How would they learn, live, and love? I admit that I love dystopian romance, and Awaken has some beautiful passages and quotes that I wanted to immediately write down. However, the world in Awaken lacked consistency in its design, which overshadowed other positive aspects.

The whole premise of Awaken is that the world got so bad, so violent that a safe life became a digital life led mostly from the isolated comfort of your home. This premise has so much promise--I love it. However, the novel begins with Maddie riding a train to play real soccer with a friend. If the world has become such a scary place, why does Maddie later also ride a public train by herself at night (something I won't do even in 2011)? The novel says the world is so awful that everyone lives a digital life and shuns face-to-face interaction, but then it contradicts itself throughout with parties, benefits, and public appearances. It felt very incongruous at times.

And what supposedly lead to the downfall of society? Online school. Seriously? School violence became so bad that Digital School became mandatory, and somehow that lead to the destruction of personal interaction. I just was not buying that this is how we got there. The protestors (or terrorists) all want to bring down Digital School, but I failed to make the connection of how Digital School is responsible for the supposed woes of the world. Yes, everyone seems a little too obsessed with their computer, but is free online school really responsible for all of this? Will bombing Digital School really make it all better?

And then there are the main characters, one of whom I like (Maddie) and the other, not so much (Justin). I liked seeing Maddie awaken to a "real" life again. She was intelligent and caring. I wished the author had explored more about Maddie being a super hacker to give her a little more depth, but overall, she was likeable and didn't automatically cave to the demands of the "good guys."

Justin, on the other hand, has emotionally barricaded himself, which I guess is supposed to be a necessary part of the love story to explain why he and Maddie can't be together. However, writing a character to be emotionally distanced does just that--not only is he distant from Maddie most of the time, he's distant from the readers, too. How can I make a connection and care about a character who's so detached and aloof? He keeps telling Maddie to trust him, but it's obvious he's using her. He claims he was waiting to tell her about his ulterior motives until she trusted him, but why should she trust him? It's obvious from the first few chapters why he's interested in her, and it's to further his cause (that felt very terroristic at times). His recruiting efforts verged on creepy at times.

However, there were some moments of really beautiful writing in Awaken. I could pull out a dozen quotes from Awaken that I genuinely found moving. The pacing was good and I definitely kept reading past midnight. I especially appreciated the slow build of the romance.

The premise of Awaken is full of promise and should be explored, but the lack of consistency in this dystopian world drew me out of the story too many times. However, it was a well-paced novel with some thoughtful quotes, and I loved that it made me think about where our technology-obsessed world may be heading. (After a few of Justin's preachy speeches, I felt bad that I was reading this book on my iPad!)
Profile Image for Sarah.
433 reviews44 followers
February 17, 2022
Ich bin so dankbar, durch Bookstagram auf dieses Buch aufmerksam geworden zu sein! Es war eine absolut kurzweilige Geschichte und sie gehört jetzt zu einer meiner Liebsten dystopischen Bücher! Durch das aktuelle Thema (Internet/ digitale Welt/ Nutzung usw.) besteht einfach auch ein sehr großer Bezug zum echten Leben, und ich konnte alle Handlungen sehr gut nachvollziehen. Ich freue mich wirklich sehr auf die anderen beiden Teile! Der Schreibstil war super, der Liebes-Anteil auch, daher ist es das perfekte Gesamtpaket für alle, die Dystopien auch so lieben, wie ich!
Profile Image for Mari.
301 reviews27 followers
November 12, 2010
The year is 2060 and everything is digital. People do everything - hang out with friends, study, work, shop, even go on dates - on the computer. Online, everything is safe, easy and controllable. Seventeen year old Maddie has grown used to this life but she often feels something is missing. Then she meets Justin who prefers face-to-face interaction and she starts to question if this "digital" life is as perfect as some people make it to be.

I liked the premise of this novel. In these modern times, it's not too hard to imagine a scenario where everything is done over the computer. I for one, spend a huge chunk of my day in front of a computer. It was very disconcerting reading awaken because it hit too close to home. It makes you realize that this could probably well be what would happen in the not-so-distant future.

The protag, Maddie, was clearly torn between two worlds. I liked that she was brave and open to discovering new things. Justin, on the other hand, I couldn't quite relate to at first. I felt he was too stiff and self-righteous but I understood his outlook as the story progressed. I thought their love-tug-o'-war was interesting although it got repetitive at times.

One thing I didn't like about this book is that there were parts that are too preachy. For example, the whole "digital" vs. "unplugged" dilemma is already a huge issue and when you add environmental propaganda on top, it starts to feel like one big sermon. It's not that I don't appreciate the message, it's just that in the story's context, it feels like overkill.

That being said, what I loved most is that the characters are not one-sided - those supporting the digital life and those against it. It's not all black and white, good vs. evil. You are given the history of why everything went "digitalized", you understand why it was a necessity given the circumstances and yet you also know that those opposing it have a very strong point of contention. Emphasis was made on balance and I'm dying to know how everything will play out.

Very thought-provoking!

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Heidi McLaughlin.
Author 102 books6,977 followers
May 19, 2011
Believe me when I tell you, I read a lot of books. It isn't often that I get a book that makes me take a step back and say ... huh? Author Katie Kacvinsky, does just that with AWAKEN.

Set in the year 2060, AWAKEN follows Maddie Freeman, your average teen. She goes to school, out on dates, enjoys the outdoors and loves meeting her friends for coffee. The only thing is she does this from the comfort of her own home. In fact, Maddie never has to leave the house if she doesn't want to. Thanks in part to her father who created Digital School.

One word can sum up Maddie's life...digital. Everyone in Maddie's life is "connected". People don't leave home without their phone, flipscreen and mindreader. For Maddie, this is normal. That is, until she meets Justin.

Justin is old fashioned for the year 2060. Justin prefers pen and paper to a flipscreen. He wants a face-to-face conversation, no hiding behind a computer. Justin is rogue, he doesn't conform to the standards set by the government and he's determined to change Maddie.

AWAKEN is the most realistic dystopian novel I've read - it is sad to think this is the way we are heading. Everyone is glued to their phones, instant messaging and email. One thing that really caught my attention: Kacvinsky focused on books. Books no longer exist as everything is digital and to think we are already there with all the e-readers.

I encourage everyone to order AWAKEN and picture yourself in this book. Then ask yourself, are you Maddie or Justin?
Profile Image for Kwancheche:).
12 reviews85 followers
August 12, 2014
"Let's just say there's only so much of life that can be taught by pushing a bunch of buttons and looking at a screen."

"But technology can be like a drug if you don't keep it in check. After a while it gets in your system and you're addicted. You get to a point where you can't live without it and that's when the drug controls you."

Quotes of the book
Quotes are sentences that inspires you which gives you the urge to imprint them in your mind. Frankly, I've never felt that kind of urge, maybe it's because I haven't read the right quote. Shockingly, when I was reading Awaken, I bookmarked a lot of pages with my brain which eventually I couldn't keep up with the explosive memory. If I'm given a highlighter, Awaken will literally turn yellow in my hands. Every sentence in the book I feel like is a fragile bubble that I need to cherish forever. Thank you Ms Kacvinsky, you've given me more than just a book there, it's a gift, the best gift a human can possibly received.

This is our future... You don't ever need to change from your pjs to graduate from high school. Everything you are able to list can be done by your computer e.g. going to school, doing sports, having dates, attending concerts, visiting other countries, go clubbing etc. One touch of your finger or one command from your mouth can help you to live your life.

Maddie is the famous heiress of the founder of this life, his dad is the principal of digital school, basically the "president" of the country. Living under commands and orders, being planted with tracking devices is the life of Maddie, to keep Maddie from unleashing her rebellious side. Maddie's rebellious side had almost destroyed her family 2 years ago: holding a revolt against her own father's life-of-work. To amend the hole in her family, the only thing she can do is to give up the only thing that defines us, freedom , the freedom to have judgement, the freedom to be herself, the freedom to enjoy life, it's a word that Maddie is not able to afford, it's a word that Maddie doesn't Didn'tdare to let her mind wander to.
Until she meets Justin.

Justin is the infamous heir of the founder of anti-this-life, his parents are the revolts in the society, refusing to let computers to control people's mind and cutting them off from the society. Travelling to different countries on a 24-hour basis to hold revolts, persuading people to join his side, rescuing kids that are being sent to detention centre for not taking digital school even if life-risking is necessary, never take a day off in 10 years is the life of Justin. To fight for what he wants, he has to give up everything he has, his life, his emotions, his time, his love. Myself is a word that never crosses Justin's mind, all he ever cares is his job to save more people from being digital's slave. People count on him, responsibilities and burdens are placed on him without words. Justin will risk everything to follow the footsteps of his parents.

In order for Justin to reach his goal, he needs to keep contact with the mysterious santa claus 2 years ago, who handed him the confidential information which successfully led Justin to hold an influential revolt. But this mysterious santa claus disappeared right after the revolt, like vanished forever. After 2 years of tracking, there he finds, Maddie, the heiress of his enemy is his hero. Before persuading Maddie to join his side, he has discovered Maddie is no longer the same girl with the burning fire in her heart 2 years ago, she has straightened out, she has been brain-washed, but it's a challenge that Justin is willing to take. Because behind these camouflage, the girl on fire is still burning brightly there, and it's Justin's job to offer her the world.

FIghting against digital world, learn to be human again, learn to live and learn to feel is what the book about. These are knowledge that every single human being needs to acquire.

Most of the teenagers nowadays locked themselves up in their rooms and flirt with their smartphones and laptops. Experiencing life with a few pushes of buttons; glance the world with a few mis-clicks of google news; communicate with friends with a bunch of messages; laugh out loud with caps lock HAHAHAHHAHHAA. Is that what life is? Is that what human are made for? Is that what the world has offered?
We hide ourselves to cut off the world from us, we don't socialize , we don't communicate , we don't see , we don't live .
Just walk on the street and see it yourself, everyone is busy with their heads down, everyone is too absorbed in their digital bubble to notice anything around.

Have you ever count how many streetlights are there when you walk back home?
Have you ever greet and smile at a random stranger just because you feel like it?
Have you ever notice the name tag of the staff when you're waiting for your coffee at Starbucks?

None of these thoughts have ever existed in your mind, because you never chin up and look around you.
Life is too short to be wasted on a digital world that doesn't even exists.
Go out and make new friends!
Go explore the world and stop being a slave!
Go and be surrounded by people!
Go out and feel the sun and joy!
Go out and test your limits!
Go out and dance til dawn!

I am not proud of myself. Just like every other teen, I was a digital slave, I used to gladly sacrifice my time for Pet Society or Club Penguin. I was addicted to computer when I first touched it, I was high! I felt success, happiness, comfort, and mostly NUMB. It was my escape from the real world, I didn't want to face my complicated life, my life was too messed up, which can be concluded into one word: puberty. I chose to escape, I chose to hide myself and cut off from the world... before I got rescued.
I am grateful that I was rescued. I realised I couldn't live such life, I need to use my life to make the most of it. That's when I awake.
Choosing to feel numb and escape from problems is always the easy way, you don't need to fight, you just need to convince yourself not to care. It is easy, fast, convenient, but that's not right. You can do better! You can fight! Don't back down! Choose the challenging path! Not the easy one!

From then on, I cut myself off from internet, I get up with my legs and push myself out of my room and get out to live.

But the sun rises and reality kicks in, it's not that easy, drugs always find a way to get back to you...
A few months ago, I turned back into the girl who cares about how many FB friends I have, how many likes I have on my FB dp, how many likes I have on my ig, how many likes I lost in the competition with other pretty girls. I lived my life again in this digital world. I was consumed, exploited by this digital world. My mind was clear, I knew I couldn't do this, but my body didn't follow. I became that pathetic girl.

Now, my friend, I am on my roller coaster that is going up after the sprint down i just had. I don't use smart phones, I notice random little things around me when I walk and this is the only thing that I'm proud of myself. Who knows when I'm going to fall again? But I know, if my mind and will is clear and strong, then I'm not afraid of falling. Falling is a part of life, as long as you know the way to get back up and have hope, then mistakes and fears are only hallucinations.

My friend, selfishly, I want to keep Awaken all to myself, but I know, this book is the best gift I can share with you, that's why, if I have a chance to choose a book for the world to read, Awaken will do it.

Awaken has given me my life back.
My deepest gratitude is given to Ms Kacvinsky.

Katie Kacvinsky
Awaken (Awaken, #1) by Katie Kacvinsky

Profile Image for Jenny.
314 reviews6 followers
November 23, 2017
Die Geschichte,rund um Maddie,spielt im Jahre 2060.
Das Leben hat sich insofern verändert,dass es sich fast ausschließlich in einer virtuellen Realität abspielt.
So trifft man sich z.B. nicht mehr in der Stadt mit seinen Freunden um einen Kaffee zu trinken,sondern schafft sich von zu Hause ein virtuelles Kaffee in dem man sich dann mit seinen Onlinekontakten treffen kann.
Generell verlässt man fast gar nicht mehr das Haus.
Auslöser für diese drastische Veränderung ist dabei nicht nur die technische Weiterentwicklung,die dies erst möglich gemacht hat,sondern vor allem auch die Angst der Menschen,Opfer eines Terroranschlags zu werden,wie es Jahre zuvor geschehen ist,als man noch normal die Schule besuchte etc.

Maddie ist die Tochter des Leiters der Digital School,die für alle Kinder zur Pflicht geworden ist,nachdem die normalen Schulen zu unsicher geworden sind.
Jedoch gefällt Maddie dieses online-Leben nicht wirklich gut und so beginnt die Rebellion.

Ich habe dieses Buch als Hörbuch gehört,was ziemlich angenehm war.
Da von einem relativ leichten Wortschatz Gebrauch gemacht wird und es auch sonst keine wirklich harte Kost ist,war es auch kein Problem mal ein paar Minuten nicht so genau hinzuhören.

Was mich an dem Buch am meisten gestört hat war die Tatsache,dass ich den Eindruck hatte,dass die Rebellion immer weiter in den Hintergrund gerückt ist und stattdessen der Fokus eher auf der Liebesgeschichte zwischen Maddie und Justin lag.
Das schlägt sich dann leider auch auf die Bewertung nieder,obwohl ich die grundsätzliche Thematik richtig spannend fand,da ich es auch nicht so abwegig finde,dass wir uns in eine solche Richtung des Onlinelebens entwickeln könnten.
Profile Image for Tamara.
162 reviews6 followers
October 12, 2018
Obwohl es ein Re-read war, finde ich die Idee dahinter immer noch krass. Wie viel musste dafür recherchiert werden ?!

Maddie ist zu Beginn wirklich ein langweiliger Charakter. Bis sie Justin trifft. Die Verwandlung mit anzusehen ist toll. Als würde sie lernen zu leben.

Profile Image for Lenni Jones.
691 reviews17 followers
November 8, 2018
**This review contains little tiny spoilers some people may not like**

"They don't make paper books anymore--its's illegal to chop down trees. They still grow in some parts of the world, but I've never seen one. Most cities have switched to synthetic trees, and people prefer them to the living ones."

Does this quote from the very first page remind you of anything? Perhaps it reminds you of "The Lorax" movie they made in 2012??? They literally sing a song where one of the lines is "In Thneedville, we manufacture our trees. Each one is made in factories and it uses 96 batteries!" (Why does the tree need batteries? Real trees don't light up!!!)

Anyway, I just wanted to point out this connection that I had made. The actual book is not what I expected. It was better than I expected!!! The romance was different than I predicted, but it was SO perfect. I was waiting on the edge of my seat for the first kiss.

Since this world was dystopian, of course some parts were kind of scary. I was horrified by all the school attacks Maddie discussed midway through the book. Apparently school shootings and bombings became supremely common. Metal detectors were required at schools!!! And the sad part is, it appears that this is what's happening to our world right now. This author may not be very far off in her prediction of the future.

To replace the schools where kids were being killed, they used "Digital School." Already it sounds kind of stupid, but it was also super manipulative. The teacher Maddie had when she was six read the class a story about a monster that lives everywhere except your house. She scared those poor kids into staying inside their homes forever!!! Let's all hope that our world never comes to this.

From cute romance to an awesome adventure, this book is the perfect romantic dystopian book. It sort of reminded me of "The City of Ember" a little bit. I loved this book and I would totally recommend it.
Profile Image for Esther.
86 reviews
August 27, 2016
Check out this review and more at: http://apocalypsereads.blogspot.com/

I picked up Awaken looking for an easy read, something that I wouldn’t have to think too hard about. It ended up being an easy read, but it sucked me in more than I expected. Awaken is part love story and part rebellion. What makes it different, however, is that the rebellion is not against the government so much as it is against the national education system. Kacvinsky, a former educator, makes some interesting points about the real purpose of education and that, in itself, is a good enough reason to read this book. Although some of the ideas in this book are beyond obvious, it is still an exciting read complete with James Bond-type gadgets and car chases. Plus, I think it is a stand alone book *fingers crossed*, so there is no need to pine over when the next one comes out. This book is a sure recommendation from me.

So apparently, crossing your fingers doesn't really work because I just learned that there will be a sequel to this book. Boo! and Yay!
Profile Image for Tasos Anastasopoulos.
51 reviews4 followers
June 20, 2011
How different can the world be in almost 50 years from now...? Will technology evolve in such a way as Kacvinsky describes in her book? I am sure that being a high school teacher herself makes her a person that really enjoys the authentic way of education the one that includes immediate contact between the tutors and the students, she is well aware that a lesson, a course in every possible subject doesn't mean just to equip you with knowledge about what is mentioned inside the book that's been given to you... if it was like that then the tutor would be useless after all... there would be no need for a computer even to take his/her place... perhaps a site with frequently asked questions and then just exams at the end of the year or semester...would that do more or less? No lectures at all.. this reminds of how Greek universities work, there is a lecture but ok nobody attends, you just borrow the notes from someone that actually was present and attend only the exams...awesome right?

Oops,getting carried away already, let's go back to the book... many authors are worried that modern world will be less "natural" and ok it seems to be inevitable... but in fact this is the first time that a quite simple novel (nothing really complicated and hard to understand so easy to read in order to attract people of all ages... but ok at some parts it's mostly young ones even teenagers that seem to be the "main target" as an "audience") points out what can cause the whole humanity to be fully "digitized", everything in this world begins and ends in school... that's where people learn how to socialize how to interact with others how to behave well to make friends, many answers to simple questions about things in every day life, so in order to keep the world safe (it's not an ideal world after all...just watch the TV news every day makes you realize that) you must focus on the base of educational system... wherever there is a flaw in this don't expect too much for the future!!! In order to prevent terrorists acts (returning to the plot of the book) that caused hundreds of innocent lives (hopefully incidents like Columbine will not go on taking place in the future) the American government assigns to Madeline's(the main character of the story) father a new form of school to be created that will keep everyone at their home in front of their computer attending a virtual classroom...that will ensure no more casualties, no more bombs no more crimes in school areas no more physical speaking deaths...but it will kill them inside in a way... Classmates now communicate between them without each one of them exiting their own room, and this also affects their social life in general... they "go out" for a coffee (still being in their room) to the "cinema" too it's like being in detention without being able to become aware of it since you are taught to act like that...(there is an innocent dragon that appears in everywhere outside if you try to go out kindergarten teacher told the children!!!). Not being killed but imprisoned and not even knowing it...

I feel a bit guilty that i read this book in its kindle version...not so romantic, not so old-fashioned not so authentic.. there were moments that things i read about how technology has changed us had impact on myself too... how different things were 10,15,20 years ago and how they are now... who haven't heard his parents, or grandparents, or elderly people in general comparing their way of having fun as children,teen or young people at their time with nowadays? Who can blame them...? You should always enjoy what life's been giving you and has been giving you (through the help of Nature itself) for so many years not just to you but to everyone...for millions of years actually, virtual world can offer you a lot but it's what the word indicates...virtual never was and never be a real one, it's just an illusion you can't count on it forever, it's only temporary... it can help too but if used wisely...

Science fiction is not the unique gender that describes the book... we see everything through Madeline's eyes (i guess it's easier to be read by girls or women because of that but ok not such a feminine view, she's not so typically "girly" after all) how the "new world" that she discovers changes everything inside her, how she starts to look at things in a very different way that she used to... that she was taught to... and despite how much beautiful that life can be how easily everything can be meaningless when the most valuable "thing" in life is missing ... love... the presence of the beloved one by your side makes the difference there has to be someone with you to enjoy the beauty that the world is offering you, someone to share your thoughts your worries your enthusiasm your happiness...someone to be there for you...

The novel turns from science fiction, to suspense, to romance as the plot goes by fascinating more and more people... it has many many noticeable and meaningful quotes, funny moments since the two main characters are sarcastic very often and it was very amusing to read for sure... but ok there is one slight objection that could turn it into a masterpiece in my humble opinion... we see things only through Madeline's eyes we don't know about anything considering the thoughts of all the other characters, only guessing that is, of course the author has a bright future ahead of her to improve her writing skills since it seems to be her first published book and made a heck of a debut... It's always appreciated when something in written without using sophisticated language and has the ability to pass so many messages to the world, to make every one of us thinking not what the writer means (reading English if not native is not always that easy after all) but how much related it is with our life, what we can do to change it in order to improve our life, everyone's life... our world...

So miss Kacvinsky you sure made an impact on me and my next book is a paperback version :)
260 reviews104 followers
July 7, 2012
3.5/4 stars

Awaken had been on my computer for quite some time up until this point. I'd started it two or three times but for one reason or another was never able to go beyond the first couple of paragraphs. I'm glad to say I finally sat down and read this properly. It was definitely worth it, although I'm still not sure what rating this truly deserves.

The year is 2060 and technology has taken over. Hardly anyone goes out anymore. Instead, they go to school, work, the beach, anywhere they want, all from the safety of their own homes. Why wouldn't they, when anything outside can be virtually replicated, able to be experienced without stepping a foot outside the front door? Madeline Freeman, however, wants more. And when online studymate Justin Solvi insists on them meeting face to face, she can hardly believe it. She is shocked when she discovers his motive for seeking her out...not to mention confused when he opens her eyes to the lie her life is, and to everything she's missed out on.

This isn't quite like other dystopias I've read. Generally you have a regimental government exercising total control over society, or a set societal hierarchy in which a particular group is considered an outcast, illegal, inferior. At least, that's what I've come across. In Awaken, Katie Kacvinsky provides a different take on dystopia, focusing more on how technology dominates. While there is a controlling government, it is not as high on the extreme scale. Having said that, dystopia also means a society in which a key problem is causing it to be dysfunctional, and there are certainly problems here. The world Kacvinsky has created is frighteningly possible. Today, each day brings with it a newer, faster, (supposedly) better piece of technology. And with these developments, we become lazier and dependent; we demand instant gratification, and that is exactly what this book points out. Here, people have lost the ability to actually live life. It always strikes me as ironic that, despite these societies being set in the future, they are far more backward in some way than we are today. The author has crafted this well, although I would have liked to see some more world-building: there were times when it felt very current.

I liked Maddie well enough. She was a little self-contradictory - she doesn't like her dad controlling her, yet when offered the chance to make a change, is more comfortable with following a determined path. But at the same time, she is strong. Strong enough to know what was wrong with her life at 15 and act on it; strong enough to step out of her comfort zone and meet Justin two years later. I also couldn't help but share in her sadness. Her dad, inventor of the digital school and consequent millionairre, is the very definition of controlling tyrant. While I understood the distrust he had for his daughter (someone's daughter stealing their secret files and giving them to the opposition is bound to do that to a person), what I couldn't understand was how potent, almost toxic, that distrust was two years on. What father, however unforgiving, bugs his daughter and has her followed? What father checks and triple checks every aspect of his daughter's life, all the way down to the number of people in her study group?

The relationship between Justin and Maddie was incredibly well-paced. I thought Maddie was too quick to let Justin get under her skin, but that was balanced by the distance he put between them. I liked that his character was consistent - it's obvious that he does actually care for Maddie, but he warns her it can't happen between them, and lives by his word. When he eventually gives in, the relationship between them is sweet. I loved how he was always taking the time to give Maddie new experiences. Her reactions to these I particularly enjoyed because it gave me a whole new appreciation for life. Everything we take for granted - from the colours around us, to fire, to to the grass beneath our feet - she appreciates and respects. Even a scratched, creaky wooden floor. As ridiculous as it sounds, what we see as flawed, something beneath our notice except to be annoyed about, she saw as a sign of history. I loved seeing things from a new, fresh perspective.

Overall, Awaken was an engaging read. Even though it perhaps wasn't what I was expecting, I still enjoyed it. There were sizable chunks where perhaps not much happened, yet Kacvinsky managed to pull it off and keep me reading nevertheless. I'm definitely looking forward to the second one.

This review is also posted on my blog.
Profile Image for Jessica.
1,161 reviews80 followers
August 12, 2011
Now that I've read this book the cover makes so much more sense! Wow. I'm pretty sure that about sums up how I feel about Awaken, unless you'll permit me to say FREAKIN' WOW! Yup. That's more accurate.

I think what most drew me in about the world that Katie Kacvinsky builds is how close to home it hits. In Maddie's world, everyone is trapped behind computer screens. Constantly plugged in, because that is the best way to stay "safe". For a long time Maddie has seen this as the norm, and a happy existence. Then Justin enters her life and everything is thrown upside down. Don't think that the irony is lost on me that I'm sitting at a computer screen typing this review. Watching Maddie's life change, and her story unfold hit really close to home. It made me think about how much time I spend behind these devices. If she wasn't living, am I? Thank you Katie Kacvinsky for making me think about that.

Maddie is a character I fell into step with instantly. Her questioning attitude, her need to please her parents despite how she feels, her inability to voice her own opinion, it's all woven into a girl who has been trapped for too long. I felt for her. Then sweet, reserved, and life changing Justin comes onto the scene. The Maddie that exists after this happens is entirely different, and yet the same person at the same time. It's a metamorphosis of the best kind. I promise that if you fall in love with her in the beginning, you'll love her even more as you watch her be born all over again.

It also needs to be said that this is one of the sweetest and most frustrating romances I've read. Justin keeps to himself because that's how he has always been. Maddie used to, but Justin breaks her out of that and now the one person she wants she can't seem to have. Frustrating right? However lest you think that this is another book with a girl pining hopelessly after a boy, Maddie is different. It made my heart soar when one of the characters in the book explained to her that pining never did anyone an ounce of good (not her exact words but I'm paraphrasing here). She tells Maddie that we must learn to love ourselves and feel whole alone, before we can truly be invested in someone else. Are you floored? I was! Thank you to an author for finally saying that! Thank you for showing us a girl who knows she needs to learn to be alone! I'll end my slightly feminist rant here, but that made me fall in love with Awaken even more than I already had.

Point being, if you couldn't tell from my incoherent thoughts above, I completely adored this book. The message is clear, and I fully agree. Maddie and Justin teach us how important it is to get out there and really live, and to do it for yourself and no one else. Awaken crawled into my mind and made me think, and if a book can do that then I'm sold. Pure and honest love is all I have for this book.
Profile Image for The BookWhisperer.
1,728 reviews134 followers
December 12, 2010
Awaken is a very unique story set in the year of 2060. This incredible story realistic portrays the digital age which physical human contact has become the rarity. Education, socializing, and business has all be corporated into computer networking. In this world it is no longer necessary to leave the comfort of your home for anything. Convience is the means which everything is built, and in creating this world society can safely hide from the world. [return][return][return][return]Maggie is a seventeen year old girl that is also the daughter of "genius" that created Digital School. DS has been the break through that truely allowed youth to remain protected from the violence that had become a norm in their society. Maggie lives in constant turmoil with her parents that are polar opposites. While her father is dedicated to the digital age, and continues to increase the productivity in this rapidly growing world; her mother values the old ways and continually tries to instill knowledge and lessons in her daughter to keep the old ways alive. When Maggie agrees to meet a young man from a tutoring social network this begin to turn her world even further upside down. Playing on her already growing interest in anything not digital; Justin is the perfect leader to show her many things that the digital world can not offer. Awaken is frighteningly realistic enlight of our own rapidly growing digital world. Interestingly this society has relied on computers so much that they no longer perceive their own emotions. This was evident in seeing Maggie and Justin's interactions it was obvious how much this young girl was no longer an individual, but more just a body behind a computer. As the story progressed their were many times that Maggie would vocalize her need for a backspace or delete button. This shows the lack of ability to do things as simple as censoring what to say before actually saying it. As the world begins to unfold for this young girl it was as though she had never actually seen the world. This was a tremendously entertaining and slightly scary story wrapped up in a suspense and romance. I look for this to be a best seller this coming year, and look forward to spreading the word about this amazing book. [return][return]
Profile Image for ~Tina~.
1,092 reviews159 followers
December 7, 2010
The year is 2060, and the digital world has been relied on so heavily that it's unthinkable to do anything a different way. Everything is done online, from shopping to hooking up, the Net is your answer. Despite Madeline's rebellion streak a couple of years ago, she can't really see a different way out but doesn't stop her from wanting one.
In till she meets Justin on a online study chat room. Justin opens her digital-induced eyes, making her start to feel in flesh and blood and changing how she sees the world of technology.

Katie Kacvinsky successfully achieves an intriguing and thought provoking book in Awaken, and I know that's been said in other reviews but it's the absolute truth.
I love my computer, I seriously would rip my own hair out if I can't get on here and visit the sites that I adore and technology is only improving every single year, so this book could very well be our future. Maybe not as in-depth, but the digital world will only grow from here on in. Scary yes, but it's also pretty fascinating.

All the characters were likable but I think I liked Justin the most. I liked what he stood for even though at times it was a bit much. Him and Maddie made a great pair but the building-relationship stretched on a little to long and I ended up frustrated with them. But other then that I enjoyed this a lot and there are some really great lessons here that made me think. Don't forget there is an actual world outside the box in your home and human contact and the world of the living is very much needed. Time is sweet, so make the most of it.

Bottom line, great characters, an amazing world and the writing is remarkable.
Need to definitely pick up a copy once this hits the shelves, and I can't wait to see what happens next!

Special thanks to Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin for giving me the opportunity to read this Awesome debut!
Profile Image for Rebecca.
140 reviews16 followers
July 16, 2011
Awaken is one of those books you pick up, are instantly drawn in, and want to live in that world. Awaken was so good, I’m still considering rereading it immediately, now, when I’m done with my review.

Awaken is both futuristic and present. Kacvinsky illustrates how people in 2060 (and today) choose to be almost solely connected to the digital world. Everywhere people are plugged in. Face to face interaction is almost nonexistent. Madeleine, heiress of the digital school empire, lives in her room and through her computer. Her experiences are limited and monitored by her authoritarian dad. Life is mundane to say the least until she meets Justin, a mysterious, friendly, sexy guy. I enjoyed Madeleine’s journey to find herself as she experiences life and her first love. This is a must read for dystopia fans and romantics.

There is one thing that keeps bugging me. One of Justin's actions changes the course of Maddie's life forever. Not only does he not apologize for it, but Maddie doesn't seem to mind. Blame is never placed. I wonder if Katie Kacvinsky will reconcile the event or let it slip into the night unnoticed.
Profile Image for Nicole.
76 reviews10 followers
March 1, 2011
When I first opened this book, I immediately liked the concept. A world of fake trees, computers everywhere, and books are rare. Yikes! Maddie has been paying for past consequences by being locked up in her house and constantly watched. In a world where everything is digital, going outside is uncommon and having social get-togethers are strange. But Justin gets her to hang out with him in the real world and tries to show her the beauty of living life outside a computer and your own home.

In the beginning I found the pacing a little slow and Justin a little too condescending. Maddie starts to fall for Justin but I felt like this chemistry was one sided. The second half of the book things started to pick up as Maddie has to make a choice of what kind of life she wants and whether she wants to be part of a rebellion to end the restrictions of a digital world. Justin also starts opening up and you can feel the affection building between the two. I enjoyed the risky and romantic parts of this story but at times it got a little tedious as the characters over-talked about the need for people to get unplugged and the perils of digital life. Either way, it was a thought-provoking book.
Profile Image for Booksandtheirworld.
137 reviews40 followers
September 25, 2021
3,5 Sterne

Hier hätten wir wieder eins der Bücher bei denen ich nicht weiß ob ich dafür schon "zu alt" bin.
An sich finde ich Dystopien mit Rebellion ja unfassbar cool und ich liebe es solche Bücher zu lesen weil meistens viel passiert und irgendwie immer eine gewisse Spannung zwischen den Seiten herrscht, aber hier hat mir das leider irgendwie gefehlt.
Es passierten zwar schon einige Dinge, aber davon konnte mich nichts aus den Socken hauen und ich dachte nur "joa ok, ist jetzt aber auch nicht spannend". Es hat leider einfach nichts in mir ausgelöst.
Auch die Charaktere konnten mich nicht wirklich catchen, Maddie fand ich zwar schon irgendwo cool, aber ich hatte manchmal das Gefühl dass sie eigentlich gar nicht weiß was sie will und einem Typen hinterherläuft.
Dieser Typ verschließt sich total, will zwar irgendwie was von ihr, aber dann auch nicht und plötzlich doch, das war mir alles zu wirr die Gefühle der beiden bzw. war es immer ein hin und her von ihm, was mich total genervt hat.
An sich die Welt fand ich aber sehr interessant und mit der ganzen Technik und dem "Online Unterricht" den es in dem Buch nur noch gibt, sind wir mit unserer "realen" Welt auch nicht so weit entfernt. Das war teilweise wirklich sehr erschreckend.
Trotzdem hatte das Buch etwas an sich, das ich immer weiterlesen wollte.
Ich hatte mir aber trotzdem etwas mehr erhofft.
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,312 reviews51 followers
April 2, 2015
This review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more reviews!

*2.5 star rating*

The thing is, I've tried to hold off writing this review for a while, keep on rescheduling it and moving it along, but it's time to let my thoughts overtake everything that I've ever known about dystopia and throw it away. Jokes, jokes, it was April Fool's Day, and I'm only kidding about wanting to let go dystopian novels. That's just a part of it, and the genre is made up of so many better novels that are able to capture readers' hearts and spin them into a world where the impossible happens in the future. In this case, Katie Kacvinsky has given us a complete other situation that no other author has done before... at least from what I've seen and read of.

Yes, using damn computers to do everything. And isn't it already ironic at the moment that everyone's classified as lazy because of the time we spend on the internet doing random things and playing virtual video games? How did the future evolute to something like this? *wonders* Okay, but I'm honestly not trying to go theoretical here, as it's a novel that's not too believable, either. Don't expect yourself to be dreaming about Maddie and Justin falling in love tonight. It's not going to happen, at least, it won't ever happen to me.

That's the main subject point here: everything is done virtually with computers and technology. The funny thing is that Maddie's dad is super rich and he had invented virtual school where children are supposedly learning better from computers and e-lessons and interacting socially with people, all in the course of the online thing. And now, he's complaining about Maddie doing too much and exposing his information out to the general public. It's HIS FAULT. *feels like can argue for centuries on this matter* So now, Maddie's trying to be rebellious and goes out and meets Justin, a guy who she's planning to study with, actually in the real world. She lies that she's going to soccer practice when she's actually going to see him... and well, you get the story. They fall in love.

"Online we were all equal. Social status wasn't important. Money and looks and jobs and clothes almost become obsolete. So who cares what my real name is? It's just a label, like a particular brand of person. Who cares who sits behind it when we only meet in waves of space?"

You see, Maddie was definitely unlike her father. She was kick-ass and awesome, though her insecurity and stupidity (when she's trying to make decisions) was weak and strange compared to that of other protagonists in a manipulative dystopian-world novel. And really, you don't want me to get to the subject of Justin. Let's just say that I hated their connection and didn't support them together... I felt that he only used Maddie and that there were some weak feelings because HE JUST FELT like he had to kiss her because it seemed right. MANIPULATIVE? Yes, just like her father.

"You're a spectator. People are becoming spectators of their own lives instead of living them. But the best part is getting the game. That's when it's all worth it."

And hey, I'd absolutely recommend to take an extra precaution before reading, as you'll need time to get through this. The plot is very slow-paced and I must say that although Kacvinsky is a great and strong author, her message wasn't as clear and I didn't like her characters. The only great thing was the concept and some of the action scenes that took Maddie against her own will. That was unexpected, I kept telling myself. *gives a round of applause*

This book truly has awaken me into seeing the true side of diverse dystopia and something that no author has ever done. I haven't seen something like this, though there were such weak characters in the plot that I almost DNF-ed this, but I felt bad since there were already a few that I have lately. Will this awaken you? Hopefully, but this will be better for you than for me.
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