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Those That Wake [Kindle Edition]

Jesse Karp
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Book Description

New York City’s spirit has been crushed. People walk the streets with their heads down, withdrawing from one another and into the cold comfort of technology. Teenagers Mal and Laura have grown up in this reality. They’ve never met. Seemingly, they never will. 

But on the same day Mal learns his brother has disappeared, Laura discovers her parents have forgotten her. Both begin a search for their families that leads them to the same truth: someone or something has wiped the teens from the memories of every person they have ever known. Thrown together, Mal and Laura must find common ground as they attempt to reclaim their pasts.

Editorial Reviews Review

A Note from the Author

Dear Amazon Readers,

They tell me that Those That Wake is science fiction. I can certainly live with that; I have a great love for that genre and whole-heartedly embrace its possibilities. But the truth is, that’s not really what I set out to write. I was trying to tell a scary story, something eerie and uncomfortable. Horror, if you will. Not horror in the classical sense, because I’ve got to admit that classic horror doesn’t scare me that much. While a madman with a knife would, I am sure, terrify me if I ever actually encountered one, I have experienced them so many times in books and films that they have somewhat lost their sense of threat. Vampires have become so iconic that their lurking menace feels all but gone for me. I guess what I’m saying is that horror standards just don’t appeal to my sense of fear.

Here’s what does scare me: that the world doesn’t work the way you think it does; that the terrible thing you always thought was impossible turns out to be true; that dark forces you can never see or name actually control your life; that the people you count on the most cannot, or will not, help you. That’s the book I set out to write.

This certainly has precedent in science fiction. Philp K. Dick leaps immediately to mind. William Sleator’s House of Stairs, a powerful book in that style, was pivotal in my reading life. Movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers and the lesser known but also incredible Seconds are ideal examples. So if you want to call it science fiction, that’s okay by me. Like good science fiction, my wish would be that you find its subtext worth considering, too.

But I do hope it scares you, at least a little.

--Jesse Karp


"This dystopian mind bender is quite complex, and the steadily building plot takes several mysterious twists. The book begins in a very realistic manner, introducing the teen protagonists as well-developed and likeable characters while systematically adding layers and new characters to their story. As the book nears its conclusion, that sense of reality shifts considerably and sometimes throws the reader off kilter. The story is quick moving and full of action, both physical and intellectual. While reluctant or struggling readers may find this book difficult to follow, it is highly recommended for teen and adult readers who are willing to take on a challenging read for the payoff of a well-written, intricately plotted story."—VOYA

"This first novel is an ambitious, cautionary—and even paranoiac—story of the soul-destroying power of a consumer society run amok and the near-cosmic forces it unleashes. It’s a fascinating premise, and though the page-turning action slows a bit in the second half to explore some of the more abstruse causes behind the mind-bending effects, that doesn’t detract from the great many intriguing, original, and thought provoking ideas at play here.."—Booklist

Product Details

  • File Size: 475 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (March 21, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004S3C6TS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #894,848 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Sci Fi Noir March 8, 2011
Fear is a palpable presence in the air in this dystopic New York City. A great black dome stands in midtown covering up the site of a horrific terrorist attack (or perhaps a corporate accident, theories abound in hushes whispers), and this unexplained disaster sets off a new focus on security in the city. This is a climate of fear where MCT (Metropolitan Counterterrorism Taskforce) officers stand in subway stations and street corners scanning passers by with x-ray goggles. Citizens fear simple errors, an errant glance, an incautious comment, which will have them whisked away under arrest. This is not simply a "governments are bad" narrative, no indeed, massive corporations, intent on nothing other than the pursuit of profit, stand as the ultimate force for negative social change here and nobody notices the slow creep with which they acquire power.

The story hangs on four very different characters: a young street fighter with unexpected reserves of kindness, a suburban princess who has a lot more strength than she is aware of, a strange intellectual commando (think Trotsky meets Bruce Lee minus the politics), and an inner-city teacher whose burnout and cynicism masks quiet heroism. They find themselves targets in a world where their utter existence has been wiped from the memories of anyone who ever knew them.

This compelling teen science fiction noir is a page turner with sharply delimited characters struggling against a grey world and a tangled mystery. Karp does great world-building here, setting up a New York City a decade or two from now. Cell phones are the principle point of human contact (and are pretty much essential to life), in this city bleak with consumer distrust of one another and overall despair.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Oddly reminscient of King's The Stand July 2, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My overriding impression when I finished this book was that it reminded me a huge amount of Stephen King's The Stand. There is "something" (an infection, a toxin, an abstract evil?) spreading across the whole population, and there is a small number of very different individuals who are immune to whatever it is, intentionally targeted by this evil, and who must find each other and band together to destroy it. But while the book hit some of the same resonant notes as The Stand, especially in the beginning, it just doesn't come through as a whole.

The author of the book says that he started out wanting this to be horror, but the first 75% of the book comes across as dystopian science fiction -- and then you realize that it's really just been slipstream fantasy all along. Intentional blurring of genre boundaries can be a great thing, but this seems more like a situation where the author just didn't have a good enough grasp on what he was trying to do. As a result, the kinds of readers who are going to be most drawn into the premise are not necessarily going to be the same readers this kind of ending will work at all for.

My other pros and cons this book? While the characters themselves are compelling to start with, there's very little character growth at all in the book, and what is there seems incredibly artificial. While having characters from different backgrounds and age groups is great, the book just isn't long enough for any of them but Mal to become three-dimensional. I do wonder if this would have been a much stronger novel if the author had just focused on Mal and perhaps one other character rather than going for the ensemble cast and falling short.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Poor Worldbuilding May 29, 2011
This was one weird book. I mean, seriously odd. I was all disposed to like it, what with it being a dystopia and one of the main characters being named Mal (yay for Firefly and Nathan Fillion). Within a few chapters, things started getting strange.

To start with, there is all this stuff about technology, somewhat reminiscent of Awaken, in how dependent people are on television screens and cell phones. Okay, got it. There are also terrorists, apparently, who did something terrible to NYC during the big black. There is the overly strenuous security, always there to hassle you when you're not doing anything wrong, but not there to protect you when you're in trouble. There's the mysterious building that most people can't see that has lots of hallways with doors and a scary button for the top floor. There is also some sort of hyper advertising evil that's endangering the world.

As you can tell, there's a lot happening here, and it really does not come together well. Individually, I like some of what's happening in this novel, but, thrown together, it's just one confusing hodge podge of fighting interspersed with some speeches on one evil or another. Oh yeah, the fighting. There is so much of it in this book. Mal is always punching someone and the descriptions are not always pleasant.

I really just don't know what this book wanted to be. The characterization and plotting both fell completely flat. The writing wasn't awful, but definitely wasn't stellar. This definitely does not rank high for me. People who enjoy violent and frustratingly confusing dystopias (ala James Dashner's trilogy) might enjoy Those That Wake, but it's definitely not for me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A cerebral, scary read
A lot of reviews have said that they didn't understand this book when they read it. I read it, and I understood it, but I can see why they might say that. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Lalalei
3.0 out of 5 stars A dark, cautionary tale
I enjoyed this dystopian novel. I have read other reviews complaining of the dark and desolate tone, but I think that Karp meant for Those That Wake to be a cautionary tale to... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Kelli of I'd So Rather Be Reading
3.0 out of 5 stars ...slogging thru a high-concept idea...
Jesse Karp infuses his novel with a palpable sense of desolation and oppressiveness. Seems like he's got stuff to say about our technology and how, as it advances, it gradually... Read more
Published 22 months ago by H. Bala
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull, poorly written
This sounded like a great idea for a novel. Unfortunately the writing was at about an 8th-grade level. I have to confess I didn't finish the book.
Published 23 months ago by Silicon Valley Girl
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bizarre Dystopian Read
This book reads a bit like if you mixed up the implausible science of the television show "Fringe" with the odd scenarios that only kinda-sorta of make logical sense in the... Read more
Published on December 14, 2011 by A
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky Story Line Makes For Exciting Reading
This book is aimed at ages 12 and up. The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is due to the 4-letter words. Sorry I am an old fuddy-duddy, admittedly. Read more
Published on October 12, 2011 by J. A. Eastman
3.0 out of 5 stars With a good editor - this could have been five stars..
The plot for this book was interesting and the moral statement was worth hearing. What kept the story from that fourth or fifth star was an unfortunate lack of depth. Read more
Published on October 7, 2011 by Jay
2.0 out of 5 stars Abstract and a little Strange
Those That Wake presents a society not too far off from our own where people are focused on their cells more than on the people they walk by. Read more
Published on September 28, 2011 by Kbaila
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly interesting
The story starts out slow and I wasn't too happy about how long it took to figure out what was going on and how the characters related to one another. Read more
Published on September 22, 2011 by Catrina Thomas
1.0 out of 5 stars This book was like watching a train wreck...
Okay... so I'll admit that by the title ALONE- I kind of just assumed that this was a zombie book. Yeah, that'll teach to actually read the synopsis first right? Read more
Published on July 24, 2011 by The Bookish Brunette
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