- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 and up
- Lexile Measure: 700L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (May 23, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0547371489
- ISBN-13: 978-0547371481
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,163,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Awaken Hardcover – May 23, 2011
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Top customer reviews
Initially Read on August 13, 2014
I gave this book 4 of 5 stars and highly recommend it.
** spoiler alert ** ***SPOILER WARNING!!!!****
Through her internal monologue, as well as her interchanges with the other characters, it is evident that Maddie is ready to join the resistance against the DS (Digital School) and her father. The story develops to reveal her first rebellion at the age of 15, and we learn that it was not a minor rebellion but a catalyst for protest against the DS. This puts her on the radar of a major movement of nationwide resistance movement.
It is easy to see that her feelings at 17 have been building just under the surface since her first rebellion. This makes her inclined to give into the seduction of the resistance and the enigmatic leader Justin. She is initiated into the face-to-face world developing her first real friends. Clare makes an excellent best friend... the only true one she has ever had; and she has the ability to ease Maddie's transition into a brave new face-to-face world.
However, Maddie still young and inexperienced in the real world. She has a potential to make mistakes that will put her on a collision course with the law. She is taken into custody and bound for the Detention Center in Iowa. Justin arranges for her interception and subsequent transport to him in California. Despite needing to continue to recruit for the resistance, Justin can't deny his need to spend alone time with Maddie even as he tries to overcome. Before they leave their little bubble of isolation away from the real world, Maddie slowly chips away at the wall Justin keeps between himself and everyone else.
As they arrive for a short visit to Eden, they already falling in love face-to-face in a digital world. It becomes very obvious by the end of this book that they have a special connection.
Really good initial book in this trilogy. I especially like the way the title can apply to more than one of the characters. I really enjoyed this book and found it to be well written. The protagonists are well developed characters who are both lovable and inspiring. There is excitement in Maddie's awakening to the real face-to-face world, in her daring and dangerous adventures, and in her discovery of real love.
Maddie's father is the created of Digital School (DS), a new education system designed to keep kids safe. Slowly, violence in schools grew until schools became actual terrorist targets. When 10 years ago, 17 elementary schools were bombed and thousands of young children had been killed, Maddie's dad developed a system that provide equal education for everyone without them ever having to leave the house. Slowly, with the help of DS, the world has become completely anti-social. No one interacts, computer profiles are considered the best way to "meet" people, and society has become so detached they can't even remember what they lost.
Maddie, 17, has spent the better part of the last two years on "lockdown". When she was 15, she broke into her father's files and gave information to DS protesters. She thought the information was going to be used for protests, but instead it was used to blow up transmitting stations for DS. She wasn't arrested because of who her father was, but she was forbidden to leave the house for almost anything until she was 18 and all her digital time was carefully blocked and monitored. Still, she craves human interaction (although at times she can't admit it to herself). When she meets a boy online who encourages her to meet him in person, she can't resist. He turns out to be quite the mysterious young man who always talks about the way society is falling apart thanks to DS and the virtual world.
At first she is drawn to Justin and his world of experiences, life, and human contact. Quickly, however, she realizes this was no random meeting- Justin had been looking for her. He and his group knew about her previous attack on DS and want to use her to get information from her father. At first Maddie is furious, but she quickly realizes the protesters might be right when her father lets her be taken away to a detention center for breaking her probation. When Justin's group saves her, they take her to a safe house in a town like she had never seen before: real trees, a bonfire (when her society screams how dangerous fire is), good food (as opposed to prepackaged, vitamin enhanced garbage everyone eats now), and most importantly, people. Here she begins to see the error of her father's ways and the lengths he will go to protect his creation, no matter how obviously flawed it has become.
This story has very mild language and is of a moderate reading level. There are some slow spots, so the book might be better for a stronger reader who can wade through them. While the content could have been rather violent, it is actually very tame. The protests aren't particularly violent, and even the police don't carry real guns- just a sedative dart to stop who they are chasing. Therefore, this might be good for a strong skilled yet immature student who isn't ready for more mature content.
I have to say, I thought this was going to be a fairly straight-forward dystopia, but it turned out to be more of a romance. I found myself at times wishing we could get past Maddie's pining for Justin and learn more about the world and the resistance. Even though the romance overshadowed the world-building a bit too much, the book was still an interesting read. I think the romance might be a good bridge for a student who really doesn't read the PA/dystopia genre to read something new, since it isn't too far from reality. The overuse of technology is a really interesting angle, especially with more and more schools offering online programs. With violence and huge discrepancies in education today, the idea of Digital School isn't completely ridiculous. The repercussions, however, are clearly too great to consider it. As kids these days become more and more glued to their game stations, computers, mobile devices, and technology in general, it is hard not to forget what we lose- do kids choose to go outside or choose to turn on their game console? The ideas behind this story provide a great backdrop for conversations about technology and the difference between using it and falling slave to it. So, are you ready to break away from the computer and give it a try?!
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Hot Toasty Rag, May 25, 2017
I don’t usually like futuristic novels; in fact, I tend to avoid futuristic books and movies like the plague.Read more