Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Book Review: Awaken

Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether going to school or on a date, no one ever leaves home. There’s really no need. And for the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life – until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He likes physical closeness and face-to-face conversations. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her. Maddie is beginning to believe him. Something is awakening inside Maddie. Old feelings are beginning to surface. Memories are flooding back. Maybe there is a different, better way to live, and perhaps Justin will be the one to help her start living it.

Awaken paints the picture of an almost entirely digital world, and to be honest, it was scary. Not only because it was so alarmingly impersonal, but also because it’s not to far from the world we live in now. I hope that our world never becomes so engrossed in technology, that we don’t spend time to really live our lives, but it could definitely happen.

Maddie was an interesting character. At first she was afraid to interact with people face to face because in real life there’s no “delete” button. But Justin opens her eyes to living. REALLY living. That’s when Maddie’s character kind of went of the deep end for me. She was constantly trying to distance herself from her past and then she became engrossed in getting Justin to like her. There were several scenes where she was blatantly throwing herself at Justin and flirting with him like crazy and it just bugged me. Sure, you can like a guy, but don’t go acting all creepy and “seductive.” There was literally a line where she said “I’ll just seduce you again.” Awkward much? Yeah…..

Fortunately I really liked Justin. He spent his whole life doing things that would help others. He never really thought about himself. Plus he had a super awesome car that could not only drive on water but then convert into a submarine. I want a car like that! Haha.

There was one really surprising element to Awaken that I never expected. Several moments definitely felt like a spy novel! There were two “getaway” scenes involving gun chases and Justin’s submarine car. And the last few chapters were like straight out of Alex Rider. The spyish elements were definitely a plus for me because I LOVE spy stories!

Overall Awaken was a really cool dystopian novel about living life to the fullest. I liked the message of the book and the cool spy elements were awesome. The only thing that really bugged me was the Maddie/Justin romance. It just felt kind of awkward plus there’s the fact that in the book Maddie’s 17 and Justin’s 20. Doesn’t that make their dating illegal without parental consent? Like I said. Awkward. But anyway I give Awaken 4 and a half out of 5 ice cream cones!

This book was full of awesome quotes! Here are some of my favorites.

“In the real world anything can happen. It’s like stepping onto an icy surface – you have to adjust your footing or you’ll slip and fall. Your movements become rigid and unsure because behind all the fancy gadgets and all that digital armor, you realize you’re just flesh and bones.”

“We’ll never realize our potential if we always live inside the boundaries of what we fear. Teaching society to be afraid and stay tucked safely behind their locked doors is not the answer to human problems. It only conceals the problem, like a bandage. It doesn’t fix it. Giving the problem open air and room to breathe, to mix with other elements, is what helps it heal.

“Knowledge can hurt because you can’t turn away from things anymore. You can’t pretend you’re blind to what’s happening,” he said. “It’s a lot easier to ignore something you don’t want to accept than to face it.”

Julia :)


  1. Wow, Julia, great review! You totally made me want to read this book :) *scribbling in my TBR notebook*
    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, the quotes really are very cool, the book seems well written and.. smart!
    Well, maybe except the "awkward romance" part, but I think I could live with that! :)

  2. I just posted my review of this one too. I think the thing that surprised me the most about this novel was how political it was. I was expecting something sweet and got a whole lot more. I get what you are saying about the odd seducing thing but I did like the complexity and Maddie's relationship. Thanks for the review!

  3. I liked the way you reviewed this book. Thanks for your honesty. It is kind of awkward the age thing, though but not as much as she throwing herself at him.


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