Google+ Reading Teen: Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (May 23, 2011)
Author's Website:
Buy the Book:  Amazon

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.
I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by this book.  Reading the description, I'll admit, it sounded a little corny.  And I'm not saying that there weren't moments in the book where I thought it was, and there were moments that the message may have been a little too forced, but at the end of the day, when I put this book down, I was happy.

As I read Awaken, on my KINDLE (which, incidentally I sometimes let read TO me), I couldn't help but think about how true to life this story is.  We have started (in the US) living in a world where we can get up, go to work (or sometimes work from home), come home and pull right into our garage, order delivery, pay people to take care of our yards, order books/movies/music/gifts over the internet and never step out into our neighborhoods to say hello.  Many people have already started replacing their IRL friends with those in chat rooms, in virtual worlds, or (ahhh, dare I say it.....) on blogs, Facebook and Twitter.  It's so easy to get caught up in the online world, that we never take the time to strengthen our real life relationships, or meet new people.  Our next door neighbors could be going through a crisis, and we may never even know!  We really know how to isolate ourselves!

Needless to say, this book certainly makes you think!  Which, I would guess, is the point of it.

There was so much about this book that I enjoyed.  Other than just connecting to the idea, I also really loved the characters.  There were definitely times where Maddie frustrated me, and Justin as well.  But I loved how they grew throughout the story.  Both of them thought they had things pretty well figured out, and when they met each other, learned that maybe balance is better than extremes.  I really like this message.  Maddie was sheltered and naive, but she was also brave, and ready to experience all the things that she had missed out on while she was confined to her home. And she was just funny!  I laughed out loud multiple times at her sarcastic comments and witty remarks.   Justin was so yummy!!  But also seriously frustrating.  There were so many times that I just wanted to scream, "JUST KISS HER ALREADY!!!"  But, Nooooo, he had to string me along.........I mean string Maddie along.  For. So. Long! I said Maddie, of course I said Maddie! :P

But Holy Heck, let me just tell you....when they finally kissed!  WOWZA!!  I think I was Awakened!!   That had to be a couple of the yummiest kissing scenes I have ever read!  Seriously, ever!!  They were so good, I have to quote one.  I'll leave out the actual kissing part, so as not to spoil it, but I just love the way she wrote these scenes!  If you don't want to read it, just skip this part:

The more I kissed him the more I needed to kiss him, like his lips were a drug.......It's easy to forget at this moment billions of people exist and far-off galaxies are being born and stars collide.  Kissing is its own kind of collision, it produces its own planetarium of lights inside your head.  For me, it was like seeing colors for the first time after living in a black and white world.  A single person can be just as wide and vast and spellbinding as any sky full of stars.  They can make you think the world stops and night can last forever.  I laced my fingers around his and squeezed his hand and he squeezed mine back and it made something ache in my chest.
 *Sigh*  What?  Are you still here?  Sorry....uh...what was I saying?  Yeah, I just read the whole scene again.

I also have to mention the "getaway" scenes.  There are a couple of times when the Maddie and Justin are running from the cops, and I think I enjoyed these scenes more than any other chase scenes I've ever read.  I think it was the fascinating modified vehicles that made me love them so much.  Justin has some really cool vehicular inventions.  I love his car, and I really loved this one scene where he tests out a new contraption which may or may not fly....and also float.  I am such a fan of going fast (sometimes I feel like Ricky Bobby).

Needless to say, I enjoyed this book a lot.  And if you enjoy being strung along, waiting for the boy to JUST KISS HER ALREADY, pulling your hair out in anticipation, and wanting so slap someone into sense, then I think you will like it too.  Oh, and if you're a fan of dystopia, you may also find something you like!  ^_^

I really liked it!!

  • Sexual Content:  Mild/Moderate
  • Profanity:  Mild/Moderate
  • Violence:  Mild
For more details, check out Awaken on Parental Book Reviews.


  1. I truly enjoyed this book and the characters. Excellent review. :)

  2. Love a great kissing scene. Great review.

  3. I have this one waiting in my TBR pile and I love the cover - its soooo warm and inviting. Great review Andye :)

  4. That sounds like a fantastic book! Loved the kissing excerpt. Reminds me of my younger days...

  5. I was absolutely enthralled by this book. I kinda want to marry it. lol. I love your insight and agree that some of those tense scenes were beautifully written. I especially loved when Justin was teaching Maddie how to get in touch with her senses. My heart beat rapidly that entire scene, and they were barely touching! Great writing, I say!

  6. I really do recommend it! It was really good! Smash Attack, yes!! That scene!!!

  7. I just read this book in 24 hours flat and can't stop giggling! Which is really weird because I am not a giggly person! LOVE this book and awesome review.

  8. Alyssa!

    YAY!! I'm so glad you loved it too!! I just read the review, and kissing scene again, and it made me smile!


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