Thursday 15 September 2011


Book review: Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

My edition: Paperback, published in 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 320 pages.

Description: 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.


In 2060 people rarely meet face-to-face as everything happens in the virtual world. Whether it's studying, training for a marathon or going on a walk along the beach with a significant other, it's all digitised so people can participate without leaving the safety and comfort of their own home.

One of the pillars of this virtual community is the Digital School, which is also criticized by many as the catalyst to the completely digitised society.

The book centers around an interesting concept that doesn't seem too farstretched considering where we're currently heading as a society.

And while "unplugging" as depicted in this book is not quite as extreme as in The Matrix it still has quite an impact on a person, which we witness as main character Maddie experiences this.

I have to say, one thing that bugged me throughout the story is that I do not understand why people are rebelling against the Digital School. Considering the amount of children that died by bombings on or shootings in schools right before the DS took off, this only seems a natural and safe progression.

I agree that people shouldn't be so reliant on technology and see other human beings outside of the virtual world but I think the DS is not to blame for how fixated humanity has become on avatars and computer screens. They're a part of the problem, not the root of it.

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