Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky
This dystopian take on our modern school system will surely get readers thinking about what really works and how much we should let technology control our lives. In seventeen-year-old Maddie’s world, young people have almost no contact with each other–going to Digital High School, dating online, going to movies online, etc. In fact, Madeline wonders at one point if she is actually addicted to her computer. Readers learn early on that Maddie made some type of huge mistake, for which her father (who is head of all digital high schools) still hasn’t forgiven her. As a matter of fact, she’s on probation, supervised by her father’s best friend, the police chief. Because that’s not enough for her dad, he also monitors everything Maddie does online, hardly ever lets her leave the house, and has her followed when she meets an online study friend at a study group. All this begins to change when Maddie meets Justin, a young man who believes that real contact with people is a good thing, and begins to introduce her to real friends and new experiences.
This tone of this title was reminiscent of Orwell’s 1984, with Big Brother watching and controlling everyone’s activities through their computer activities. It will make readers contemplate our current fascination with online social networking, shopping and even working. I think fans of dystopias and science fiction will enjoy this book, even though I personally got a little annoyed with Maddie’s constant obsession with Justin. I hope this doesn’t turn off male readers, but I could see it happening.