A Cornucopia of Dystopia! Review + Giveaway: Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

10:00 AM

Title: Awaken
Author: Katie Kacvinsky
Release Date: May 11, 2011 (hardcover)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Pages: 320
Source: ARC received for review from Casey (The Bookish Type) and Danya (A Tapestry of Words) as part of "A Cornucopia of Dystopia!"

Overall: 4 Stars

Summary:
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.  

My Thoughts:
Katie Kacvinsky makes a wonderful entrance to the YA writing scene with her debut novel Awaken. Although the novel is dystopian, the events and principles it covers really don't seem so far-fetched as one might expect. And maybe that's the most scary aspect of this aspect, knowing our own futures are leading towards a more virtual life as we grow more and more dependent on technology... but at what consequences? It was these sorts of questions that left me fascinated to learn more about Awaken as I flipped the pages...

It's the year 2060 and much of America is completely digital with people rarely venturing outside anymore when they can simply accomplish anything they want online from the comforts of their own home. For Maddie, her life is strictly controlled by her influential father, a man who founded Digital School, the school system used nationwide to educate youths. Maddie seems satisfied with this constant virtual life, but when she meets Justin, a boy who convinces her to meet him in the real world, she begins to question everything she's ever known. Rebelling thoughts she had pushed to the back of her mind when she was younger begin to resurface and soon, Maddie's not sure if a completely digital life is so right anymore...

Besides having a great premise, my only qualms with the novel related to the characters themselves as they fell a little bit flat. Both Maddie and Justin don't come across as very strong characters initially but after awhile, I was glad to finally see some signs of growth in them. I wasn't very impressed with how Maddie practically fell in love with Justin and his good looks as soon as she met him, but what I did like was how she slowly grew confidence in herself to act on things she believed in and to pull away from her father's influence. I know I've only mentioned Maddie's father up to this point, but honestly, the only thing I really have to say about her mother is that her personality is completely different compared to the father and that she should grow a spine instead of remaining on the sidelines.

But anyways, let's move onto Justin... shall we? Even though Maddie was soon falling for him, when he made his appearance in the novel, I couldn't shake this wariness I had. He's a little older than Maddie and he tries to keep rather distant, but there was always this feeling like he had another agenda in mind. I won't say anything else on the subject now except that it took awhile for me to finally come to his side and when I did, a part of me fell for him too.  

In the ever increasing online life we are all beginning to lead, Katie Kacvinsky's novel delivers a message... or really a warning if you will of our increasingly online society and how it is shaping us. Just like Maddie, you'll be left questioning yourself, and weighing the pros and cons of such an active online persona. Add on top a novel that has themes regarding coming into your own as a teenager and first love... and I think Awaken is a novel that many will enjoy. 

And for those who are still a bit iffy about the dystopian genre, think of Awaken as more of a futuristic YA fiction novel than anything else. For while the society in the novel definitely has its faults... when you think about, is it really so far off than the way ours seems to be heading towards?

****

Tomorrow, I'll be posting my author interview with Katie Kacvinsky so be on the lookout for it!

So now it's time for the giveaway! As part of "A Cornucopia of Dystopia!" I will be giving away the ARC of Awaken currently in my possession to one lucky person! This giveaway will be INTERNATIONAL and while you don't have to be a follower to enter, the gesture would be appreciated. Your last day to enter the contest is APRIL 18, 2011, which is the final day of the event. I'll choose a winner using a random number generator and email them for their mailing address, after which point, they'll have 48 hours give or take to respond back. 

And yes, you'll get an extra entry just for commenting on this post! Good luck!  

-GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED-
-> Winner has been announced! <-

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57 comments

  1. This book sounds so good! It's actually pretty creepy that this could be what the future looks like with people doing more and more online.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  2. Thank you so much for hosting an international giveaway! I want to hug you for that! =D

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  3. As soon as I read the synopsis for Awaken, I began making connections to our own society. I think the message here is very powerful.

    Great review Liz!! I'm definitely looking forward to reading Awaken :)

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  4. I´ve read Awaken through Netgalley and I loved it. I would love to have my own copy, thank you for the giveaway

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  5. Excellent review. I've been wondering about this one. All the hype has gone to Wither and this one got shuffled to the back. Sounds great!!

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  6. I've been so excited to read this you have no idea! Other than the insta-love I like how it's got that message behind it. I'll definitely be checking out your interview with Katie! And thanks so much for the giveaway :]

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  7. This is my first time reading about this book. It looks pretty interesting. I am definitely going to check it out! Thanks for the great review.

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  8. You pretty much nailed my thoughts! I thought the world building was very realistic but didn't think the characterization was as strong. I also thought Maddie fell a little too easily in love with Justin and was surprised at how she trusted him right away despite her personal and family history. Excellent review, Liz!

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  9. Cool cover! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  10. Wonderful giveaway! I've been looking forward to reading this new dystopian book!

    http://dystopiandesserts.blogspot.com/

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  11. Awesome review! Thank you for sharing and for the awesome opportunity!<3

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  12. For the most part, I really enjoyed this book, too. I'm glad to see it worked for you! Fab review :)

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  13. I love any form of dystopian book and I can't wait to read this one! Thanks for the giveaway!
    lexie.bookbug at gmail dot com

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  14. Great giveaway and I love the review, sounds like a great book
    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

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  15. Before there's a sudden trend... there's no need to leave your email in the comments! I'll get it once you fill out the form. :)

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  16. Awesome review! Thanks so much for the giveaway!!

    Rachel Leigh
    TheOneRing111 at gmail dot com

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  17. Thanks for the contest!! This book looks so good :)
    And your review was great!

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  18. Thanks for the giveaway Liz!
    Can't wait to read this book. :)

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  19. Thanks for the awesome giveaway! I was totally sucked in by the cover (yeah, shallow, I know) :P

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  20. This one sounds pretty good... not necessarily amazing, but I've seen fairly decent reviews for it all around. I definitely want to give it a read at some point.

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  21. Great post. Book has an amazing story and I love the cover.

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  22. Great review! I'm looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  23. thank you for giveaway, this book has such a lovely cover!

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  24. Thanks for this giveaway! I want to read awaken either way, maybe I'll be the lucky person who gets it for free ;)

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  25. great review! i'm a huge fan of dysotopian/futuristic YA novels, Awaken has been on my wishlist for the longtest time! Thank you for this giaveaway :)

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  26. Love dystopian books. Great book for the 2011 dystopian challenge. thanks for the giveaway.

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  27. I want to read this book for ages! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  28. Oh my goodness this book has been on my to-read list for like forever!!! Thanks for the super amazing giveaway!!

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  29. I just love dystopian books! And I can't wait to read this one! It sounds so good!

    Thanks so much for this awesome giveaway! :) <3

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  30. Interesting review :)

    I was initially put off reading this book because it seems so much like the society we already live in but then this just made me want to read it because I think it'll be interesting to compare and review!

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  31. I'm really looking forward to reading this, great review :-)

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  32. Thanks for the giveaway! Your review made me want to read it now. Seems like a really interesting book! :)

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  33. thanks for this wonderful giveaway!! your review's great I would love to read this book;))

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  34. Such a pretty cover for this book, I am excited about it and eagerly waiting to read it. Hee. Thank you, so much for being so generous with this giveaway. Whoever gets it, will be totally lucky.

    And yeah, may or may not possibly be stalking your blog. Hee. It's fun like that. ;)

    Suz @ A Soul Unsung

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  35. International giveaways make my heart sing ... in the coolest possible (or at least epic-Disney) sense! Ta for this!

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  36. Thank you so much for the chance.
    I have been waiting for this book.

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  37. Your review is great and the book sounds very interesting.

    Thanks for making this giveaway international!

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  38. Thanks for the chance!!!
    I'm looking forward to read this book.

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  39. Thanks so much for this giveaway and for the review. I am so into dystopia. I am so glad that I found the Cornucopia of Dystopia. Totally awesome event.

    Jennifer

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  40. I just saw this giveaway and I knew I had to enter! Thanks for the giveaway- I'm a huge dystopia fan :)

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  41. I love Dystopia novels! They are one of my favorites! Thanks so much for the giveaway!

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  42. Thank you sooo much for this amazing giveaway! I've been wanting to read this book for a long while now and I think the whole premise is very unusual and interesting. Love dystopians!

    sarahDOTsetarATgmailDOTcom

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  43. Great review, I'm definitely adding this to my TBR pile!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    Baggins

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  44. A great review! Thanks for the giveaway! I love the book cover! Will definitely check this out.

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  45. wowee thanks for giving this away! This sounds awesome. I haven't read many dystopians in a while!

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  46. You're review makes me even more excited for this book!

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  47. Really thank you for this giveaway!!!=)

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  48. Thanks for the giveaway!!!!! <3

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  49. I'm fascinated by the premise of the book since technology is becoming an increasingly integral part of our lives. Thank you for hosting this giveaway as part of the event :)

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  50. It's a shame about the flat characters but the fabulous premise makes up for it! Thanks you for the giveaway :)

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  51. Thank you for hosting this great giveaway. This book is on my 101 in 1001 to read list :)

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  52. Thanks for the giveaway! Really want to read this book!

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