Awaken by Katie KacvinskyAwaken by Katie Kacvinsky


byKatie Kacvinsky

Paperback | April 17, 2012

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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.&nbsp
Katie Kacvinsky worked as a model and a high school English teacher before deciding to write full time. She currently lives in Corvallis, Oregon. Awaken is her debut novel.
Title:AwakenFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.77 inPublished:April 17, 2012Publisher:Houghton Mifflin HarcourtLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0547721986

ISBN - 13:9780547721989


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing!!! It is a really great book. But it is too bad that the third book only came out in an ebook format.
Date published: 2016-12-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pretty Good Interesting book. Look forward to reading the next one in the series.
Date published: 2016-11-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I loved it! I bought this book about a year ago and have read all three now. Such an intriguing spiral of events. The character development was so good, and you really feel connected with them. Just caring and worrying so much as to what would happen. Perfect details, suspense, and just overall good book!
Date published: 2016-11-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Middle ground Is there a third book? Weird ending,
Date published: 2014-05-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A great sequel! There’s something about Middle Ground’s world and society that makes you want to question how we use technology in our every day lives. This is why I found this book so realistic. Maddie does seem to make rash decisions in this one and I couldn’t help but shake my head when she did it. Even though the story continued on, I felt that the society and the plot that was in the first book, Awaken went on pause. This might even be a filler book (as most second books are!), where the emphasis is on the characters and their development. But rest assured, I wasn’t bored at all. There was meaning behind everything that Maddie did. And the romance did get a little steamy at times, but it was appropriate for most readers. Overall, I was satisfied with the continuation, but I was looking for so much more. Quotes “But isn’t what we do, not what we own, that makes a difference? Isn’t how we treat people, not how we appear, that makes us attractive?” (4) “You could sit around and wait for life to happen or you could get busy and make it happen yourself.” (87) “People don’t appreciate each other when they’re alive. Why would they go out of their way for someone who’s dead?”—Justin (191) “I was beginning to believe friends could replace family. When it comes down to it, you want to be around people who appreciate you.” (196) “It’s easy to forget other people are suffering when your own life is secure and comfortable and perfect.” (248) “Letting go is easy. Anyone can do that. Love is fighting for someone to stay.” (320)
Date published: 2013-09-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Awaken A good book over all but can get slightly boring at times
Date published: 2013-04-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A scary vision of a very real possible reality! Well it isn't often that I like a second book more than the first in a series, but in this case. Wow. This one just kept me reading even more than the first, and I did like the first, I just liked this one more! Katie Kacvinsky ones again tells a tale that is creepy just from the fact that it could be true. Society could become dependant so much on technology in 50 years that nobody really leaves home any more and it's scary to think of. It's definitely a series that makes you think! Plus it's sci-fi/dystopia, it's a great genre! One of the things I liked about this book other than how realistic it could be is Maddie. She is unbelievably brave in this book. She is literally tortured mentally and still manages to hold onto herself and not be brainwashed, with the help of her friends of course. She can even escape the detention center, but stays to help others. She struggles with it for sure and nearly breaks more than once. I felt afraid for her more than once! She's just a really strong character who fights for what she believes in. Also, she has great taste in men (even if I wanted to smack him for being stupid sometimes!) Overall, this is a fairly fast paced story. I had a very hard time putting this one down and am pretty anxious to know what's going to happen next. Kacvinsky really does a great job keeping the reader entertained and making a world that you can easily imagine and place yourself into to connect with the characters. Definitely one I will be recommending! *A copy was provided by the publisher for review*
Date published: 2013-01-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Intriguing concept! I've had my eyes on Awaken for some time now, and I finally got to read it. Happy to say that I really liked it! The first thing about Awaken that got my attention, besides the pretty cover, is the story. Set in 2060, everything and everyone has a life that revolves around technology. You exercise in front of a screen, go to online school, a machine spits out your food, and the grass and trees are artificial thanks to ever expanding architecture. It's a scenario that I was really intrigued by; who doesn't want to not have to cook everyday, and hey, online classes can definitely be welcome sometimes. But there are two sides to every coin, and Awaken had a harsh one. No one leaves their houses anymore. What for? Everything they could need or want can be accomplished thanks to a computer. Socialization and interaction are almost non-existent, even within households, with people actually becoming scared to go outside. We meet Maddie, the daughter of the man who created DS, Digital School, the mastermind behind the lowest crime rates, birth rates and dropouts ever. His technology has changed the world, but for the better or worse? Maddie is seriously conflicted about this--she doesn't like to be controlled by her father, or associated with him and his work, but she's also just as hooked to her screens as the next person. Her confusion about which side she supported really resonated because even though the Digital Schools were helpful in a way, like giving education to everyone, they also came with big negatives, which became clearer as the story progressed, like taking away certain freedoms or personal privacy. Her dad might've had a great idea but he was going about it all wrong. Maddie took some serious risks during the novel and I couldn't help but hope she came out alright. You clearly get to see her growth as she learns how to 'live' again and interact with the 'real' world. And we come to Justin. He was great, he really was, I just wish I got to see more of that sooner. The first thing I realized about Justin is that he had an agenda, a straight path in his mind that he didn't like to wander off of. He was also very clear cut in his dislike of DS, but so much so that it got a little repetitive. I wanted to roll my eyes like a scolded child and say 'alright, I get it already!' It gets better towards the last quarter or so of the book when his shell starts to crack, and you will like what you see! Awaken progressed reasonably well, I was never bored with anything and I really liked the little scenes, for example, when Maddie would talk to her mom about books (no real paper!) and trees, or she would really start to question her lifestyle, and especially when she and Justin finally finally opened up to each other. I did, however, feel Maddie fell really hard for Justin too fast and I really didn't know anything about how Justin felt towards her until very far in the book. It felt sort of unbalanced in a way. Yes, Awaken has a few flaws but overall it was a great read with a possible look at what could be our future. Maddie's never known anything different but being with her as her eyes are opened to what's around her and how the world's changed is enthralling. And I'm happy to say there will be a sequel! The ending was far too open so I'm excited to see what awaits Maddie in the next leg of her journey in Middle Ground. Check this one out! Review originally here:
Date published: 2011-08-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Society Seemingly Not Too Far Off From Our Own... 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? You can also read this review at:
Date published: 2011-03-27

Read from the Book

May 7, 2060 My mom gave me an old leather-bound journal for my seventeenthbirthday. At first the blank pages surprised me, as if the story insidewas lost or had slipped out. She explained sometimes the story issupposed to be missing because it’s still waiting to be written. Leaveit to my mom to give me something from the past to use in thefuture. They don’t make paper books anymore—it’s illegal to chop downreal trees. They still grow in some parts of the world, but I’ve neverseen one. Most cities have switched to synthetic trees, and peopleprefer them to the living ones. Synthetic trees come shipped to yourhouse in any size you want, so you don’t have to wait fifteen years forthem to grow. Now you shop online and choose your desired size andheight, and in days you have a full-grown tree in your yard, cementedinto the ground and supported with steel beams anchoredinto the base. Instant. Simple. No fuss. Synthetic trees never die. They don’t wither in the fall. You don’thave a mess of leaves and needles to sweep up. They’re fireproof. Theydon’t cause allergies. And they’re always perfectly green ( has the best synthetic tree selection, according to my mom). Theleaves can fade a little from the sun, but you just spray-paint themgreen again. During Halloween, people spray-paint the leaves ontheir trees yellow, orange, and red. It’s the colors leaves used to turnbefore they fell to the ground. My mom said she can remember seeingthe fall colors when she was young. She said it was the most beautifultime of the year. It’s hard to imagine anything becoming beautifulas it dies. Then again, it’s hard to imagine much that Mom insists used to “be.” When trees were dying offin fires and overharvested, books werethe first to go. These days books are downloaded digitally and youcan order any book you want to be uploaded into your Bookbag inseconds, which I convert onto my Zipfeed. It reads the words outloud to me on my computer. Simple. Convenient. I know how toread, of course. We learn it in Digital School 2. I still read my chatmessages on my phone. But it was proven that audio learning is afaster way to retain information, according to some Ph.D. researcherswho studied rats in a cage. By observing rats they figured out thebest way for humans to learn. Some politician thought this theorysounded glamorous, so they changed a law that changed the world.That’s why I listen to almost all of my books. I didn’t escape the chore of using my eyes to read. Mom stillenforces it. She saved all her old novels and stores them in thesewooden cabinets with glass doors called bookshelves. Every year shehands down a few of her favorites to me. I have a collection slowlybuilding in my bedroom. I have to admit, I like the look of them. Ialso like to escape inside their world, tucked behind their colorfulspines. It forces me to fully invest my mind into what I’m doing, notjust my ears or my eyes. I think barricading them behind glass is alittle obsessive, but Mom says the paper in books will yellow if they’reexposed to air. Just like the leaves on the trees that couldn’t survive inthis world. Hey, if you can’t acclimate, you disintegrate. I learnedthat in Digital School 3. So, you can imagine my surprise when my mom gave me a blankbook. I rarely see a book with print in it, and now a blank one—whata waste. No wonder we killed all the trees. And I’m supposed towrite in this thing. Longhand. It’s this form of writing using ink onpaper. It’s so slow! It makes me laugh watching people do it in oldmovies. It hasn’t been used in twenty years. We learn it in school, butit’s simulated on our flipscreens. Only specialty online stores sell inkpens, but leave it to my mom to invest in this historic item. “Madeline,”she told me, “it’s good for you to write down your thoughts.It’s therapeutic because it forces you to slow down and think aboutlife.” I feel guilty writing on this paper, staining something with wordswhen maybe it’s their emptiness, the fact that they’re unscathed, that’smore interesting than anything I have to say. My life is far fromremarkable. Sadly, it’s the other extreme. It is predictable. Controlled.Mandated. Paved out for me in a trail I’m forced to follow. Why should I take the time to write down my thoughts when noone else can even read them? I’m used to millions of people havingaccess to everything about me. I’m used to a fountain of feedbackand comments trailing every entry I type, every thought I expose.That makes me feel justified. It shows that people genuinely careabout me. It reminds me that I’m real and I exist. Why try to hide itall in a book? Besides, there are no secrets. Sooner or later, the truthalways leaks out. That’s one thing I’ve learned in this life. 1Chapter one I pulled a sweatshirt over my head, and just as I opened my bedroomdoor, I was distracted by a red light flashing on my computer.I was running late, but the glow of the light caught myattention and held me in place like a net. I programmed my screento flash different colors depending on who was calling. I knew redcould only mean one person. I sat down and tapped the light withmy finger and a single white sentence dissolved on the screen. Are you going to be there tonight? I read Justin’s question and bit my lips together. My mind toldme to say no. That answer would please my father. He trained meto squeeze my thoughts through a filter so my decisions came outacceptable and obedient. But lately it was making me feel weak,like my mind wasn’t reallymineanymore, just a program to manipulate.That’s why this time, I was tempted to say yes. I met Justin two months ago on TutorPage—it’sa live chatroomfor students to get help on homework assignments. We were bothstuck on writing a thesis sentence for our literary analysis paper, arequirement in Digital School 4. Since the tutor was being swarmedwith questions and Justin and I had the same problem, we figuredit out together. I remember him writing the oddest comment thatday. He wrote, “Two brains are better than one.” It was strangebecause you can go through all of DS-4 without even looking atanother person, let alone working with someone. One of the perksto a digital life is it forces you to be independent. Justin and I coordinated to study two days a week together andthen he started sending me invites to face-to-face tutor sessionsheld in downtown Corvallis. When he assured me the groups weresmall, but could be helpful, I still dreaded the idea of meeting himin public. I’m used to the security of living behind my online profilesand the clip art advertisements I create to define me. I can bewhoever I want to be in that world. I can be funny, deep, pensive,eccentric. I can be the best version of myself. Better yet, an exaggerationof the best version of myself. I can make all the right decisions.I can delete my flaws by pressing a button. In the real world anything can happen. It’s like stepping ontoan icy surface—you have to adjust your footing or you’ll slip andfall. Your movements become rigid and unsure because behind allthe fancy gadgets and all that digital armor, you realize you’rejust flesh and bones. I stared back at the screen where his words floated patientlyand a strange feeling, like a shot of adrenaline, pushed throughmy blood. I knew I had to meet him tonight. Intuition worksclosely alongside fate, like they’re business partners working togetherto alter the course of your life. I spoke my answer out loud and my voice was automaticallyconverted into a digital message. I decided maybe was the best response, just in case I lost mynerve. I hit send and a second later he responded. Life is too short to say maybe. I narrowed my eyes at the screen. Why was he pushing this? Whycouldn’t he let me be noncommittal and leave me alone about it? Why are you going out of your way to meet me? I asked. Why are you going out of your way to avoid it? I’ve been grounded for a while. I hesitated before I hit send. I’dnever opened up to Justin about my personal life. We always keptour relationship safe—bobbing just on the surface. A while? As in a few weeks? he asked. I laughed, but it came out sounding flat and humorless. Trytwo and a half years, I thought. I decided he didn’t need to knowthis detail. It’s easy to delete the truth when you live behind yourown permanent censor. Something like that, I said. What did you do? I have a rebellious streak. That’s a little vague, he said. I frowned at the screen. I’m not going to dish out my life story toan online stranger. Then I think it’s about time we meet, he said. I bit my nails when this sentence appeared. I focused on thewords. They sounded so simple. But just when I believed somethingwas simple, there was always more lurking underneath. I’ll be there, I said, and hit send before I could change my mind. I hopped out of the chair, grabbed my soccer cleats, and randownstairs to the kitchen. Dad glanced at me from the table wherehe was reading the news on our wall screen. My mom sat next tohim, reading a magazine—she insists on having the hard copy,printed on plastic paper. She’s the only person I know who complainsthat computer screens hurt her eyes. Dad examined the shoes I was holding with disapproval. “I thought your season was over,” he said. I felt my hands tighten around the shoes and I kept my eyesfocused steadily on his. We had the same large, penetrating eyes,the color of swirling gray clouds with flecks of green floatingnear the pupils. When my dad was angry, his eyes turned asdark as storm clouds just before they erupt into a downpour.He could use his eyes to intimidate, to persuade, or to demandrespect. I hadn’t mastered those traits; my eyes only seemed to giveme away. “The league goes year-round,” Mom pointed out to him. He leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest. “Did we talk about you playing soccer year-round, Maddie? Ithought you were just playing fall and winter leagues.” I kept my eyes locked on his. He tried too often to make meduck under his discipline. Baley, our chocolate Lab, wagged hertail next to me and I bent down to scratch her ears. “The spring league just started,” I said. “It’s only once a week.I didn’t think it was a big deal.” “It’s a little expensive,” he said. I tried not to roll my eyes since I knew my dad made moremoney than ten families would know what to do with, being thedirector of Digital School, Inc. The curriculum, medium, andcontent of what I learned—and where and when I learned it—wasoverseen and instituted by the signature of my father’s hand.It was also his power and connections that got me in trouble twoand a half years ago and created the constant rift of distrust in ourrelationship. Half of the time he didn’t seem like a father to me,more like security enforcement. “She’s seventeen, Kevin,” Mom said. “Didn’t we agree to lether socialize more often?” I stared between them and tightenedmy lips. I hated it when they talked about me like I wasn’t standingin the same room, like I’m a piece of clay they have to mold inorder to hold a shape. “I guess you’re right,” he finally agreed. I nodded once and thanked him. I raced out the front door andran down the sidewalk to try and catch the train. The air was warmand the sun was finally making its spring entrance, after a longwinter of hibernation. Rays of light peered through the branchesabove me and painted a splattering of bright and dull colors on theturf grass below. The tower of green leaves crinkled in the breeze asI passed. I met the train just as it pulled to a stop on HamersleyStreet. I jumped on and scanned my fingerprint against a tinyscreen as the doors beeped shut behind me. Erin sat by the window in the back of the compartment. Shewas watching something on her phone and nodding her head tothe music floating out of the speakers. “Hey,” I said, and plopped down in the seat next to her. I tookmy phone out of my pocket to check a message. “You almost missed the train,” she said without looking up.“That’s not like you.” I was distracted by a digital advertisement playing on a screeninside the compartment. A middle-aged man dressed in khakishorts and a white T-shirt promised me I could transform my entirelawn into a colorful flower garden in five easy steps. I watchedhim roll out a thick carpeting of plastic grass speckled with fakeflowers and staple it into the ground. “Why were you late?” Erin asked. “My dad wanted to have a little chat,” I said. She smirked and pressed a few buttons on her keypad.“What now?” I tapped my foot restlessly against the rubber floor mat. “Oh,he just needs reassurance he’s in complete control of every facet ofmy life.” Erin creased her eyebrows and continued to type. “He doesn’ttrust you to play soccer?” she asked. I shrugged. “It’s unsupervised, it’s liberating,” I reminded her.“He hates that.” When the train slowed to our stop, we jumped offand crossedthe sidewalk to the turf soccer fields. I heard whistling in the distanceand Erin and I looked up to see a small school of black birdssoaring overhead. Their small inky bodies formed a moving arrowin the sky, like a kite with no strings attached to reel it back downto the ground. Seeing birds in the city was rare, since all the treesand gardens were synthetic, but once in a while they passed throughand I always took it as a sign that something exceptional was aboutto happen. I looked down at the dark outline of a bird tattooed on theinside of my wrist, where the skin is delicate and the veins arethick. I ran my finger along its outstretched wings and smiled.Every time I looked at my tattoo I was reminded of the person Iwanted to be. Someone that’s free to move. Someone that’s toospirited to be caged in. Erin and I sat down on the grass to stretch. We were the onlytwo players that showed up early for practice every week. “So, are you meeting Justin tonight?” she asked me with a grin.I frowned to show her, for the tenth time, it was not a date. “It’s just a study group,” I reminded her. Her phone beeped and she started typing a message. “Do youknow what he looks like?” I shook my head and told her we both used face-free chatting.I never revealed my real picture online. Now that I thought aboutit, most of my contacts (or friends as some people refer to them)didn’t even know what I looked like. They saw cartoons, photographs,and clip art images that illustrated the idea of me. “We never get personal,” I told her. “I don’t know anythingabout him except he has trouble writing thesis statements and conclusionparagraphs. He doesn’t even know my real name,” I addedwith a grin. Erin set her phone down and met my eyes for the first timetoday. “You created a fake profile for a tutor site? Why bother?” I shrugged and stretched my legs. “I want privacy,” I told her.“My dad’s practically a celebrity, but I don’t want people to assumejust because I’m his daughter I agree with everything he’sdoing. Besides, I never expected to meet Justin in person. I figuredwe’d study for a few classes and be done.” She shook her head with amusement. “Does he even knowyou’re a girl?” she asked. I couldn’t help but smile. “I guess we’ll find out.”

Editorial Reviews

Fans of Oliver's Delirium will appreciate this story of a girl subverting social strictures through forbidden relationships, but the wild chase scenes and richly developed characters make it a sure sell across the board." - BCCB "This book could not have been more perfect."-Kaci Carpenter, teen YALSA reviewer"