Kirkus Reviews QR Code
AWAKEN by Katie Kacvinsky

AWAKEN

By Katie Kacvinsky

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: May 23rd, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-547-37148-1
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Can love exist in a digital age? It’s 2060, and American teens are educated at home via DS—digital school. Few venture outside their comfortable virtual worlds, but 17-year-old Maddie leads a life even more confined than most. She’s been grounded for years—punishment for serious digital misbehavior—and despite a sympathetic mom, her dad, architect of the DS system, won’t let Maddie off the hook yet. Then, at a face-to-face tutoring session, she meets her digital-study–buddy Justin, who introduces her to a new world, the three-dimensional one. Thoroughly smitten, Maddie allows Justin and his cohorts to draw her into their conspiracy to end DS for good. The futuristic and political trappings make little sense (DS was instituted to end violence in American schools, including mass killings of elementary schoolchildren by terrorists aiming to curb overpopulation). However, as the title hints, this debut’s true subject is romantic awakening. Before readers can succumb to disbelief, the narrative shifts to Maddie’s dawning attraction to Justin and the natural world he represents, following her sensual voyage of discovery and exploration of first love’s frustrations and joys. Among the pleasures of this high-tech fairy tale are Maddie’s initiative, courage and independent spirit, stoutly risking rejection in pursuit of her heart’s desire. (Science fiction/romance. 12 & up)