After I posted my review of Middle Ground, I had a few people ask me about Awaken...the first book in the series. Here is a copy of the review I posted on Book Nerds Across America.
Awaken is set about 50 years into the future. From the way technology is moving at the speed of light and people are embracing it without thought or question, I do not feel that Katie's predictions are unrealistic.
I found this book to be very thought provoking. How many times have you been out with friends or family and spent more time with your head in your phone than interacting with the people you are with? Are your virtual friends more important than your actual friends? What do you REALLY know about your thousands of friends on twitter, blogs, and other social networking sites. Is technology making face to face contact awkward and uncomfortable? Is it time that we take a step back and actually become "unplugged?"
This is exactly what Justin and his friends are trying to do. They are helping people who want to live the way things were in the early 2000s, which is considered to be a crime. Life doesn't have to be ALL about speed and convenience. We need to take the time to enjoy food, friends, family, and daily activities. We need to take a step away from the digital world and actually LIVE our lives. Yes...we can tour a location on a digital screen, but we are not engaging all of our senses and we are missing out on the true experience. These are just a few of the lessons that I took away from this book and could really relate to while reading it.
The other main character in this book is Madeline. Her father is the founder of Digital School, but she is a strong supporter of Justin's cause. While Justin is helping others to live freely, he is all about work and has closed himself off on a personal level. Madeline is the one person that confronted him about how he needs to take time for himself. There needs to be a balance in life. For the first time in his life, Justin spends more than a day in one place. He begins to develop a relationship with Madeline, but he is still learning how to become unplugged emotionally.
Madeline and Justin's relationship is still evolving and there is a considerable amount of work that still needs to be done if the world is truly going to become unplugged. Fortunately for us, Katie has a sequel to this book, Middle Ground, which is scheduled to be released in the fall of 2012. I have already added it to my to be read list and will be anxiously awaiting its release. I absolutely loved the characters and can't wait to see what is in store for them in the sequel.