|Amazing cover - love it!|
I am a cover shopper, like many of you. I looked at this book during several trips to B&N, and I finally I gave in. After reading the jacket I thought, "Okay, I'll bite. Let's see if this is worth my time." Then I read the opening entry. I was hooked.
What will 2060 be like for the younger generation? Will you be asleep behind a world of technology, or will you awaken and be a part of the world? This is the basic premise for Kacvinsky's debut novel.
Maddie is seventeen, the heiress to Digital School, and living a normal, technology-driven life. With all the tragedy that has befallen the country, school is now only through digital means. It is the only way to keep the children safe while they learn. But is this the really the ideal way to learn, to live?
Enter Justin. He is the opposite of Maddie. He prefers the company of others and for fighting what he believes in - a world that coexists with technology, not one that solely lives through it. Justin opens Maddie's eyes in more than one way, but are they really so different?
Maddie is a strong heroine. We experience Maddie's awakening to the world around her courtesy of Justin. His character is not as developed as Maddie's; he is much more guarded. I expect that reveal to happen in the next novel. But all the same, he is still a great character. He is the picture of selflessness, and while he helps Maddie try to embrace the world around her, she tries to help him do the same.
When I started reading this novel, I was listening to Matched as well. This was a mistake because both books have similarities. I found myself having to take a break from both to collect my thoughts and to keep the premises separate.Then, chapter fourteen happened. When I read that chapter, I could not put this book down - at all. I realized that Kacvinsky was spending the first thirteen chapters to prepare me for this one. The way she pushes the plot forward really worked for me. If you're reading it going, "Okay, where is she going with this?" Hang on for that chapter. That is when it all came to fruition for me. That is when I decided I love this book.
There, I said it. I love this book. I love the chemistry between Maddie and Justin. I love the premise of the novel. I love the development of the bigger picture, one that steps beyond Maddie and Justin. I shudder at the fact that the society that has been created is one that could be our future. This alone makes this a great YA read, a great discussion piece in the classroom.
What draws me into this book is how applicable it is to today's society with so many already living behind a screen. I am anxiously awaiting the sequel to this novel, Middle Ground, to see where Kacvinsky takes me next. Will we move forward as a society and re-embrace a life of socialization, or will we continue to live life through technology?
On a final note, I want to share this quote with you. It solidifies what made me (1) buy this book and (2) why I love it. This quote means more now that I've read the novel. I recommend that when you finish the book, go back and read the opening entry one more time. Enjoy!
Maddie is discussing the fact that her mother has given her a blank journal to write long hand:
"Why should I take the time to write down my thoughts when no one else can even read them? I'm used to millions of people having access to everything about me. I'm used to a fountain of feedback and comments trailing every entry I type, every thought I expose.That makes me feel justified. It shows that people genuinely care about me. It reminds me that I'm real and I exist.Why try to hide it all in a book? Besides, there are no secrets. Sooner or later, the truth always leaks out. That's one thing I've learned in this life."
Does this sound familiar?