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Wide Awake

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,099 Ratings  ·  271 Reviews
"I can't believe there's going to be a gay Jewish president."

As my mother said this, she looked at my father, who was still staring at the screen. They were shocked, barely comprehending.

Me? I sat there and beamed.

Everything seems to be going right in Duncan's life: The candidate he's been supporting for president has just won the election. Duncan's boyfriend, Jimmy, is
Paperback, 221 pages
Published September 9th 2008 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published September 12th 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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I want you to believe me when I say that David Levithan really is one of the best writers in YA. I won't pretend he's consistent, but when he's at his best (Every Day, Will Grayson Will Grayson, Love is the Higher Law), he creates complex characters, with strong voices, and unique premises that only could've come from him. He's also one of the best writers of LGBT fiction I can think of, except maybe Malinda Lo. He's one of the few authors who really explores the different people that identify a ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Christian C. for

Decades from today, the results of the election are out, and for the first time in the history of the United States, a gay, Jewish president, Abraham Stein, has been elected. After the Greater Depression, the War to End All Wars, the Reign of Fear, and the Jesus Revolution, the moment has arrived. Seventeen-year-old Duncan, who has spent the last few months working with his boyfriend, Jimmy, as a volunteer at the campaign headquarters, can finally sta
Sean Kennedy
Oct 04, 2010 Sean Kennedy rated it liked it
The two books I have read from David Levithan so far have required quite a bit of suspension of disbelief - in "Boy Meets Boy" it was a bit easier to get over the initial resistance to it, but "Wide Awake" suffers because of it. It's a shame, because it could have been a truly great and inspiring YA novel. Levithan's world-building always seems to push a bit too far - my first stumbling block was the notion that in the future we no longer shop for stuff, but just go to look at them and then dona ...more
Cara M
Aug 30, 2011 Cara M rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
David Levithan was recommended to me as an author who could write about homosexuality front and center and give it a happy ending. But this book was not really what I was looking for. It was an interesting journal of a political movement, but honestly, it was really a one note samba. It definitely wanted to give a positive message, but the nuance it had in the beginning was swept away as Duncan joined the protest.
In the end, the only thing i found convincing about the book was the relationships.
Nov 25, 2011 Nicole rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: not too sure
Can it be historical fiction if it's set in a fictional future? Because this book is all about making the future. When a gay Jewish man becomes president. You know, when that happens. Someday. Maybe. Possibly...

This was not my favorite Levithan and I've been trying to work out why this book didn't sear into my soul like his other books. (Alright, maybe not my soul, but definitely into my beneath the surface emotions. Definitely there.)

I think it's because this book felt like a proje
Jul 11, 2009 Lydia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-read, ya-lgbt
This is a most interesting YA read.

The U.S. has an elected a gay, Jewish president -- or so it seems until Kansas decides maybe the count is off. The group of 16-yr old teens who worked so hard on the campaign are devastated, just as the "Decents" who opposed the candidate are. The tag line of the book is "What are you willing to do for what you believe in?"

Levithan is an excellent writer and may have missed his calling when he decided not to become a political speechwriter (the speeches by the
There are three things about David Levithan's books that I adore: the tenderness with which the protagonist views the world, the writing that has so much energy it seems to pop off the page, and finally, the creation of a world that is so idealistic and believable that I want to pack my bags and move to it. It's the last one that I had a problem with in this book.

Wide Awake is set sometime in the distant future where teens hang out at non-shopping malls and give their money to charity rather tha
Oct 22, 2009 Lindi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Umm -- slow day at work, so I read my first Levithan. I know, I'm embarrassed on two fronts.

Yes, it's super-idealistic, but why not? Isn't that what this country is all about? It was founded in idealism and I just keep wondering, where is our outrage? I sleepwalked through the Bush presidency. I could not believe that I lived in a country where he was elected! Eight years and I didn't do anything, not really, to express my dismay. Well, I love that David Levithan imagines a better world and desc
Sep 01, 2008 Deb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone should read this book. If 1984 shows us how bad the world can get, this book shows us how good things can get, gives hope that ultimately we humans, though we do bad things, will pull together for the good of everyone.
Feb 23, 2015 Leo marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
I'm not in the mood to continue reading this right now and I hate having it as "currently-reading" on my main page because there's too many books and I get stressed, so I'm shelving as "abandoned" for now.
A sweet, fluffy, teen angst set in a foreseeable future. The Greater Depression has passed, the War to End All Wars has ended, and the Jesus Revolution has swept through America giving people an optimism and sense of community that unites as much as it divides the Jesus Freaks from those who prefer a more Westboro Baptist style of religion. The Presidential Election is being contested and those who support the man elected must take a stand to ensure his victory is not taken away by those who opp ...more
Ashley Farley
May 08, 2013 Ashley Farley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For such a short read this book contains an alarming amount of brilliant ideas and predictions for our countries not too distance future. I would love to see the day were a Jewish gay president is elected into office. It's amazing that this book was originally published in 2006 and how it holds even more true today. Levithan's insight is incredibly although I feel that his optimism is a bit too strong. As much as I would love nothing more than to see our society progress to a "greater community" ...more
Mar 19, 2013 Kat rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, fantasy, glbt, 2013-reads
Reading the synopsis of Wide Awake, I found it difficult to see how David Levithan could pack religion, politics and sexuality into a book that's just over 200 pages long and make it meaningful. It's a minefield of hot topics that could have been awkward, preachy or uncomfortably controversial.

But in true David Levithan style, he takes a story and completely ensnared me in the life of Duncan, his boyfriend Jimmy, his friends and a cast of characters caught up in the election of the first gay Jew
Aug 30, 2014 Mersini rated it liked it
Honestly, not really impressed by this novel. As far as the Goodreads rating system goes, I should probably give it 2 stars, but I feel that doesn't really show how I feel about it, so 3 it is. Basically, this is a novel about history in the making - in the future. It's a little confusing, I suppose, but not so much when you read it.

The problem I have here is that Levithan's characters are so one dimensional they're practically stereotypes. Not quite, but almost. In a young adult novel, is it t
Princess De Leon
Making this quick and short because it's been four days since I've read the book and a crossover between Rise of the Guardians and How to Tame your Dragons is waiting for me in another tab. I will say sorry in advance for such a halfhearted review

A Gay Jewish President? Well, I'm not as surprised after reading Boy Meets Boy. It's idealistic. Fantastical. Impractical. And Fanciful. But nevertheless, pretty good once you wrap your mind around the fact that it's fiction and decide to

Gotta admit it
Dec 04, 2013 Talia rated it really liked it
I'm a fan of David Levithan. His characters feel like old friends from the very beginning of his books. Duncan and Jimmy are no exception - their relationship isn't perfect, but it is beautiful and lyrical and touching.

The story, centering around a contested election involving the first gay Jewish president, definitely made me think and wonder about the future. Could this be possible someday? If this could be possible, what else about our world could change? I enjoy finding books that ask big q
Nov 26, 2007 Jean rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What happens to good book ideas when they go bad? If you are a respected author/editor like David Levithan, they get published anyway. I really wanted to like this book. I'm from Kansas and I'm reasonably liberal, so a book based on the premise that in the future a Gay man or a Jewish man (or a combo) can run on a ticket with a Black/Latina/Lesbian for the President of the US is something that I thought I would enjoy. Unfortunately, Levithan got carried away with himself and his cleverness. Ther ...more
May 18, 2009 Dawn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, ya, waste
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Theresa Flores
Jan 30, 2014 Theresa Flores rated it really liked it
Shelves: with-review, owned
3.75 stars.

Wide Awake is a novel about America's first gay Jewish President and how Jimmy and Duncan, along with a thousand others, became a part of a huge historical event.

Quick and easy to read. I liked the plot-- simple but unique and interesting enough, for me. I also liked the mix of politics and all those political speeches from different characters in the novel. One minor character in the novel also stood out for me--- namely, Sue. He had a very minor part in the novel but he was defini
May 21, 2014 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Near-future story starts with a gay Jewish man being elected president, and focuses on a sixteen-year-old gay Jewish boy who is inspired and willing to work to make sure the election is validated. The story was interesting, but none of the characters were drawn very deeply. The main character, particularly, seemed more like an observer, rarely speaking or offering an opinion, so it was hard to get to know him.
Oct 27, 2008 Angela rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, politics
I wanted to like this book, but I think I might be just a little too cynical to see this future as "not too distant." The picture that Levithan painted was just way too rosy - so rosy that I didn't for second feel any real tension in the book. Everything in this future is just so nice that of course our protagonist is going to get everything that he wants eventually.

And the song references were way too numerous and trite. Seriously, triplets named Glen, Gary and Ross? Couldn't they have at least
Dec 16, 2011 Jennie rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, fiction, read-in-2011
While this book is short, it carries a deep message about respect, equality, love, and personal growth. I was fascinated by the world David Levithan has created within these pages. Of course, the tragic events that occurred to get society to such a wonderful place were horrible – but the happy ending was happening as his story began. To see love and equality ranking so high in government and people’s every day lives was inspiring.

The romance told the story of first love beautifully. The angst ov
Mar 23, 2008 Wordwizard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: barbara mader
This was an excellent story of teenage romance, self-discovery, self-confidence, and a struggle against bigotry set in a not-so-distant future. Major themes include discovery, perseverance, and social activism against a setting where religious and political motives have shifted slightly from our own time. . . for some people.

Great read for those who want to feel that someone else has had the same ideas as they have about government corruption or religious hypocracy (in the book, the self-named "
Jun 22, 2013 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult-lit
Fantastic book about a gay youth narrator who works on a campaign for the first gay Jewish presidential candidate. When the results are challenged, the narrator has to make the decision about whether or not to go to Kansas to ensure the election isn't stolen.

A particularly relevant book to our times, despite being written in prior to the 2008 election. A divided country struggles to find unity and the youth are at the forefront of the movement to fix our country.

Every young reader should pick t
Jul 09, 2014 Tony rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
My Grade: 72% = C-

Scenario: Not too distant future, probably mid-21st Century or a bit later. After major enviornmental, political, and religious problems followed by a "war to end all wars," every thing is now hunky-dory.

A Jesus-like religious movement has overtaken the country, but its main focus is to ask "What would Jesus do?" and then act accordingly.

Our narrator and protagonist, Duncan is about 16 yrs old, Jewish and Gay. The novel opens on the day after a Jewish Gay man has been elected P
Apr 12, 2014 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this just after finishing the author's "Boy Meets Boy," and I didn't feel this book was quite as successful.

This book is set in a future when a gay Jewish man has been elected president, but there's a problem -- the governor of Kansas says there's a problem with the election results there (very much a throwback to the Al Gore/Florida story). So people travel to Kansas to await the ruling.

The main character is a gay high school student who has good friends and a boyfriend he loves, but he
Mar 01, 2014 Leonel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
David Levithan's "Wide Awake" is set in the near future, and revolves around a time seemingly in the recent past. In the novel, a new President has just been elected by a small margin. Here's the twist: he is the first Jewish President ever elected. And there's more, he is also gay. So you can just imagine how the religious right reacts to this development (In the book the Republicans are called "The Decents") The book makes you think of that old adage that the more things change, the more thing ...more
Mugren Ohaly
Aug 07, 2014 Mugren Ohaly rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2014
This is a prime example of a horrible book being published because the author is famous. This is the worst Levithan book I have read. I've read two of his books which I loved, but I've been put off him for good. This particular book is set in the near future. A gay Jewish man has become president of America. The VP is Latina. The narrator is gay. He has two lesbian friends. For all the so called equality that exists in his story, Levithan has chosen to only include Catholics and Jews. What happe ...more
David Levithan is one of my favorite ya contemporary authors. That said, this book was a miss. David Levithan's books are truly amazing (The Lover's Dictionary, Every Day,and The Realm of Possibility are all wonderful) but this book just fell lame for me.

I thought I'd love this. As a Jewish gay (if we use the umbrella term gay for everyone who isn't straight), I thought this would resound with me. Yet I didn't feel it. In David Levithan's books, I normally feel like I get a real sense of who th
Apr 12, 2012 Eirin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
A huge disappointment after Boy Meets Boy. This novel was way too preachy, I felt like Levithan hammered me over the head with his message at every point. Where Boy Meets Boy was beautiful, funny and sad, Wide Awake was just... boring. I felt no sort of relationship with the characters at all, there was never any doubt as to how it all would turn out, and the beautiful phrases that had made Boy Meets Boy such a joy to read was sorely lacking from this novel.
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David Levithan (born 1972) is an American children's book editor and award-winning author. He published his first YA book, Boy Meets Boy, in 2003. Levithan is also the founding editor of PUSH, a Young Adult imprint of Scholastic Press.

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“I am proud that I defy your categories. I am proud that I don't fit easily into any box. I am proud of all the things I am and all the things i can be. Question yourself every time you think you only see one thing in me.” 91 likes
“It was the most amazing feeling in the world. to know that something right happened, and to know that it had happened not through luck or command but simply because it was right.” 68 likes
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