Jen (The Starry-Eyed Revue)'s Reviews > Those That Wake

Those That Wake by Jesse Karp
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's review
Apr 27, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: netgalley, dystopian-post-apocalyptic, 2011
Recommended for: dystopian junkies, conspiracy theorists
Read from April 23 to 25, 2011

i think what i like best about the dystopian genre is probably that, despite the fact that some of the premises of these novels are far-fetched and impropable, there's still that remote possibility that our existence as we know it could somehow evolve into the worlds of these books. yeah, most of these worlds don't seem plausible, but anything's possible, right?

and therein lies why i enjoyed 'those that wake' so much. the world built in this novel seems more reality than fiction. the people are so involved in their technology, that they don't notice anything that's going on around them. after the terror attack on 9/11, there was a subsequent 'attack' on nyc called 'big black' and it has people feeling so hopeless and out of touch that they've tuned into their cell phones (admittedly even more advanced versions of our never-leave-home-without-them devices) and tuned out of the world. i think to some extent, this is already happening in our world today. with the introduction of the devices on the market today, i think we can all agree that we spend more time 'talking' to people online than we do face-to-face. i'm admittedly guilty of this. human interaction is less valued than it once was. i even saw a commercial, right after i finished reading this novel, from american express advertising itself as the new 'social currency'. i think that it speaks to the demise of the human race as we know it when we need to have a special currency for our online interactions because we spend so much of our time there. this novel hit the nail on the proverbial head.

'those that wake' follows the paths of four people in the city when their existences seem to have been erased: no one remembers them, and there are no records that they ever existed in the first place. as they search for answers and a possible solution to getting their lives back, they also do a little soul-searching and find some parts of themselves that they thought they'd lost or maybe that they never knew they had in the first place. the characters are relatable, and though they develop throughout the story, it feels as if you've always know these things about them, that they've always had it in them to face these odds, even if they didn't believe it themselves.

i was really pleasantly surprised by this novel. maybe it's because i was expecting something along the lines of zombies or something more sci-fi (the synopsis was rather vague, which, admittedly, enticed me further to read the book), or maybe because it's a cautionary tale that hits really close to home. maybe it's the fact that although this novel is labeled for young adults, it never attempts to 'dumb it down' to reach the targeted audience. i feel more educated, and yes, a little more paranoid, for having read this book.

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