Tuesday, May 13, 2014

When We Wake ~ Karen Healey review [@kehealey @lbkids]

When We Wake
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
March 5, 2013
304 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

Sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl living in 2027—she's happiest when playing the guitar, she's falling in love for the first time, and she's joining her friends to protest the wrongs of the world: environmental collapse, social discrimination, and political injustice.

But on what should have been the best day of Tegan's life, she dies—and wakes up a hundred years later, locked in a government facility with no idea what happened.

The future isn't all she had hoped it would be, and when appalling secrets come to light, Tegan must make a choice: Does she keep her head down and survive, or fight for a better world?

Award-winning author Karen Healey has created a haunting, cautionary tale of an inspiring protagonist living in a not-so-distant future that could easily be our own.

Somehow, I missed When We Wake last year when it was released. Luckily I found it last month when looking at the sequel, While We Run, out the 27th.

When We Wake is a tale of two futures, 2027 and 2128. The story moves from a future not that different from the present, to  a dystopian future for both readers and main character Tegan.  After waking up, Tegan finds herself in quite a different future: technology has advanced, but so have global warming and hot button political issues like immigration.

As Tegan struggles to adjust to not only that she is alive - and the same age - a century in the future, she sees things about 2128 that most people native to that time period never notice.  As she takes it all in, she sees the things from the past that have affected the current day and the things that have not changed.

Tegan's 2027 character and her friends were involved in political protests and rallies, making her character in the future even better. She was aware of more facts and effects than a lot of teenagers would be. When the after-effects of things that are part of not only 2014 but also 2027 life are presented in 2128, it definitely gives something to think about.

The 2128 future, in addition to being thought provoking, is incredibly realistic and believable. It might be easy to look at things in the present and guess that they'll affect the future in a negative way. Yet, the 'how's Healey comes up with are perfect and unpredictable.

Tegan does have some adjusting to do, but much of it deals with her interpersonal interactions, how they're affected and the new social norms she has to understand.

The cast of characters Healey has created is fantastic. With great diversity when it comes to religion, race, etc it's a fresh approach. The diversity among them gives a fuller picture of the future and helps Tegan not be the only 'other' character. I love that they're all very well developed characters with their own background and/or story who add to the picture of Melbourne in 2128 and who impact Tegan's tale.

Then, of course, there's the question of whether Tegan's being brought back was everything they told her . . . or something else, something ore.

When We Wake is a great start to the series, full of revelations that will leave readers anxious for While We Run out later this month.



Rating: 9/10








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