320 Pages (Hardcover Ed.)
Published: May, 2011 by Houghton Mifflin
Received ebook from Net Galley
goodreads, amazon, author's website
Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her.
Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking.
In this not-so-brave new world, two young people struggle to carve out their own space.
This is one of those books that make you really look at your own life and how you live it. I know we all have seen those people who walk down the street completely immersed in their phone not paying attention to their surroundings or the friends they're walking with. Maddie lives in a world where the trees in her neighborhood are plastic, meeting with people at a coffee shop is uncommon, and almost everything can, and is, done online. I've read (and greatly enjoyed) stories about governments that control lives and where technology has gotten out of control, but this book was different. It was told from a new perspective, a view from the top.
Maddie isn't your average heroine, she comes from a very powerful background that has allowed her to rebel in the past without any real serious consequences. She actually rebelled against the very idea her own father stands for, causing a major dilemma for her family. Since then she has sworn off doing anything again to harm her family, but she is recruited once again to help bring about change in society. Justin opens her eyes to what life should really be like, what she wants her life to be. She doesn't want to cause problems for her family, but once she's been awakened there is no going back to a life that now feels stifled and fake. She now has real friends and she is willing to do anything to help them out, especially Justin. I felt that there was more to her parents, and I hope we get to see more of them, especially her father. It just seemed like he had good reasons to do what he did and he still cares about Maddie no matter what he says or does.
The writing in this novel was beautiful, you really get a sense of what Maddie is going through. As a blogger I spend a lot of time on the computer and yeah my phone is a lot of fun too. This book reminded me though that face to face communication is important, that things always move slowly so that before you know it you've become uncomfortable without a screen to separate you from someone, and when you do meet up with someone there are awkward moments. I know because it happened to me, imagine when this happens to an entire society? I liked that the book still had a strong sense of hope, life wasn't always this way and school became digitalized when Maddie was Kindergarten so it wasn't too long ago. I cannot wait to see where Ms. Kacvinsky goes with the story in Book 2.
I give this book 4.5 Stars!