Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (Great! Solid book with little or minimal issues)
Imagine that your life is relatively perfect (let’s be realistic there is no perfect). You have a great boyfriend, loyal friends, loving family, and discovered passion for a cause to dedicate your future. Too good to be true you think, and you would be right. When We Wake by Karen Healey is a thrilling sci-fi story about what happens when you are forced to start over and pick up the pieces after you thought life was figured out. What compelled me to choose this book initially was the great cover. The beautiful frozen face, like a work of art, made me want to discover the story behind the cover.
In 2027, sixteen year old Tegan has everything to live for. On what is supposed to be the best day of her young life, she is shot at an environmental rally/protest. With all her memories fresh in her mind from her life up to that point, Tegan awakes 100 years later to vastly different world where everything has changed. The world is plagued with extreme pollution, as well as the majority of the world being vegetarians. There are extremist groups and factions trying to fight political corruption and countries are forced to adopt no immigration policies to protect the dwindling valuable resources. This was the world Tegan was fighting to prevent and now she is forced to live and adapt to the conditions. When Tegan wakes she finds herself in a government facility and the only person to be successfully revived from cryogenic sleep. Tegan is then forced to pick up where she left off and get on with her new life. She attends school and meets friends that share her love of music and the environment.
My Thoughts: Unique and Refreshing
Let me start by saying that Science Fiction is not my favorite genre. With that said, I really did enjoy this story because it is unlike anything I have read before. The main character Tegan is extremely likable and authentic. I feel her loss and the finality of not only losing her loved ones, but her whole world as well. The evolution of Tegan’s character from the beginning to end is satisfying and compelling. This story is unique because it isn’t focused around a boy-girl love story. Love for the environment, friends, and family are at the forefront in this story, as well as the love for one’s self. Tegan must get on with her new life and learn to love the new person she evolves into as the story goes on. With that said, I do like how the main love story between Tegan and Abdi slowly builds and is very sweet and believable. I wasn’t distracted by cheesy romantic cliches and really enjoyed how the author handled their relationship.
The only issue I have with this book is that I feel like I am being lectured about the environment. It is preachy in some parts of the book explaining how terrible humans are for letting the Earth become so polluted. However, this is a good message to impart on readers and it does fit into the story without being too annoying.
I was pleasantly surprised after reading this book and highly recommend this to readers who like science fiction, dystopian future worlds, and strong female characters. The book ended with a opening for more books and I am happy to find out there will be a second book release in May 2014 called While We Run!
Check with your local library for this page turner!