Book Review: Those That Wake by Jesse Karp

New York City's spirit has been crushed. People walk the streets with their heads down, withdrawing from each other and into the cold comfort of technology.

Teenagers Mal and Laura have grown up in this reality. They've never met. Seemingly, they never will. 

But on the same day Mal learns his brother has disappeared, Laura discovers her parents have forgotten her. Both begin a search for their families that leads them to the same truth: someone or something has wiped the teens from the memories of every person they have ever known. Thrown together, Mal and Laura must find common ground as they attempt to reclaim their pasts.
Release Date:  March 20, 2011
Publisher:  Harcourt
Age Group:  Young Adult
Pages:  336
Source: NetGalley

I enjoyed this dystopian novel.  I have read other reviews complaining of the dark and desolate tone, but I think that Karp meant for Those That Wake to be a cautionary tale to today's society.  At least, that's how I took it.  How often do we pull out our phones to text instead of talking to the people around us?  Think about how you'd feel if you couldn't have your cell phone or the Internet for several days.  That's the kind of thing that this book left me thinking about.

Those That Wake is set in New York in the near future.  People are consumed with their ever-present cell phones and never interact with each other or the world around them, choosing instead to interact with technology.  The subways are in a state of total disrepair and neglect, and money meant to repair the cars has instead gone towards huge HD screens installed along the subway car walls playing advertisements that people mindlessly watch.  The entire world is run by corporations trying to make money off of the hopeless unsuspecting public.  A huge explosion and two-week long power outage in New York,  called Big Black, has left a large area of destroyed land which is now covered by a dome that is a new part of the horizon.  People believe the dome to be full of toxic chemicals.  Big Black left people scared, and the corporations stepped in to capitalize on people's fear.

The characters in Those That Wake are drawn together by a series of unusual events: Mal is searching for his brother Tommy, Mike has found a door in his school's basement which disappears after he opens it, Laura has been forgotten by everyone she knows, and Remak is a secret agent trying to find the reason why people in Mike's neighborhood are committing suicide, murder, and theft.  The four are unexpectedly thrown together and have to work together to discover the reason behind these strange events.  

Those That Wake is a smart read: it will make you think and you have to pay close attention all the way through or you'll miss important plot devices.  I enjoyed this read and would recommend it to fans of YA and dystopia.

Just One Gripe: 
The ending felt confusing to me.  I felt like I needed to re-read parts in order to "get" it.  

The Best Thing About This Book: 
The world-building.

Appropriate for a younger audience: 

Characters: 3/5
Plot: 3/5
Setting/Imagery:  3/5
Originality: 3/5
Ending: 3/5
Total Score:  15/25


  1. I haven't heard much about this one, but I love the sound of it, and dystopian is really becoming a fast favourite of mine! Great review! :)

    Oh, and be sure to check out my blogversary giveaway going on now (if you want!)

  2. O
    this sounds RIGHT up my alley.
    Fantastic review.

  3. Sounds like a decent read thanks for sharing lovey! :)


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