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When We Wake Book Review

Title: When We Wake
Author: Karen Healey
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
ISBN-13: 978-0316200769

304 pp.

ARC provided by publisher

I believe that good sci-fi should be a reflection of modern society taken to an extreme. And I think Karen Healey does this with When We Wake.

Tegan Oglietti is a sixteen-year-old in near future Australia. She loves music, especially the Beatles, and she believes in stuff. She believes in God, she believes in service to country (her dead father was in the military), she believes in family, and she believes that people can make a difference. She's just fallen in love for the first time and she's happy and hopeful for the future.

And then she's shot by a sniper at a rally. It was an accident, really. The bullet was meant for the Prime Minister. But now Tegan is dead.

Well, kind of dead.

Tegan, who had donated her body to science, is put into a cyrogenic state. And then, one day, she wakes up. One hundred years later.

Technology has changed, but people haven't. There are still secrets and lies and conspiracies and murder. And Tegan finds herself in the middle of it all, while trying to come to grips of being the "Living Dead Girl" and finding her place in this new life.

There's lots of action and even romance as Tegan once again tries to makes a difference in the world. She's an engaging character, maybe a little naive, but smart and believable.

The world Tegan wakes up in is also believable, a world that climate change is devastating, although many people don't care or don't realize the extent of its devastation.

Some readers may find the book too PC, but I didn't find it preachy or overly message-driven. The one quibble I have, and it's rather a ridiculous one, is that the supporting characters who become friends with Tegan are all minority-something. I'm an African refugee! I'm transgender! I'm a Muslim AND a lesbian!

I am all for white people writing about people different from them, but this just seemed too much like a 22nd century Benetton ad and Healey is trying too hard to be inclusive. The supporting characters are not stereotypes and like I said, it's a rather ridiculous quibble, but do ALL of Tegan's friends have to be a statement of religious, racial, and sexual tolerance? (Okay, maybe I find the book a little PC.)

I recommend When We Wake to readers who enjoyed Across the Universe by Beth Revis or Altered by Jennifer Rush. There is a sequel coming out next year for readers who want to continue on Tegan's journey.

When We Wake Book Trailer: