Review Blog

May 22 2013

When we wake by Karen Healey

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Allen & Unwin, 2013. ISBN9781742378084.
(Age 14+) Highly recommended. Science fiction. Dystopian fiction. Set in the year 2127, 16 year old Tegan wakes up from a 100 year sleep. Her last memories were so happy: she had discovered that the boy she had wanted for so long wanted her too, and she was going to a protest with her best friend. In this new world some of the things that her friends had fought for have happened. Gay marriage is legal and the world is greener, but Colonel Dawson seems to be manipulating her for his own ends and a religious fundamentalist group leader talks of an Ark Project that is using frozen bodies.
When Tegan wakes up in a new world 100 years after she had been accidentally shot and cryogenically frozen, she has an immense amount of information to process. However she is a feisty, intelligent girl who analyses what is happening to her and is prepared to take risks to find out what is going on. Once she begins to recover from the shock of what has happened to her and her grief over the realisation that all her family and friends have been dead for a long time, she starts to take notice of the politics of the new world that she has woken into.
I loved this science fiction story. The characters were really well drawn and the scenario that Healey came up with is quite believable. There is a lot of action to appeal to those who like adventure stories and a growing romance between Tegan and Abdi will satisfy those who have to have a love story. Interwoven between the story are the songs of the Beatles - each chapter has a Beatle song title and reference is made to John Lennon's Imagine.
However it is the strong themes of what is right, social justice, racism and environment and the fact that Tegan has to remain true to her principles that makes this such a good read. It would be an ideal class set or literature circle book.
Pat Pledger

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