What I'm Reading: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

When We Wake by Karen Healey

Cryogenics always seems so...science fiction-y to me. There have been rumors about it for years, but I really don't believe that Walt Disney is frozen somewhere. Even so, when I come across a book that hints at it, my nerves get all buzzy and I just have to read it.

Here's the summary from Goodreads: My name is Tegan Oglietti, and on the last day of my first lifetime, I was so, so happy. Sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl living in 2027--she's happiest when playing the guitar, she's falling in love for the first time, and she's joining her friends to protest the wrongs of the world: environmental collapse, social discrimination, and political injustice. But on what should have been the best day of Tegan's life, she dies--and wakes up a hundred years in the future, locked in a government facility with no idea what happened. Tegan is the first government guinea pig to be cryonically frozen and successfully revived, which makes her an instant celebrity--even though all she wants to do is try to rebuild some semblance of a normal life. But the future isn't all she hoped it would be, and when appalling secrets come to light, Tegan must make a choice: Does she keep her head down and survive, or fight for a better future?

*oh, also this review is based on the audiobook!

What I Liked: 1) The setting. First of all, this book is set in the future. In Australia. Author Karen Healey is from New Zealand. I didn't even know that. Right off the bat this piqued my interest, because how often do I read a book set in that part of the world? Hardly ever. As in...never. It's so much fun to explore a completely new setting, especially because I have nothing else to compare it to. I almost wish we'd spent a little more time with the details of the setting. 2) The characters. (Bear with me, because I listened to the book and therefore may not spell all of the names correctly.) As the main character, Tegan brings a lot to the story herself, especially because she is a girl from 2027, conditioned to the lifestyles of the time. So when she wakes up and is thrown into life 100 years in the future, she has to decide what parts of her former life to retain and what new trends she has to accept. In spite of that, her character development was very smooth. Her new friends, Bethari and Joph are great additions, bringing both humor and sincerity to the story. The narrator of the audiobook does a great job with her character differentiations as well. 3) The mystery. There are a lot of questions almost from the beginning. How is it that Tegan became the first person to ever go through this procedure, and who is funding the scientific research? Also, what is the real purpose of the study? These are just some of the main questions that I was searching for answers for as I delved deeper into the books. I loved Tegan's quest to find answers, and Miz Healey's tiny reveals around every corner kept me interested all the way through. 4) There is a big political story arc going in the midst of everything else that intrigued me more than anything. I was making all sorts of connections as I was listening that I still don't know if they are true. I always love "fight the man" stories, and this one, while it isn't as huge as some are, at least through this book, Tegan has a tendency towards activism from her first life, and now that she's become a nationally known figure, she is in an interesting position to continue searching for the truth.

What I Didn't Like: 1) There were parts of the book that were so interesting that I was on the edge of my seat. And then there were parts of the book that I thought "Okay, hurry up already." The pacing was a little hit and miss for me. 2) Abdi. The big love interest that was neither very loving or interesting. His story was interesting, and the politics behind them definitely intrigued me, but I was mostly bored by him, and completely over his whole attitude.

Overall Thoughts: If you are looking for an audiobook to get into, I'd definitely recommend When We Wake by Karen Healey. The narrator does a great job bringing this story to life! Most of the characters bring something different to the story, and have great personalities that can pull you right in to their stories. The political story arc that is there from the very beginning is one of the most interesting ones I've come across. There were some issues with pacing, some of the stop-start motions that can interrupt the flow, and I think that the male MC, Abdi needed some more development. But if you are looking for something unique, this one is it!

My Rating: 3.5 shots


  1. I have been really curious about this book. I may have to get the audio. I find it easiest to get through rough pacing with audio. Great review. oh and I am also interested in the fact it is set in future Australia-- so cool


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