Title: When We Wake
Author: Karen Healey
Genre: YA Dystopia
Themes: friendship, refugees/migrants, cryogenics, media, cults
Similar to: Across The Universe
Basic Summary: Tegan is having an amazing day. That is, until she wakes up 100 years in the future to complete chaos.
Context of rereading: I read this originally about 3 years ago. I really liked it, but never read the sequel. When I was whining about a (perceived) lack of reading material the other day (read: too many books=decisions are hard), I picked this up. I recently finished the sequel and I really liked that too.
• It’s really diverse, although it was published before needing diverse books was a thing (or at least before I knew it was a thing, ie. before I started book blogging). There’s the religious diversity: Tegan, the main character, is Catholic, her ‘friend’ Abdi is athiest, and her friend Bethari is Muslim. Racial diversity: One of the MCs is Somali, and most of the rest seem to have implied different races, although none come to mind at present. The setting is Melbourne, which is a change from most of the books set in USA that I read. And there’s lot’s of LGBTQ+ (the acronym keeps getting more letter, I keep getting confused) representation. One of the characters is transgender and lesbian, another character is lesbian and another is bisexual.
• It dealt with issues that are a problem now. I feel like a lot of dystopias are like ‘what if the government got really controlling’ but When We Wake dealt with issues that are big right now: global warming/climate change, poverty/inequality, refugees, discrimination, disease, war, medical ethics, military, etc. One thing I especially appreciated is how the characters dealt with Australia (At this point in 2028, a global superpower) and its blanket ‘No Migrant Policy’. (Because poor rich Australians need to keep their resources to themselves). Knowing Australia already treats some refugees pretty badly (see: Boy Overboard by Morris Glietzman), this was startlingly real.
• The ship was sooooo shippy, but at the same time realistic.
• The narrative style: It’s told by Tegan, who is broadcasting what she’s saying to the world. So most of it is in first-person past tense, but occasionally it flicks to present, like ‘what was I saying’ ‘Abdi just made a face at me’, ‘Sorry, we had to move so we could be safe but now we’re all wet’ , which is just fun to read. (This didn’t work as well for me in the sequel, but that’s off topic)
• The tech! Most books set in the future have cool technology, like foldable computers and floating cameras and things, but I like how this also described security systems and dry toilets and self-timing showers.
• The characters were all really good. Tegan as the narrator had a very distinct voice and felt really relatable (even though I’ve never been frozen for 100 years), Abdi is my true love, Marie was the coolest, and Bethari and Joph both felt really real.
• The setting, as I said, had really good descriptions without info-dumping. From technology to no migrants to a classroom where everybody taught themselves, it was terrifyingly realistic. (side note: The author said in her acknowledgements something like: to Australia, I hope your future is better than the one I gave you)
• The cover. Because it is crazy beautiful (and I am crazy shallow).
Summary: This book deserves and A++ and I’m very glad I read it.
Have you read this? Do you want to now? (answer: yes) Do you like rereading? What have you read/reread recently?