Early Review: When We Wake by Karen Healey

March 3, 2013 Review 0

*This title will be released on March 5, 2013*

Cover by : N/A

When We Wake

by Karen Healey

Genre: Dystopian YA, Science Fiction
Excerpt: Yes Book Trailer: No
Reviewed by: Abigail| Source: Publisher

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (March 5, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 031620076X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316200769


Okay – A few good points, but with significant flaws. Library/swap/borrow if you want.

Sexual Content



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?


WHEN WE WAKE is a very political book, and, to a lesser degree, a very religious book. Those aren’t necessarily bad things. But when the politics and religion are preachy, it becomes much harder to enjoy the story hiding underneath.

And the story underneath is intriguing, or at least the premise is. A girl who is brought back to life a hundred years after she dies must learn to adapt to a hostile and unfamiliar world. Everything from technology to language has changed to the point that it’s almost unrecognizable. Initially, Teegan was likeable enough with her Beatles obsession and free running hobby, but she ended up making a few too many temper driven choices that just struck me as stupid–though not as stupid as almost every adult in this book.

The problem arises when WHEN WE WAKE attempts to tackle almost every single potentially polarizing issue dividing people today: hyper environmentalism, vegetarianism, racism, homosexuality, sex change operations, Islam, Christianity, Roman Catholicism, cults, drugs, immigration, totalitarianism, and so many more. The author’s position on all this issues comes across loud and clear. The characters who hold opposing viewpoints are complete villains. The problem isn’t always the issues themselves, which I think most of us would agree the way they are portrayed, it’s just so heavy handed and relentless. The story, such as it was, felt like it was just a series of events strung together in order for the author to get on her soapbox.

I had a hard time finishing this one. Instead of raising issues and letting readers think for themselves, only one position is presented as acceptable in WHEN WE WAKE, not because it is morally or intellectually more tenable (even when it is)  but because the opposing view is a caricature/straw man version of itself.  Regardless of your political and religious ideologies, it struck me as deeply disrespectful to lampoon and deride opposing viewpoints as thoroughly and overwhelmingly as this book does. There is clearly a sequel planned based on the unresolved ending, WHEN WE RUN, but I won’t be reading it.


  1. When We Wake
  2. When We Run

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