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" This first novel is an ambitious, cautionary—and even paranoiac—story of the soul-destroying power of a consumer society run amok and the near-cosmic forces it unleashes. It’s a fascinating premise, and though the page-turning action slows a bit in the second half to explore some of the more abstruse causes behind the mind-bending effects, that doesn’t detract from the great many intriguing, original, and thought provoking ideas at play here. ."—Booklist
"Karp has created a terrifically gloomy set and peopled it with both very real characters and others that are eerily unreal. His Global Dynamic smacks of Asimov's psychohistory while the entire tone seems like something from Philip K. Dick. With plenty of action, challenging ideas, and bizarre antagonists, this one should appeal to a broad section of teens."—School Library Journal
"Too many YA books these days stick to a simple setting and shy away from complex ideas. I was delighted to discover this thought-provoking novel in which the teen characters sensibly spend more time solving their big problem than obsessing over romance. If you love it when your entertainment exercises your gray matter, you"ll enjoy this book as much as I did."—Teen Writers Bloc
Laura and Mal have both lost their families; Laura's parents have mysteriously forgotten their only child, and Mal's brother vanished suddenly. Stuck in a dismal technocentric, corporation-controlled New York City, the two teens join up with disillusioned schoolteacher Mike and shadowy researcher Jon on a quest to find the Librarian, the one person who can explain the strange happenings. Karp's gray and dispassionate setting unfortunately carries over to the narrative and the characters, as though both plot and people are obscured by fog. Mal is anger incarnate, with attempts at subtler character development providing only the thinnest veneer; Laura's personality, meanwhile, vanishes as easily as her identity. Instead of engaging with concerns over the cultural acceptance of technology, à la Cory Doctorow's Little Brother (2008), Karp seems to adopt a Luddite position, categorizing all forms of gadgetry as a detriment to society. Both the burned-out–teacher and powerful-librarian tropes appear to be an authorial insider joke to adult readers rather than critical elements of the plot. For more compelling tales of corporate malfeasance, try Max Barry's Jennifer Government (2003) or Scott Westerfeld's So Yesterday (2004) instead of this rather bland offering in a field overrun with dystopias. (Dystopia. YA)
Mal looked in the mirror and saw a road map of mistakes. Scars traced a fractured route down his face, splintering across his torso. The worn paths were interrupted by fresh welts and discolorations, the result of his most recent misstep: three rounds, bare-knuckles, with a guy who had ten years’ experience on him. That was good for the deep yellow around the eye and the welt on the forehead. But it had been a sorry-looking mug to begin with, scarred across the bridge of the nose and along the cheekbone, crowned by dark, somber eyes. It fit poorly over the seventeen-year-old face; instead of lending it wisdom, it seemed to rob it of something vital. Beneath the blue veins riding up his arms in relief and the taut flesh of his chest, the muscles were tight, but they ached with the echo of fierce impact. It wasn’t a promising picture, so he smiled at it, showing teeth over his hard jaw.
A crack ran through the reflected smile, making it into two dislocated halves of good spirit, sloppily sewn together by some depraved surgeon. The mirror didn’t have a crack when he left just a few hours ago. It was just the mirror’s time, he supposed. Like the glass, his smile cracked and then fell away.
He touched the tender spots on his torso, figured he’d wrap his ribs with medical tape. He slipped from the gloomy little bathroom, down the short hallway. The limp he had just acquired did not help much in keeping quiet past the door of his foster parents’ room. Were they light sleepers? He hadn’t been with them long enough to know. His foster parents, who were named Gil and Janet Foster. It was ridiculous, but of all the foster parents in all the world, some of them had to be named the Fosters, didn’t they?
He made it into his own claustrophobic little cubbyhole without incident. He pulled the first aid kit out of his bag, but found he just didn’t have the strength for it. He put it back in and dropped himself into bed.
Sleep, ornery and evasive, eluded him. It was in the second hour of shifting position in the darkness that he turned and saw the message LED blinking on his forsaken cell phone. Already an ancient model at two years old, he had never bothered to learn how to employ most of its features, thus didn’t have the cool, polite female voice to inform him that he had a message waiting. He’d slipped out of the apartment for the gym at 11:30 and never carried the phone with him to a fight. The call had come between then and his return at two a.m. No one called that late unless something awful had happened.
He reached out and keyed for the message.
"Uh, hey." A face he didn’t recognize flickered onto the screen. "It’s Tommy." Mal sat up straight in his bed. Tommy. His brother. Whose face he no longer recognized. "Where are you at one o’clock?" Tommy paused for a long stretch, uncertain. There was the sound of strong wind, or something rushing, maybe water, but the image on the small screen was grainy and dark behind the face. "What am I doing calling at one o’clock, right? Maybe . . . ah . . . maybe you could call me when you get this? Doesn’t matter what time it is. Okay, so . . . you can give me a call." There was another long pause, but instead of a goodbye, the image flickered out and the cell voice informed him that the call had come in at "One. Twenty. Two. A. M."
The geolocator app was being blocked from Tommy’s end, which left no way to see where the call had come from. He dialed the number that showed on his screen and let it ring twelve maddening times before he keyed off and dialed again, this time giving it only six rings.
He stared out the grimy window and listened to a garbage truck rumble away down the dark, dirty street. Far in the distance across the water, a large insectlike shape blotted a small part of Manhattan’s silhouette of glittering lights. There was only one person who would know how to get hold of Tommy. So he got back in bed, because he wouldn’t call anyone else at three in the morning. And he wouldn’t call her anyway. Tommy hadn’t seen Mal in over two years, had done just fine without him for a lot longer than that. Tommy would do just fine without him now.
But if that was so, then how much trouble must he be in to call a brother he hadn’t seen for so long now, in the middle of the night?
Mal sat up again and picked up the cell and stared at it. He gripped it so hard that his fingers and knuckles turned white, bringing the dozens of nicks and scars into wiry relief. He keyed the goddamned number. It rang twice and he closed his eyes tight when it picked up, the small screen lighting with a man’s surprised and disheveled face.
"Hello?" The face was dulled by sleep and the voice was thick and rough.
"George, it’s Mal," he whispered, for fear of rousing the Fosters, just a slim wall away.
"What? Who is this?" George was squinting angrily into the screen.
"It’s Mal," he said stiffly. "I need to speak to Sharon."
George’s face gaped exhaustion, then shook in disbelief and moved offscreen. There was heavy breathing and then shifting and muffled voices. An ad for a sleeping pill, now available in extra-strength form, scrolled along the side of the screen.
"Mal." Her face was heavy with more than just fatigue. Her voice was hoarse and he couldn’t help wondering, despite the hour, if she was exhausted or hung over. Whatever the case, the syllable of his name came out with the same old mixture of impatience and barely contained disappointment.
"I need to find Tommy and I don’t have his number," he said without preamble.
"You need to find Tommy at three in the morning?" Even pulled from sleep, her disgust with him was evident.
"He called me up and asked me to get back to him as soon as I could, but he’s not answering at the number he called from."
She glared at him. He could see numerous responses cross her features.
"Hold on," she finally said. Her attention shifted downward while she searched the cell for the information. George asked her something and her face turned. They went back and forth for a moment and his final comment was loud and wheedling. Mal watched as the advertisement shifted, now offering medicated bandages that "soothed as they healed." There was more movement, and then she was back. "I have his number here." She gave it to him.
"That’s the number he left me," Mal said. "But he isn’t there."
"Well, that’s the number I’ve got."
"Have you spoken to him lately? Is he okay?"
"I haven’t spoken to him in months."
"Months?" He hadn’t meant to sound incredulous; certainly not, considering how long it had been since he’d spoken to Tommy himself.
"He and George," she sounded more tired now, in simply pausing, than she had when she first got on the line. "He and George had some trouble. He left, and I haven’t heard from him but twice since then. Once he gave me his new number and address and once to tell me that he was going to come by work and see me, but he didn’t." She didn’t seem very impressed with Tommy or, for that matter, with George.
"He left?" Mal’s voice was hard and accusatory, and he didn’t bother trying to hide it.
"Yes, Mal. He left. Figured he could do it all on his own, just like his brother."
They stared into the screens at each other, far more distant than the miles of space that separated them.
"Give me his address," he said.
"You’re going to go there now?"
"No. In the morning. I’m sure he’s fine."
"Sure. He’s always fine." She gave him the address, and they didn’t bother with goodbyes. He slammed the phone down, punching it into the bed as hard as he could. He got dressed in the same jeans and hooded sweatshirt he had worn to go fight. Sneaking out of a foster home twice in the same night was no record for him, not even close. Now he was bone tired, of course. If he closed his eyes, he’d be out in a second. He took off.
Posted March 4, 2011
Debut Author! This was one of those books that I wasn't certain I would like. Even for a dystopian, I thought it might be a little too sci-fi for me. I'm glad I stuck with it though, as I was pleasantly surprised.
The book actually sucked me right in and didn't let go. It was suspensful, had adventure, and even a slightly erie quality to it. But not one that was overwhelming. Just enough of one to make the hairs stand up on my arms every now and then, but in a good way!
I actually really loved the characters, especially Mal. He was the most interesting because I think he had farther to go in the course of character journey, but he had already come so far...and all on his own. I love how the author was able to work in a romance here, even though it clearly wasn't the main focus of the story.
The only complaint I have isn't really a complaint. More of an observation. But there was one scene where I had a little bit of trouble following the author's explanation for what was going on. However, that might have had more to do with the fact that I had stayed up super late to finish the book and was very tired. So it might have been all my fault.
This doesn't appear to be a series book, as the author seems to have wrapped everything up very neatly at the end. Although one aspect of the ending made me feel kind of sad, most of it was perfect. The perfect parts outweighed that little sad part.
I think this author has a great future in publishing. This was an intelligent first book that really grabbed me and kept me engaged. I look forward to seeing what comes in the future for Jesse Karp!
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Posted October 6, 2011
It felt like the plot wasnt planned out very well, and there also seemed to be no climax or a bunch of different climaxes. It was a good story while you were reading it, but not a good story over all. It also left me wanting more romance between Mal and Laura. I hope you take this into consideration when you are buying.
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Posted February 21, 2011
Though I would definitely recommend this for ages 15 and up, I wholeheartedly recommend Those That Wake. I found that the "similar enough to our time" future was disturbing and realistic, while still being firmly set in an original and intricately thought-out world. The characters of Mal and Laura are fresh and heartfelt, and adult readers will find much to chew on in the adult characters. The book's central themes and ideas creep into you (not unlike the Global Dynamic, hmmmm) and stick with you as you go back to your "real" life.
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Posted February 17, 2011
This sci-fi noire is a killer YA novel. It's got great action, fully fleshed out characters, and a plot which pulls the reader along like they are falling down a hill. At the same time there is a lot under the surface here. It is a dystopic novel that avoids the typical "government is bad" or "grownups are bad" and instead looks at how corporations, when unfettered and big enough, can and will do just about anything to get market share. Karp has detailed an amazing world where security and paranoia are so ramped up that citizens fear a casual action, a stray stare, will bring them to the attention of the Metropolitan Counter-terrorism Taskforce. The MCT is a kind of amped up Homeland Security wedded to technology. This is a future which is grey and bleak. As you read the narrative you can almost taste the grit in the air and want to wash off the stink of paranoia and despair that chokes his city. Small sparks of hope come through the four central characters. Two teens, the really key players in this story, are a streetfighter and suburban princess who come together to find a little love even while they are desperately trying to find their families who have been taken from them. They are accompanied and aided by a burnt-out teacher (who may be a better man than he knows) and an intelligentsia commando, a secret agent for the smart set who are trying to break out of the corporate dominion. Beware Intellitech! The Global Dynamic surrounds you!
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Posted February 20, 2014
Please don't waste your $ on this book. The plot grabs you at first but gets extremely repetitive. It has the same info over and over with NO real climax. The theory is simple and doesn't make you think. Also, the characters are not well developed so you are never attached enough to care what the outcome is. Again, if you want a complex and intriguing read, please do not waste your $ on this book. I have given up and have no interest in even finish it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 4, 2011
Posted March 31, 2011
Those That Wake is one of those books that really makes you think. The book is labeled dystopian, but I'd say it's much more sci-fi. Normally, I'd say I don't do sci-fi, but I really enjoyed how Jesse Karp created this story based on society's disconnect from human nature and our growing dependency on technology. That, coupled with this crazy, 'I can't believe this is actually what this book is about,' twist, make Those That Wake such a thrilling story.
The post-terrorist attack New Y...moreThose That Wake is one of those books that really makes you think. The book is labeled dystopian, but I'd say it's much more sci-fi. Normally, I'd say I don't do sci-fi, but I really enjoyed how Jesse Karp created this story based on society's disconnect from human nature and our growing dependency on technology. That, coupled with this crazy, 'I can't believe this is actually what this book is about,' twist, make Those That Wake such a thrilling story.
The post-terrorist attack New York isn't so different from our actual NYC and that makes it just a little bit scary. People walk around with their hands and eyes glued to their cell phones, trapped in the world of technology and interacting with people less and less. The four main characters of the story, Remak, Mike, Laura, and Mal, see that when no one else does. They're left in this world where no one knows or remembers them, seemingly hopeless, but still fighting.
At times confusing, always thrilling, and definitely high concept, Those That Wake is a story to ponder. It's split into four parts and starts off a bit slow, but once part 2 rolls around, the energy picks up. It's almost necessary to read this one quickly, otherwise the reader will get lost. I found myself re-reading passages just to make sure I was clear about what was going on, but it's worth it. The ending messes with your mind, switching realities, confusing the reader, but ultimately hopeful. That last word there is important.read the story and find out exactly why.
Those That Wake is a fascinating, fast-paced, mind-blowing take on our collective thoughts and how much life is actually worth. It's a thought-provoking story with intricate twists and tension-filled scenes. Fans of dystopia, sci-fi, and Inception-style stories should get a kick out of it. Jesse Karp has given the YA community something truly unique that stands out and should be noticed. Not only is it well-written, but very well executed as well. I'll be on the lookout for his future work.
Posted September 10, 2011
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