When We Wake + While We Run

When We Wake + While We Run                                      

by Karen Healey | SF NZ820 HEA

Part of me is surprised that this duo of YA novels by Kiwi author Karen Healey isn’t on high school English booklists across the country yet, but maybe that’s because it strikes a bit too close to home.  Sixteen year old Australian Tegan Oglietti wakes up after being shot only to find that it’s 2127, and she is the first human to be successfully revived from a medically induced cryonic sleep.  Climate change is a harsh, undeniable reality, the world is divided as refugees try desperately to escape the worst affected areas, and Tegan’s new celebrity status as the ‘Living Dead Girl’ makes her a prime target to sell the Ark Project, an unethical scheme aimed at ‘solving’ the refugee crisis.  She and her new friend, the musically gifted Abdi Taalib, are thrust into a treacherous whirlpool of politics, betrayals, manipulation and injustice, where even holding onto their sense of themselves is almost impossible, but where they could be the only thing standing between millions of people and the Ark Project.

The sheer plausibility and likelihood of Healy’s future world is chilling.  The honest writing style and quick pacing enable the diverse cast of characters to speak for themselves, which they do in an intensely human, relatable way.  The tone rides the line between psychological thriller and sci fi perfectly.  Strongly, strongly recommended.  Way scarier than the Hunger Games and a hell of a lot closer to home.