cover image When We Wake

When We Wake

Karen Healey. Little, Brown, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-316-20076-9

Awakening from cryogenic stasis 100 years after being accidentally shot by a sniper, 16-year-old Tegan Oglietti must adjust to a new life in 22nd-century Australia. The big question, both for readers and for Tegan: why has she been revived? The answer, which is gradually revealed through Tegan’s confessional-style narration, demonstrates that, despite technological and other advances, human greed, corruption, and self-interest persist across the centuries. Healey (The Shattering) constructs a very persuasive future world, whose technology, slang, hyperconnectivity, and climatic peril are smartly extrapolated from contemporary society (meat consumption is heavily taxed, drugs are regulated and safe, and Australia has a strict “No Migrant” policy in place). The diversity of the cast is authentic and natural, from the lesbian and transgendered friends Tegan makes to her love interest, a brusque Somali classmate with secrets of his own. Healey doesn’t make her points about social justice and activism through big, flashy moments; the story’s injustices unfold in a way that’s stark and unvarnished, and Tegan’s determination to right the wrongs she finds will hit home with readers. Ages 12–up. Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Mar.)