The recent trend in dystopian young adult books continues with Those that Wake by Jesse Karp. Set in a future New York City where technology consumes the lives and minds of everyone, the setting of this story is dark and foreboding, filled with shadowy, threatening authority figures and a populace that is so self-involved as to be almost paranoid.
Laura has a perfect life. She makes good grades in school. She has a bright future ahead of her. Then one day, her parents no longer know who she is, and no one at her school has any memory of her. Mal is a loner, a boxer with no family but his brother, Tommy. After one middle-of-the-night phone call, Tommy disappears, and soon no one remembers Mal, either. When Mal and Laura meet, they discover that they have both had strange dreams, and everything around them seems to be breaking down. The two must struggle to figure out what is happening to their society, and to try to reclaim their lives.
Those That Wake is not a book that is overwhelmed with backstory and setting details. On the contrary, details are few and far between for both the reader and the characters, which can be a bit confusing. The book is well-written and the characters are engaging, but this lack of detail detracts from the quality of the writing and the story.