“Not my favorite book ever but still pretty good. I think I liked Awaken better!”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It
“what happened the first book was so good the characters were off and the plot went in the wrong direction”see full review » see other reviews »
“Not my favorite book ever but still pretty good. I think I liked Awaken better!”Annie wrote this review Saturday, September 21, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This novel kept my attention all the way through--loved the storyline and characters--it is fully believable and action-packed. I have not read the first one, I will make sure to go back and read that one as well. ”Mrs. Branham, CHS Library Media Specialist wrote this review Saturday, July 13, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I haven't really done all of the books I've read this year so the book count might not be totally accurate or whatever”Grace F. wrote this review Friday, June 7, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“what happened the first book was so good the characters were off and the plot went in the wrong direction”Eleanor Heckman wrote this review Saturday, March 30, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“wonderfully written sequel to a very thought provoking first book. middle ground keeps you on your toes and keeps you mind working even when your not reading it. Katie Kacvinsky does a great job intertwining a fabulous love story into this thought provoking story. the book gave me chills will some of the erie similarities to today's society. I'll be interested to see what comes next in this story. Definitely should be the next series you pick up!”Kali R wrote this review Sunday, December 30, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This was a pretty good sequel. I had a tough time getting into it because I’ve been reading too many dystopians lately, but it picked up later on. This book is very relevant to real life. It’s the most realistic kind of dystopian series I’ve read. This book could easily become reality, which is kind of sad. I like being on the computer, but not all day! Maddie’s a really strong protagonist. She does remind me of Lena from Delirium, but more rebellious. Justine sounds like a great guy, but he’s not a strong enough love interest. I think he was better in the first book, Awaken, but I’d say that this book is much more focused on Maddie.
When she was put in the detention center, that’s when the story got really exciting. I like psychological thrillers with asylums and crazy people, not that this DC was really an insane asylum. She really fights hard against the brainwashing and “The Cure.” And then there’s a new character, Gabe, who helps her stay sane. (No love triangles occur, don’t worry) He’s a staff member, and never used a computer before.
I really think the technology like the MindReaders seem a bit advanced, but cool. And all this virtual stuff reminds me of Under the Never Sky, with its realms. It would be cool to have all this virtual reality stuff, as long as we don’t lose touch with the real world.
This book’s theme is to not let technology take over your life. Face-to-face communication is important. It makes us human, not machine. Humans are social creatures and technology changes the way we socialize. We should spend more time Unplugged than plugged in. Our life isn’t the internet. The internet is just a tool. We need to live our lives, now view them. I feel like I could write a whole response paper to this series. I highly recommend these books if you are looking for something dystopian/sci-fi with a real message. If you liked Delirium, Under the Never Sky, Possession, you should read this.
Cover Art Review: I think I liked the first book’s cover better. I understand the metaphor. A flower trapped in a jar, and on this cover, butterflies being let go. I just don’t think the butterflies look like they fit on the cover. They’re too colorful. Maybe if they were all one or two colors.
“I love this series. It is about a time that sounds like the not too distant future where everyone sits at home on the computer and everything they experience is virtual. Virtual school, shopping, parties, even funerals are done via computer. But a group of people don't agree and want to do things face to face and of course they are arrested and sent to detention centers. Some of it was kind of scary to think about. The love story is adorable too.”Veray C wrote this review Sunday, November 11, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Review to come...”Born Bookish wrote this review Thursday, October 18, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Originally posted on A Reader of Fictions: http://readeroffictions.blogspot.com/2012/10/review-middle-ground-blog-tour.html
There's one thing pretty much every blogger I know agrees on: those early reviews are terrible. We all grow and change all the time, influenced by lives, friends, books, television shows, evolving new writing styles and review formats. My tastes have changed so much over the two years I've been blogging, and I don't always know how much to trust my own opinions from a couple years back. Sometimes it's even difficult to trust more recent opinions, because if you catch a book in the perfect mood, you'll love it, even if 9 times out of 10, you would rather feed yourself to a velociraptor than sit through it. This is my long-winded way of saying that I really liked Awaken at the time, and very much wanted to read the sequel, but feared that it probably wasn't as good as I thought then. Well, truth be told, I wouldn't like it as much now, but I did still enjoy Middle Ground with more dystopias under my belt.
What I like most about this series is the writing. Kacvinsky achieves a nice teenage voice, I think, not overly simple or complex. Maddie really does read a like teen, complete with incorrect assumptions based on her narrow-minded worldview and obsession with boys, or one boy in particular. That sounds bad, but, let's face it, she's young and still learning, but at pretty much every point feels like she knows everything, even when the reader can tell she super doesn't. This rings true with what I remember of being a teen, that feeling that pretty much everything was an external problem and that you had everything worked out. The older you get, it seems the less anything seems to make sense, at least for me.
From what I can gather from some review reading, my memory not permitting me to recall Awaken clearly and time not permitting a reread, romance rather took the front seat to the dystopian plot in the first book. In this one, I think they were a bit more even. Maddie, like Eve from Anna Carey's trilogy, does spend a lot of time thinking about Justin, but she does actually turn her mind and her strength to real problems. There are scenes where female characters discuss things that aren't boys, so hurrah Bechdel test passed.
Still, the world building is pretty weak and vague. Basically, Justin's group of rebels opposes DS (Digital School), because they think people need to get out and live their lives. The problem with this is that you're only in school for part of your life, and I have no idea what grown ups' lives are like in this world, with the exception of the people working for digital school; the education system just doesn't seem as huge a foe as, say, the government as a whole, though I do get their point that if you are inculcated in the belief that it's better to stay inside all day, then you'll continue to do so. Where does food come from, I wonder? No idea. There's so much left unsaid.
Still, lame world building happens a lot in dystopias, sad though that is to admit. What makes it worse here is how preachy Kacvinsky is about it. The horrors of DS, of a life fully digital, are constantly outlined, like a kid trying to write a paper about technology gone bad. All of the deep discussions come across heavy-handed, as though the answers are being passed down to you, rather than provoking a feeling or thoughts within the reader. It would have helped to see some examples of people gone too far into their digital lives, unwilling to leave their chairs and drowning in their own filth or something. All we really see are perfectly functional people, none of whom seem to suffer from a fear of the outdoors. Sure, it's odd that people would go to a club and plug into the computer to talk to one another as avatars even though they're physically in the same room, but so what?
The book improved when Maggie got taken to the LADC (Los Angeles Detention Center). In there, we do get a better sense of why the system is horrific. This section reminded me of A Clockwork Orange a bit. This added a much harsher, more realistic feeling to the series. Prior to this, it felt a lot more like a girl rebelling against her daddy because he didn't like her boyfriend (though they weren't officially together at the time).
I expected to be seriously annoyed by the romance, and, certainly, there were moments where I wanted to kick them both in the shins. For example, at the beginning, he's disappeared for months without a word, randomly shows up, and she acts like nothing happened. She does eventually lecture him about communication, but he should have gotten the cold shoulder first. *sassy finger waggle* Then later there's a lot of special snowflake stuff where she's afraid of people and he's the only one she can touch. I hate when the reason for things is 'the power of love,' even when it happened in Harry Potter.
However, all of that does get counterbalanced by Maddie actually learning through the course of the book. In Awaken, she basically shifted from obedience to her father's will to obedience to Justin's. This was bad. As this book goes along, she comes to realize the importance of independence and doing things for herself. She makes choices Justin doesn't entirely approve of and becomes more of a partner to him than an inferior. There are even times where he lets her take charge, and I really appreciate this relationship took a turn for the healthy. Though again a bit preachy, I thought this character arc felt real utterly realistic, especially for a girl with daddy issues.
I realize this all comes off a bit ranty, but, as I said, though I could snark about this more, I really did like reading it. The authenticity of Maddie's voice, naive though she may be, kept me wrapped up in the story. I think this series will be a big hit with readers who enjoy the Eve series by Anna Carey or The Pledge series by Kimberly Derting, dystopias that focus a bit more on romance than world building.”