Hugo recommendation: When We Wake

I recently read Karen Healey's 2013 YA SF novel When We Wake (which is out in paperback today!), and I liked it quite a bit.

I don't often read books in the year they come out, so I can't often nominate for the novel Hugo. But in this case I did read it in time, and I'll be nominating it.

It's about a sixteen-year-old Australian girl from 2027 who suddenly wakes up a hundred years in her future, having spent the intervening time in cryogenic storage. There have been, of course, many stories featuring frozen people waking up in the future, dating back to at least 1887. But I don't think I've seen one before with a teen girl protagonist, certainly not one I've liked this much.

This is Karen's third novel; I liked the first two plenty, but I like this one best of hers so far. The characters are compelling, and the narration and dialogue are snappy and regularly funny:

“Any questions?” I asked. Abdi opened his mouth. “Any sincere, nonsarcastic questions?” He closed it.

The politics—heavily left-leaning, but with some excellent nuances—appeal to me; the romance may not be unexpected, but it's sweet and charming; the book is both thoughtful and fun, and is a fast and enjoyable read.

I'm mildly dubious about a couple of backstory elements revealed at the end, but that didn't significantly reduce my enjoyment of the book. Overall, highly recommended. And I'm not the only one who thinks so; the book is on the ballot for SFWA's Andre Norton Award for YA sf.

And if you haven't read it, you still have time, 'cause there's two weeks left 'til Hugo nominations close.

(Also nearly two weeks left 'til Nebula/Bradbury/Norton voting closes, but I'm not a full SFWA member so won't be voting in that (and I haven't read most of the other nominees anyway), so I'm focusing my awards recommendations on Hugo nominations.)

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