Wide Awake by David Levithan.
Levithan returns to his utopian writing of Boy Meets Boy with this political and social commentary on today’s world. Imagine a future where Bush has created a second Depression, known as the Greater Depression, and the world has survived, but it has turned away from the blue and red of today’s America and embraced a new green party made of Christians and the left out of which the first gay Jewish president is elected. Or is he? In this world, there is no more consumerism, no more brands, no more emphasis on affluenza. It is truly an amazing view of the future of the United States. All is not perfect in this future. There is still intense hatred by right-wing religious people towards people who are gay, but a vast movement has occurred that has created a Christian voting force and lifestyle that focuses on love. Again, amazing and fascinating and uplifting.
Levithan has once again created a world in which readers will want to live. Whenever I set the book down, I found it jarring to return to the world I live in. I saw commercials differently, listened to politicians speak in a detached way, and realized that there is hope even if things go all wrong and gas prices truly skyrocket and the world flips around. There is hope, hope that the new America may be more accepting, more forgiving, and less commercial than where I stand now. And it is all because of Levithan’s knack at creating a world that is at first unthinkable and by the end impossible not to consider seriously. What if? That is the strength of Levithan’s writing. A simple what if?
Levithan’s characterizations are brilliant as well. His writing is effortless and easy to lose yourself in. The characters are people you know, people you are, and people you hope to be one day. Each one can be related to, is completely human, and reacts to the situation in a personal way.
Bravo! Bravo for having the courage to create a view of the future that takes us beyond the immediate darkness and shows us that the future of America is brightly lit with acceptance and love. Bravo!