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Hope is but a dream of those that wake.—Matthew Prior
Those That Wake is a Young Adult book written by Jesse Karp.
New York City’s spirit has been crushed. People walk the streets with their heads down, withdrawing from one another and into the cold comfort of technology. Teenagers Mal and Laura have grown up in this reality. They’ve never met. Seemingly, they never will.
But on the same day Mal learns his brother has disappeared, Laura discovers her parents have forgotten her. Both begin a search for their families, but the more they try to look for them, the more they realize that something wants them silenced. Mal and his only friend, Brath, encounter a mysterious building, a delivery girl that works there named Isabel, and a terrifying, implacable man in a suit. Laura, on the other hand, encounters shady government agents who seem to be after her for no reason.
At the same time, Mike, a jaded schoolteacher, and Jon Remak, an education task force manager, realize that something is making New York became more cynical, apathetic, and ultimately hopeless. They, too, run afoul of the building and mysterious man in a suit.
All six parties are subdued and wake up in a desolate, silent forest. Thrown together by chance, they must work together to find their way home, learn what, or who, caused this and how to reclaim their lives--and fight the hopelessness gnawing at them throughout.
A sequel, entitled What We Become, is forthcoming. The author's blog can be found here.
This book contains examples of:
- Adult Fear: Everyone forgetting who you are except you.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: The man in the suit is one of hopelessness.
- Apathetic Citizens: Already prevalent. Made even worse by the building and its doors.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Corporations rule everything, advertisements invade every minute of your life, people retreat into their cellphones, the government patrols public transportation...and the Mets have moved to Las Vegas.
- Bittersweet Ending: The building and Man In Suit have been taken down, his influence is less widespread, and Tommy and Annie have been rescued, but Mike and Isabel are dead, Remak's whereabouts are unknown, no one remembers Laura or Mal, and the corporations are constructing a new building where the old one was--though this one is visible at least.
- The Blank: The man in the suit is described as being hard to describe, with a lack of facial or clothing features but definite familiarity.
- Chekhov's Gun: The Global Dynamic conversation.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Isabel.
- The Corruption: Loss of hope. Isabel was unknowingly spreading this via her packages, and Brath falls victim to this.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Of all people, Mike does this. But it's an illusion.
- Dystopia: The entire city is consistently described as grey and apathetic, and it's slowly been getting worse.
- The Eeyore: Mike.
- Eldritch Location: The tower, only visible to the protagonists. Also, the looping forest.
- Genius Loci: The building and Man in Suit make each other up.
- Gone Horribly Right: Man in Suit and his influence.
- Government Conspiracy: A corporate conspiracy, but close enough; they literally manufactured hopelessness until it grew a mind of its own.
- Hannibal Lecture/Break Them by Talking: Man in Suit is scarily good at this.
- Have You Told Anyone Else?: Brath asks this when the main characters all meet; some tried to, but Isabel didn't get the chance to tell anyone. So he shoots her.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Mike does one to save Tommy and Annie.
- Humanoid Abomination: Man in Suit.
- Implacable Man: The Man in the Suit.
- In-Series Nickname: Man in Suit for...the man in the suit.
- Last-Name Basis: Jon Remak generally goes by Remak.
- Lotus Eater Machine: Mike has a vision where he just beats up Man in Suit and saves the world. He gets famous, rich, has a supermodel wife...but is told his child is worthless and it gets it from his side of the family. This drives him even further into hopelessness.
- Mega Corp: The MCT.
- Mercy Kill: Done to Brath.
- More Than Mind Control: Happens to Brath.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Mal leaving the door open at Mike's school let hopelessness infect it.
- The Nondescript: Man in Suit, who's described as just that.
- Not Himself: Brath, once they reach the forest.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Isabel.
- Science Fantasy
- Unperson: What happens to Laura, and eventually the other main characters.
- The Worm That Walks: Man in Suit has slimy, wriggling things inside of him; it's unclear as to whether they inhabit him or if they're what he's made of, or if it's all just part of Mike's dream.
- Zerg Rush: The brainwashed students do this to Mike and Remak.