For four weeks Maddie has been living in Los Angeles, trying to be good. But no matter how hard she tries, something inside her won’t be sated. She can’t live a life of half-truths and false pretenses. So one night, she says how she really feels.
That’s all it takes. One night. One bad decision, and Maddie is thrown into a detention center where she’s forced to undergo secretive treatment meant to squash her rebellious streak. The powers that be call it rehabilitation. Maddie calls it torture.
Alone, Maddie will not survive. But if she can find something to hold on to – an image of Justin, their love – maybe she can fight. And if she’s really lucky, maybe she’ll even win.
This is book two in the Awaken series. If you have yet to read Awaken I encourage you to do so. The sequel to the book did not disappoint at all!
Middle Ground picks up where Awaken finishes. Maddie is now living in LA with her brother. If you read Awaken, you will know that Maddie is now a part of the rebels and because of something that happened in the first book, right now she should be in a Detention Centre, but her father, who designed and made the DS (Digital school), used his power to make it look like she was. He sent her to live with her brother and to make sure she didn’t get into anymore trouble. But come on, its Maddie!
While living in LA, Maddie, albeit is happy, also misses her boyfriend Justin who is working at intercepting other kids who are on their way to the Detention centres and inviting them to join their cause. The cause is trying to get rid of the DS for good. They believe that people should have the right to go to school, interact face to face without everything being digitalized. But DS keeps kids safe; there is hardly any crimes and everyone who helps run this programme will do whatever it takes to make sure nothing happens to it.
But when Maddie and her friends go to a virtual nightclub, Maddie decides to test the people there and causes trouble in the club. But this incident is her last because before long, the feds are a-knocking and hauling her to the detention centre for rehabilitation into the DS world. Always being rescued by Justin and their friends, this time there is nothing they can do, and no way to get her out.
What goes on behind closed doors is something that no one will ever see or witness apart from the people inside. It is horrific. Maddie figures out that they are brainwashing the ‘patients’ to make them too scared to face the outside world so they will become dependent on the technology once more, and also Maddie is becoming scared too, her only ‘forbidden’ friend in the center is Gabe, who is a member of staff and has never touched a computer in his life. He helps Maddie through everything but it’s down to Maddie to live through the torment she is suffering and find a way out…her only hope of holding on is the love she has for Justin.
I absolutely fell in love with the second instalment. I have to say that Katie’s writing has definitely gotten stronger (I mean no offence at all to this) and I loved how her style kept me captivated and wanting to keep reading right till the very end. The book is descriptive and it definitely gave me vision of what the detention centre was like and how much horror was behind those walls, hidden away from the outside world. The characters are developed so much that you begin to feel every little emotion they felt, especially Justin and Maddie. It was hard not to fall ever deeper in love with these two. Maddie is utterly besotted with Justin, her love for him is overwhelming, and it’s something that got her through her time in the center.
You could easily see that Justin was in love with Maddie too, and it aggravated me that he didn’t say it back to her, because it was completely obvious. But he would do anything to be with her and get her out of the center and back with him, where she belongs. When they are reunited each time they see each other, I just kept wishing she would run away and go with him, but Maddie was a tough thing and stay at the center, helping her friends to understand and discover exactly what was happening to the kids, along with the help of new recruit, Gabe, who fitted nicely into their little group.
The ending completely set it up for the next book. Albeit, it wasn’t a cliff-hanger but it does leave you wondering what Maddie is going to do. Cannot wait to the last book in this installment!
Again, much the same of my review about Awaken, it truly makes you think about a world where technology completely enters the world, where hardly any face-to-face interactions happen outside the house and you do everything on a computer. Yes, it may be ‘safer’ and crime free but you will always get people wondering about life outside a computer, much like the kids who are in the detention centers and of course, the rebels. Would you like to be confined to a computer world for the rest of your life without really any human contact? I know what my answer would be. A definite HELL NO.