The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.
Charles du Bois
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 Boothe, 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.Thrown together by chance, they must work together to find their way home, learn who, or what, caused this and how to reclaim their lives—and fight the hopelessness gnawing at them throughout.A sequel, entitled What We Become, was released February 26, 2013. Set two years after the original, it deals with Mal and Laura adjusting from the fallout of the first book. While Mal loses himself in his old ways, Laura seems to have entirely forgotten the events of the first book—including people, such as Mal. Feeling something is missing from her life, she goes in search of the truth. Meanwhile, Mal is captured and confronted by corporate agents who give him an offer he can't refuse: In three days, give the Old Man what he wants, or else. And what he wants is the key to absolute power.The author's blog can be found here.
The Librarian: Tell me, Laura, what is your life like now?
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.
As Long as There Is Evil: The Librarian points out in the sequel that hopelessness, while greatly reduced, is still around.
Assimilation Plot: Both books have this, though in different ways. Man in Suit, the villain of the first book, plans to make everyone hopeless and vacant so he can fill them with him. The Old Man, the villain of the second book, uses the neuropleth—a hive mind of mental energy—to assimilate most of New York with plans to do so worldwide.
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, Brath, 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. Also, the sequel reveals a new villain is around afterwards.
The sequel also has this. The Old Man has been defeated and the world is free of his influence, and seems to be on the road to recovery, but Remak and Mal are dead.
The Blank: Man in Suit is described as being hard to describe, with a lack of facial or clothing features but definite familiarity.
Body Surf: Entering the neuropleth allows you to do this at the cost of your physical body.
The Corrupter: Man In Suit. He corrupts people through hopelessness.
The Corruption: Loss of hope. Isabel was unknowingly spreading this via her packages, and Brath falls victim to this.
Covers Always Lie: Minor example, but the jacket for Those That Wake says Mal is erased from the memories of everyone who's ever known him. While this does happen, it's not until much later. The wording also implies that Tommy, Mal's brother, may be the memory-erasure victim, which isn't the case at all.
Fake Memories: A plot point in the sequel. Remak can implant these, and he's done so to Laura.
Foil: In he first book, Mike and Mal. Mike is an older man who can't fight for anything because he believes he's worth nothing, while Mal is a young man who fights no matter what because fighting is the only thing that gives him purpose.
In the sequel, Aaron and Rose are foils to Laura. Aaron is a child genius who believes in the good that technology can bring, while Laura is a teenager who doesn't believe technology is good. Rose is clingy and fragile, while Laura is stronger and assertive.
The sequel has Remak sacrificing himself to save Mal, and Mal sacrificing himself to save Laura.
Hive Mind: The neuropleth, a hive mind of mental energy.
Hope Bringer: Laura is this to Mal, particularly in the sequel. By the end of the series she becomes this for the world.
Hope Crusher: Man in Suit lives by this, as he's hopelessness given form.
Humanoid Abomination: Man in Suit is a humanoid man in a suit who's so blank his features are impossible to describe, and his influence can cause you to kill yourself or try to kill those around you. This is because he's the living idea of hopelessness.
Ice Queen: Arielle Kliest. The only person she warms up to is Castillo.
Loss of Identity: In the sequel, Laura feels empty after losing her memories of the first book and Mal, and has no idea why because she can't remember—but she feels very strongly that her "normal" life is like a dream.
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.