Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

The Unidentified by Rae Mariz

November 22nd, 2010 by Debbie's World of Books

Source: Bought

Publication Date: October 5, 2010

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars

Description from Goodreads.com: Kid knows her school’s corporate sponsors not-so-secretly monitor her friendships and activities for market research. It’s all a part of the Game; the alternative education system designed to use the addictive kick from video games to encourage academic learning. Everyday, a captive audience of students ages 13-17 enter the nationwide chain store-like Game locations to play.

When a group calling themselves The Unidentified simulates a suicide to protest the power structure of their school, Kid’s investigation into their pranks attracts unwanted attention from the sponsors. As Kid finds out she doesn’t have rights to her ideas, her privacy, or identity, she and her friends look for a way to revolt in a place where all acts of rebellion are just spun into the next new ad campaign.

This book definitely crept up on me.  I started off thinking it wasn’t going to grab me and next thing you know I could not put it down.  It’s not an action packed story but it is so fitting in the society we live in today and honestly it would not really surprise me if at some point we live life like this.  The teens in the Game are so hooked into social networking that it’s used for schooling purposes, socializing and advertising.  All the students who participate in the Game are given an intouch which is a device that is basically like being on Twitter all the time.  The sponsors of the Game post about promotions, friends can text one another and parents can even use the built in GPS to keep an eye on where their teenagers are at all times.

For many of the teens they strive to become “branded” which means that some company chooses to sponsor them and provide a lot of perks in exchange for those kids advertising their product. Some being better than others like advertising the latest clothing style while others are advertising tampons.  I could relate to Kid because she is not totally comfortable with the idea of being branded and the attention it brings to her.  She much rather stay in the shadows.  So when she finds out about the Unidentified she can relate to them but there is a twist that I did not see coming with the purpose behind the Unidentifieds leader’s plans.

Like I said it’s not an action packed book and I feel like I just cannot do justice to why I enjoyed this book so much but Kid just drew me into her world.

I will have to say though there are some holes and questions left unanswered but I don’t think they really took much away from the story.  For instance, this was supposed to be a new way of schooling but honestly other than a few games that had some math work tossed in there did not seem to be much schooling going on.  I also did not understand why the teenagers were pretty much on lockdown once they leave the Game.  It would have been nice to have a little bit more explanation about the world outside of the Game.

It would have also been nice to get more background on Kid and her best friend, Aria’s history with each other.  The story starts off at a point where Aria is consumed with getting branded where as Kid could not care less so it’s hard to see from their behaviors why they were best friends to begin with.  Fortunately her relationship with her other best friend, Mikey, seems much more plausible and I loved watching the two  of them interact.

And just a minor note that if I had read another phrase “Dear Google” or “Sweet Google!” I was going to lose it.  I get what the author was trying to do since Google is such a big brand now but I just found that irritating.

If you want to see some other thoughts on this book check out these other reviews. Emily’s Reading Room thought the book was underwhelmed and Steph Su Reads gave it a 5 out of 5 star rating.

Posted in 4 Star Books, Books, Dystopia, Young Adult

5 Responses

  1. The1stdaughter (Danielle Smith)

    I hadn’t even heard of this one and I’m on a huge dystopia thing right now, so I’m definitely going to try it! Fantastic review! I love the idea of “branding”and “tracking”, sounds a bit like that Tom Cruise movie…Minority Report.

  2. Michelle

    I looked at this one in Borders a few weeks back and couldn’t bring myself to bring it up to the counter. I don’t know why but it just doesn’t have that hook for me.

  3. Carrie K.

    Sounds good – another one for the to-read list!

  4. dsuzuki

    Danielle-I think because this one wasn’t action packed or huge drama. It was just an interesting commentary on today’s social media society.
    Michelle-If you want to read it let me know. I bought it and then also received a copy.
    Carrie-Hope you enjoy it!

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