Book Review: The Unidentified by Rae Mariz
From the jacket: ”Fifteen-year-old Katey (aka Kid) goes to school in the Game – a mall converted into a “school” run by corporate sponsors. As the students play their way through the levels, they are also creating products and being used for market research by the sponsors, who are watching them 24/7 on video cameras.
Kid has a vague sense of unease but doesn’t question this existence until one day she witnesses a shocking anticorporate prank. She follows the clues to uncover the identities of the people behind it and discovers an anonymous group that calls itself the Unidentified. Intrigued by their counterculture ideas and enigmatic leader, Kid is drawn into the group. But when the Unidentified’s pranks and even Kid’s own identity are co-opted by the sponsors, Kid decides to do something bigger – something that could change the Game forever.”
An interesting premise – what if our school systems failed (not so far from reality as you’d think) and were taken over by corporations, who use the kids as market research for their games and products? The need to conform and belong is elevated in the teen years – but what if your education and grades depended on being popular?
This book is disturbingly close to reality in the way that teens constantly use technology update their status and live feed (think Facebook- and Twitter-like) and follow trends with cult like fervor. I thought it was clever too that Mariz flipped back and forth between real conversations and online ones.
I liked Katey because she is very real and down to earth. Katey is like many people – just wants to do what she likes best, which is play her music, hang with a couple good friends, and coast through school under the radar (which is not the point of The Game). Her sudden popularity makes her uncomfortable and strains her relationships with her best friends Ari and Mikey. It’s a shame that Ari was too jealous to be a true friend, but great that Mikey stood by her even when she fell for the popular guy.
The ideals of the Unidentified appeal to Katey because she realizes how artificial The Game is. When she realizes she’s been used – by her friends, the sponsors and even the Unidentified – she does what many of us would like to do in that situation – she makes her point in a big way and gets even. A great young adult read!
I give this book 3 STACKS.
See you in the STACKS,
Nancy – who is technologically challenged sometimes…