Monday, 24 January 2011

Book Review: The Unidentified by Rae Mariz

Pros: good writing, fast paced, nifty concept, true to life high school atmosphere

Cons: takes a while to understand the school/game setting, plot twists were often obvious

For Parents: there's a little swearing, minor violence, no sex

In a future where corporate sponsors run school as a game, a group of kids wants to reclaim their privacy as the Unidentified.

Katey Dade (@kidzero) is in the pit when the Unidentified pull off their first publicity stunt.  Her interest in the act propels her into the limelight, where she has no desire to be, and forces her to make important decisions regarding her future.

A refreshing change from the weightier, more violent YA books I've read recently (The Hunger Games, Chaos Walking), this is a quick, entertaining book.

Told from Kid's POV, it captures the ups and downs of high school perfectly.  I could easily imagine a future where schools are run by corporations sponsoring events and certain 'in' students.  And the willingness of the kids to have public lives is something facebook attests to today.

The plot focused on Kid's desire to remain low key despite the advantages (depending on your outlook) of being branded.  The language is easy despite a few futuristic curses and expressions (Oh Google).  There's minor swearing, a tiny amount of violence and no sexual content for parents to be concerned about.

The game took a while to take shape.  Mariz drops you into the story with no preparation.  I liked trying to figure out how the game worked but some readers may find it a chore to piece together what's going on.

Ultimately it's a well told story about the importance of choosing friends wisely, of privacy and the freedom to be yourself.

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