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Scored

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Overview

Set in the future when teenagers are monitored via camera and their recorded actions and confessions plugged into a computer program that determines their ability to succeed. All kids given a "score" that determines their future potential. This score has the ability to get kids into colleges, grant scholarships, or destroy all hope for the above. Scored's reluctant heroine is Imani, a girl whose high score is brought down when her best friend's score plummets. Where do you draw the line between doing what feels ...
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Scored

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Overview

Set in the future when teenagers are monitored via camera and their recorded actions and confessions plugged into a computer program that determines their ability to succeed. All kids given a "score" that determines their future potential. This score has the ability to get kids into colleges, grant scholarships, or destroy all hope for the above. Scored's reluctant heroine is Imani, a girl whose high score is brought down when her best friend's score plummets. Where do you draw the line between doing what feels morally right and what can mean your future? Friendship, romance, loyalty, family, human connection and human value: all are questioned in this fresh and compelling dystopian novel set in the scarily forseeable future.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The concept behind McLaughlin’s third novel is strong: a hypervigilant 1984- style society that assigns its citizens scores upon which their entire future depends. Imani LeMonde is a high school senior whose every action has been taken with that score in mind—from the friends she makes to the grades she maintains and even the thoughts she has about “lowbies” and the “unscored,” since Score Corp’s cameras can read lips and analyze facial expressions. However, when her association with a rebellious childhood friend sends Imani’s score plummeting, and an unscored classmate, Diego, wants to collaborate on a school project, she begins to question the system. McLaughlin (Cycler) tries hard to incorporate big themes into Imani’s story: the power of individuals versus groups, injustice and oppression, the human tendency to follow authority. But the story bogs down when the author—through Imani—focuses too much on those issues instead of on building romantic tension between Imani and Diego, as well as her conflict with the manipulative school principal. The story feels more like a lecture in human psychology than a satisfying journey. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)
VOYA - Liz Sundermann
In the near future, ScoreCorp has provided underprivileged towns with a pilot of their soon-to-be ubiquitous Score program. Through big brother-esque surveillance, the program is supposed to level the achievement field and ensure that people from all classes have an equal shot at a bright future. Imani is a high school senior who is poised to take full advantage of the program. She is from a poor family, but has achieved the admirable score of 92—enough to get her a scholarship so she can fulfill her dream of becoming a marine biologist and saving the fragile ecosystem of her hometown. Then her best friend's score plummets, tearing her own down with it, and she is forced to re-evaluate the Score and what she thinks about the people in lower brackets, as well as those who have opted out of the program. Most dystopian fiction takes place within an established totalitarian regime, but Scored allows readers to witness the very first stages of a changing society. It is even possible that, due to the actions of Imani and her unscored classmate Diego, the program will never fully launch. This twist is enough to recommend this book to dystopia readers. The author manages to keep the book fairly light in tone and the action progresses swiftly. Imani and her classroom experiences feel true, and the science fiction elements are at a minimum. Scored is a quick read that may provide intellectual stimulation for those who are not actively seeking it. Reviewer: Liz Sundermann
Kirkus Reviews

Everyone is a number in a dystopian near-future in which lives are determined by a corporation's surveillance-driven scores.

Imani LeMonde has grown up under the watchful cameras of Score Corp, a software company promising access to advancement opportunities for those with high-enough scores. When her best friend Cady's score plummets, Cady becomes a liability. If Imani can keep her score over 90 until she graduates, she gets to go to college—otherwise, she can't afford a future. The prospect of freedom through college means being under constant corporate surveillance, making it risky for her to see Cady or Diego, an intelligent yet unscored classmate. When Diego wants to partner with Imani for an essay assignment requiring the scored students to write persuasively against the score and the unscored to argue for it, Imani's score-quest leads her into playing both sides while trying to decide which one is hers. McLaughlin (Recycler, 2009, etc.) keeps the heavy, philosophical ideas married to the characters, thus preventing the story from becoming a preachy rant. Diego's flaws and privilege along with the tension of Imani's final score looming overhead complicate what would otherwise be an open agenda.

The bold, aggressive narrative condemns both No Child Left Behind–style testing and current financial policies, cautioning about what could happen to social mobility in the face of stark inequity.(Science fiction. 13 & up)

School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—In Imani LeMonde's New England town, students are rated on various skills via computer "eyes." A high score ensures a full college scholarship and a lucrative career. Imani has had 90s for a long time, while her friend Cady is in the 70s. Then, Cady is caught having a relationship with an "unscored," and her score plunges; by association, Imani's plummets as well. Without a high number, Imani will not qualify for a scholarship, and her family cannot afford college. She begins investigating ways to improve her rating in the last months before graduation and realizes there isn't one. When her history teacher presents the class with an essay contest to win a scholarship, Imani is intrigued—until he reveals the topic: the "unscored" students will write essays defending ScoreCorp's methods, and the scored students will do the opposite. Imani frets that writing this essay will drop her score even lower, and when Diego, an interesting "unscored" boy, approaches her about writing the essay with dual points of view, her dilemma deepens further. The idea of students' futures being based on something that is supposed to equalize all social groups but instead pushes them apart is an interesting one. Unfortunately, McLaughlin's execution falls flat. The futuristic world she's created is not fleshed out, the only fully described detail being the camera "eyes." The third-person narration keeps readers at a distance so that any connection to the characters and their emotions and fates is limited. Mild cursing and sexual references mark this book for older readers as will the complex explanation of the science behind ScoreCorp's technology. In a vast sea of YA dystopian novels, this one does not stand out.—Lauren Newman, Northern Burlington County Regional Middle School, Columbus, NJ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375868207
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 10/25/2011
  • Pages: 240
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.62 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Lauren McLaughlin grew up in the small town of Wenham, Massachusetts. After college and a brief stint in graduate school, she spent ten “unglamorous” years writing and producing movies before abandoning her screen ambitions to write fiction full-time. Though she fondly remembers much of her time in Massachusetts—the marina, the beach, various teenage escapades—she cannot, for the life of her, remember her SAT scores, her GPA, or any of the numbers that once summed her up. You can visit her at LaurenMcLaughlin.net

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

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(5)

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2012

    One of the best dystopian books for a teen out there

    So normally I don't read books like this but when my friend gave it to me, I figured why not? I fell in love with this book!:) Dystopian books tend not to be most teenagers favorites but I think anyone could enjoy this book! I hope they write another one it was so good! I highly recommend it, and it is great to get you in the mood to read books like 1984, a great classic!:)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2012

    Awesome

    Loved it

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Would make George Orwell proud

    Somerton is a poor town; jobs have been lost since the second Great Depression when the Ponzi schemes and stock market crash left people homeless and helpless. In Somerton, however, they have found a new way of living life - they are what other people call a 'trial city.' Almost everywhere you turn in Somerton, there are small black balls (eyes) hanging from every street corner, café and in every classroom. These eyes were placed there by the Score Corporation, and they are there to watch, judge and keep score of all the students in the town. The score is received is based on many things - intelligence, social abilities, and how the subject can adapt to 'fit in' and do well in their future endeavors. The eyes don't actually 'hear' words, they are set up to read lips, study facial expressions, body movements, emotions, etc. to make sure that you're the "right" kind of person. For someone who has a high enough score, they will receive a free scholarship so that they can go on to college - the only way to do it because the parents are far too poor to further their child's education. If you are an "underscored" student, you will basically have the option of working in a mini-mart.or worse. All 'high scorers' sit together at lunch, hang out together, and stay in their "socially correct" group. If they are seen talking with someone who is underscored THEY lose points and the chance at getting the scholarships. In Somerton live two girls who have been best friends since they were little, and they made a pact that they would never give up their friendship no matter what happened with their scores. Imani is in the '90's' and has maintained her high score for a long time, but her best friend, Cady, has a very low score - and as she grows older and makes bad decisions, the score gets even lower. One day, the day of the month when the Score Charts go up so that all the students can see what their current score is, everyone starts to act very odd around Imani. It seems that almost overnight her score fell from a 92 into the basement. Why? Because the 'eye in the sky' saw her talking to Cady, and her friend then went out and began to date someone with an even lower score. Simply because Imani was 'spotted' as her friend, all her hard work has been erased. She is now shunned by the 90's group - with no hope of ever receiving her scholarship. Until.A teacher with tenure decides to offer a bright light at the end of the 'underscored' tunnel. There IS a scholarship, but in order to apply, a paper must be written that may just get Imani in even more trouble. There are significant questions that this book brings to the surface regarding 'social groups' and the way people are 'placed' into certain sectors of the world based on their actions, skin color, language, etc. Is this simply a new dystopian world that is a mirror image of the Nazi-regime? Or, is it actually exactly the path our country is currently headed down? One of the most amazing lines in this book is when the writer talks about loyalty as being a trait that people USED to think highly of - but no more. The writing is stupendous, the characters are flawless, and Miss McLaughlin has certainly made George Orwell very, very proud. Quill Says: There's nothing left to say but.READ THIS!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2013

    Cover notes/Warnings: Mature language/references Review: What i

    Cover notes/Warnings: Mature language/references
    Review: What if your life was scored, not just your intellect? What if it was scored all the time, wherever you went, dependent on who you hung out with? These are the dilemmas facing Imani. Since she was eight years old, she’s been scored – and always highly. The eyes are everywhere, tracking her every move, facial expression, decision. The higher your score, the more advantages you have for college and a better job. Everyone knows their personal score as it’s posted every month. But, her best friend’s score is dropping, really dropping. Dropping to the point that Imani shouldn’t see her, talk with her, or even acknowledge she exists…but, they made a pact.

    As her friend’s life spirals out-of-control, Imani’s score is drastically lowered and she is confronted with the challenge to write a paper opposing her personal views on scoring, as well as figuring out how to bring her score back up. Thinking that offering to spy on the “unscored” students at her school will help her personal score go up, she begins collaborating with a boy named Diego. The result of collaborating is not what she expects and as she tries to find out more and more about the corporation responsible for the scoring system, she feels more isolated than ever. Her parent’s generation didn’t have to deal with scoring, except for SAT’s, GPA, and other intellectual test scores. They have no clue what it’s like to have your LIFE scored. Her own brother starts to shun her, her best friend is practically out of her life, and she can’t understand her new group of scored “friends.”

    A stunning dystopian novel that will cause a definite reaction as you realize how closely the book mirrors our current system in place. The implication that, in the future, a life can be scored for society’s betterment is indeed chilling…or is it already here? Reviewed by Valerie. Book provided by Deb Shapiro & Company. Review Originally Posted @ Romancing the Book.

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  • Posted December 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    So close to home

    As a teacher, I¿m always trying to get my students to work hard. We all know that the state test scores determine so much for a student. It looks like someone finally wondered what it would be like if we went to the extreme and came up with this awesome book. Imagine a world where you are continuously watched and judged. Imani is a teenager who has bought into the whole ScoreCorp garbage. Why? She has a high score. Everything affects your scores, who you are friends with, who you date, who you work with or help in school. There is no privacy. Step out of line and you could ruin your whole life. Of course, isn¿t it funny that ScoreCorp is the one in control? Only the rich can afford to go to college. If you want a chance then your parents must agree to have you scored. Imani¿s score drops. She is paired with Diego to complete a project. Diego doesn¿t have a score because his family is filthy rich. This pairing up opens Imani¿s eyes to many things that are going on around her.

    I have to say this would be a wonderful book to read together in class. The debates that could occur would be great. I could see picking an issue from the book and using Socratic circles to discuss those issues. I guess I see it this way because I am a teacher and we see so much pressure put on teachers and students about test scores. I think this is a book that parents, teachers and students will enjoy.
    I hope there is more from this author on this topic. If not I look forward to reading more of her work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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