The Unidentified

( 61 )

Overview

Fifteen-year-old Katey (aka Kid) goes to school in the Game?a mall converted into a "school" run by corporate sponsors. As 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 ...

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The Unidentified

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Overview

Fifteen-year-old Katey (aka Kid) goes to school in the Game—a mall converted into a "school" run by corporate sponsors. As 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.

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Editorial Reviews

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Mariz carefully presents Kid, baffled by the spotlight and longing for days when she could just coast, as not quite being what either group wants, placing her plausibly in a confused middle ground as she, like most teens, struggles to balance individuality and capitalism. ”
Ned Vizzini
“As its characters might say, ‘Google, what a book!’ THE UNIDENTIFIED does what only good speculative fiction can: it uses the language of the future to show us a twisted reflection of our own lives.”
Cory Doctorow
“Subversive, cleverly written, challenging, and surprising.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Mariz carefully presents Kid, baffled by the spotlight and longing for days when she could just coast, as not quite being what either group wants, placing her plausibly in a confused middle ground as she, like most teens, struggles to balance individuality and capitalism. "
Booklist
“This is a futuristic, underground, anticorporate mystery/call to action with a dash of romantic interest that will find a niche with readers of other outsider fiction and those who enjoy imagining the way we will interact in the not-so-distant future.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Mariz carefully presents Kid, baffled by the spotlight and longing for days when she could just coast, as not quite being what either group wants, placing her plausibly in a confused middle ground as she, like most teens, struggles to balance individuality and capitalism. ”
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“Mariz carefully presents Kid, baffled by the spotlight and longing for days when she could just coast, as not quite being what either group wants, placing her plausibly in a confused middle ground as she, like most teens, struggles to balance individuality and capitalism. ”
Publishers Weekly
Sometime in the future, big business controls education. Shopping malls have been converted to high-surveillance schools, and students are "players," participating in a combination of learning and entertainment in a multimedia experience called the Game, while sponsors look for new trends and exploitative opportunities. Katey, aka Kid, chafes at the whole process, but plays along to pursue her dream of making music. When a group calling itself the Unidentified pulls off a daring prank challenging people to think for themselves, Kid's curiosity leads her further down the path of disobedience and resistance. In an ironic twist, Kid's attempt at self-expression brings her to the attention of sponsors, who offer her everything she's wanted. But is it success, or is it selling out? The more she learns about the Unidentified, the less certain she is of her goals and the more determined she is to shake things up. An all-too-logical extrapolation of today's trends, this story of conformity, rebellion, and seeking one's identity is evocative of Scott Westerfeld and Cory Doctorow, injecting a dystopian setting with an optimistic, antiestablishment undercurrent. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)
VOYA - Erin Wyatt
Kid is a player at her local Game site, the new model for schools after corporations have taken over and use the spaces for market research, even sponsoring trendspotters among the students. All the players are connected to schoolwork, sponsors, and the complex social network at school via a series of handheld devices, putting privacy at a premium as people are copied on all the communication of their followers. Kid is an average player, not engaging in many of the activities and expectations within the Game. She is passionate about creating music and has few close friends. When Kid becomes fascinated by a stunt pulled by an underground, counter-culture group called the Unidentified, everything starts to change. As she digs for the truth, she is discovered by the sponsors who try to capitalize on the unstaged cool of the Unidentified while squelching the group. Mariz creates a chilling look at a future that seems uncomfortably probable in this engaging, thought-provoking read. The struggles that Kid deals with are authentic including fitting in, dabbling with romance, struggling with her mom for more independence, and being betrayed by a best friend. All of these things, however, happen in the fishbowl that is the Game, where peers are watching but so are a lot of other unknown forces. With echoes of M. T. Anderson's Feed (Candlewick, 2004/VOYA December 2004), Kid and the band of teens with whom she joins forces try to subvert a system designed to keep them controlled and constant targets of marketing. Reviewer: Erin Wyatt
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—In a startlingly plausible dystopian society, the school system has failed to the point that the government gives over control of national education to corporations. These conglomerates have banded together to create what are known as Game Centers. Here students like Katey Dade, or Kid, go to "school" in refurbished shopping malls. They swipe cards to get in and out, they carry issued cell phones with GPS trackers, they post continuously to profile pages and status feeds (similar to Facebook and Twitter), while administrators and corporate officials monitor their every move. Students who achieve the highest scores in games, set the coolest fashion trends, and gain the utmost popularity are "Branded," instantly assisting the corporations to plug their wares. Kid coasts, never looking to become Branded, but then she is taken up by not just one corporate sponsor, but two, as a "trendspotter." As she tries to balance new expectations with betrayals by lifelong friends and new relationships, Kid also begins to question the societal structure around her. Drawn to the prank-pulling group calling themselves The Unidentified, she longs for her previous anonymity and blissful ignorance of the shady dealings all around her. Well written and featuring a cast that most readers will find some sort of connection with, this novel is an impressive debut. Teens will immediately be able to see the connections to today's technology-dependent society and imagine how the future could be eerily like the setting in The Unidentified. Kid takes readers through myriad emotions on her whirlwind tour as a "name" in the game, and readers will be fixated until the very end. Recommend this one to fans of Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games (Scholastic, 2008) and James Dashner's The Maze Runner (Delacorte, 2009).—Jessica Miller, New Britain Public Library, CT
Kirkus Reviews

In a near future in which corporations run schools and popularity is determined by whether or not you are "branded" by an advertiser, discontented musician Katey "Kid" Dade longs for "authentic" moments not based on market research. She gets one when a mysterious student group known as The Unidentified stages a fake suicide in order to shake their classmates from their sponsored stupor. Kid begins to search for the underground movement's members even as she herself is branded by an online-security company. Dodging both her sponsor and friends, Kid uncovers a secret plot to play the corporations for fools using her as a pawn. Furious, she engineers and launches a technological counterattack that dupes both parties and secures her spot among The Unidentified. Though the rising suspense results in a dissatisfyingly low-stakes conclusion, debut author Mariz successfully creates a frighteningly real, sadly jaded world where teens' material affections are bought and sold on an open market thinly disguised as education. Pass it along to fans of M.T. Anderson's classic Feed, Cory Doctorow's Little Brother (2009) or Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061802096
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/17/2012
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 589,023
  • Age range: 13 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Rae Mariz currently lives in Stockholm after working in public libraries in Seattle, dropping out of art school in Portland, and spending her formative years bouncing around the Bay Area. She's a language geek who enjoys spending her time on ambitious craft projects and playing video games. This is her first novel for teens.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 61 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(19)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(18)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(4)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 61 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 24, 2011

    A very inspirational book!

    I got this book today, read it in 6 hours and loved it from intro to aknowledgements. This book moved me, I really identified myself with the Unidentified. There are a few hidden meanings here and there to add inspiration to the reader. A must read for EVERYONE!!!!!!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 2, 2010

    Fascinating premise--ultimately disappointing

    I won this book in a FirstReads giveaway on Goodreads.


    I chose this book because the premise intrigued me.

    At first glance, the plot and setting seemed futuristic and sci-fi.

    But in today's technological environment where many educational options are available, it didn't seem so far-fetched. With the advent of DVR's and TiVo, consumers are now
    able to skip ads while watching their favorite TV shows so corporations and the parties they contract to market and promote their products have to come up with ingenious and innovative ways to increase exposure and sales revenue. Product placement is one option. In this novel, nationwide, corporations have taken on the responsibility of education for their own self-serving ends.

    In the Game, the students themselves become potential brand ambassadors. Being branded has its pros and cons. Branded students are the elite and, in addition to free merchandise, gain access to VIP privileges and social events. But they are constantly monitored and find it increasingly difficult to trust anyone.

    I am reminded of George Orwell's 1984 and, at the same time, there are familiar elements that readers, especially YA's. will identify with such as:

    . cliques and outcasts
    . popularity
    . gossip
    . jealousy/back-biting
    . cyber-bullying

    that will always be present.

    The book got off to a slow start, picked up somewhat in the middle, only to come to a rushed and inconclusive end. I practically had to force myself to finish it.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 27, 2010

    decent

    had a good message for any age, but too few pages to develop a story with such dramatic influencial potential.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2012

    Wow! Unique

    The story is very different. I thought at first it was going to be like Hunger Games but was not. The thought processes and dialouge is a little odd but made to seem futuristic and fitting for teh time and characters. I liked the complexity of the characters and the well thought out story line. I finished it and thought it over for quite awhile. I love a book that is not just tossed aside ,figuratively or literally, the moment you finish it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2012

    Sigh

    *Shakes head in dissaproval*

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2012

    Amazing

    This book was amazing and the whole "game" idea is wonderful and makes you wish there were more. Not a great ending though...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 8, 2012

    This book wasn't bad, but it really wasn't good either, just kin

    This book wasn't bad, but it really wasn't good either, just kind of boring and the plot wasn't well developed or explained. It was at points confusing and I had a hard time relating to any of it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2012

    Ehhhh

    The story had a good idea but wasnt explained well enough & was too confusing to follow.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2012

    I did not like it at all because it seemed to never really get t

    I did not like it at all because it seemed to never really get to a point, the points it did get to were extremly undeveloped, and I remained confused for most of the book because nothing was explained well at all. I would not recommend this book to anyone, especially not for kids under 15 because of unneeded language. I got this book when it was $0.99, and it was not even worth that.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2012

    Good for teens, but not a very strong book.

    This book is definitely best for young adults: it has a straight forward and simple plot, with a young adult vocabulary. However, what it does, it does well. It would be a good book for young advanced readers or pre-teens and early teens. It has no inappropriate content. Most important is the theme of public and private information, which is an important concept for young readers. Nothing was particularly surprising about this book, but I may recommend it to my younger sister or others in her age group as a way to have them think about the information they put on the internet.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 20, 2012

    Quick read, great sci-fi

    I loved the author's ideas and execution. The idea of this not-so-distant future schooling and corporeality of youth is a fascinating vision. Kudos!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2012

    Interesting Concept.

    Enjoyed this book. It was different from anything I've ready. Fast paced, easy and enjoyable book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2012

    Great book!!

    I found this book in my middle schools library and i thought it looked interesting so i checked it out and it is great so far!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

    Recommend

    This book was a nice find. I would have never found it had I not been searching through the discount nook books. This is certainly a "fun read," nothing serious, but if you are a fan of "dystopian" or "sci fi" this would be a good quick read for you. Interesting concepts throughout the book, needs a little bit more meat to it to be a real hit with a broad group of readers, but I would say give it a try :)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    Confused........

    So im like 13 and i saw this book and it seemed realy good but then i started readig it and its realy confusing i might recommend this to somebody older than m but definately not to somebody around my age.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 1, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    YA Dystopian Recommended

    I really enjoyed this new book with such a great story line. It is another one to add to your read list if you enjoyed Matched or Possession. This is a rather intriguing situation that Kid has landed herself in.

    Imagine if going to school were a game and your fashion, style, friends, interests and hype all determined your scores. If you get enough attention, you could even be sponsored. Most of the teenagers would love to be branded by a sponsor, but few get the opportunity.

    Kid isn't one to stand out among the rest of the school's population but after something dramatic happens that she believes is the work of an outsider. Her investigation along with her best friend Mikey uncovers more than she bargained for and could potentially be a hazard to her health.

    It is not until she meets the leader of the Unidentified does she start to get some answers and confusion along the way. She is being watched closely by the sponsors and a lot is at stake.

    YA Dystopian Recommended

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Confusion!

    I just started to read it......and so far it's very confusing. I think I will like as I go on.....

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2013

    Not bad

    Not the worst book I've ever read, but it could've been a lot better.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2013

    Make you think!

    .

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2013

    I loved the book!!!!!!!!!

    The best book. It was really good its number8 in my top 10 favorite.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 61 Customer Reviews

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