The Unidentified by Rae Mariz, NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
The Unidentified

The Unidentified

3.6 62
by Rae Mariz
     
 

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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 creatingproducts 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

Overview

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 creatingproducts 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 anticorporateprank. She follows the clues to uncover the identities of the people behind it and discovers an anonymous group that callsitself the Unidentified. Intrigued by their countercultureideas 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.

This funny, sharp, and thought-provoking novel heralds the arrival of a stunning new voice in teen fiction.

Editorial Reviews

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.)
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. ”
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)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062012784
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/05/2010
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
13 Years

What People are saying about this

Cory Doctorow
“Subversive, cleverly written, challenging, and surprising.”
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.”

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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