The Unidentified

The Unidentified

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 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061802096
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/17/2012
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.68(d)
Age Range: 13 Years

About 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.

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.”

Customer Reviews

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The Unidentified 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 78 reviews.
kaylalulu More than 1 year ago
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!!!!!!
K1721M More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing and the whole "game" idea is wonderful and makes you wish there were more. Not a great ending though...
six_feet_underwater More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story had a good idea but wasnt explained well enough & was too confusing to follow.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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 :)
Regina_Linton More than 1 year ago
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
Alyson Mullee More than 1 year ago
had a good message for any age, but too few pages to develop a story with such dramatic influencial potential.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read The Unidentified by Rae Mariz, a young adult novel. The book is Mariz’s only published novel. It was released in 2010. The book is very hunger game-equse. It takes place in a dystopian future where “schools” are made from abandoned shopping malls. The schools are referred to as “the Game”. Within the game, “players” or teenage students, essentially walk around the school and participate in brand-sponsored activities. They are given an Intouch (similar to a phone) and a Notebook (similar to a laptop/iPad). Both have GPS trackers. All students interact with one another through their Intouches, constantly. There is a constant social media war between students, who are all fighting to be the most popular. Likeable, popular students who consume the most become “branded” by a sponsor or company. When a student is branded, they are able to visit the VIP lounge, make decisions alongside corporations about products, and reign supreme socially. It is the goal of most students to be branded so they can wear the best clothes, get the hottest boyfriends/girlfriends, and be admired and famous in the Game. To me, this book fell flat in several ways. The idea was ingenious, but the execution was off. It seemed to me like Mariz was in a hurry to finish the book and gave up at the end. About two thirds of the book was an in-depth introduction to the society and the school. The climax and ending was less than 50 pages. Many questions remained unanswered. This book seems like it needs a sequel to make sense. If the ending was going to be so abrupt, it should have been a short story instead of a novel. Another criticism of this book is that is is chock-full of teenage stereotypes. The love story is also very predictable. The characters are also underdeveloped. We get more detail on Ari than we do on Kid. I would think Kid would be a rounder character considering she is the main character. I could really only recommend this book to middle school-aged readers. In honesty, I loved the idea of this book- it had much potential and does make a strong point about surveillance and consumerism. I would not recommend this to a higher-level reader, because there is little substance to actually analyze and enjoy. It might be a good challenge for late elementary school readers and middle schoolers, but that’s about it.
ewyatt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An engaging, thought-provoking read about a future America that seems increasingly probable. Corporate America has taken over education and renamed schools as Game sites, largely using them as marketing test sites. Privacy is nonexistent as hand-held devices are used for communicating, networking, and locating everyone. Kid is fascinated by a prank by an underground group called the Unidentified. As she starts to investigate, she is noticed by sponsors and other students, forcing her to fight for what she values.
BookRatMisty on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I first heard about this book on Presenting Lenore where it caught my attention for two reasons: 1) it's a ya dystopia about consumerism (win!) and 2) the cover (for the ARC, at least) reminded me of Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, which meant they needed to be in a Face Off. (The cover has since changed to the one you see up there ^, but the ARC cover -- which is what I have -- can be found below.) I had a feeling this was something I needed to read, so I requested a copy from Balzer and Bray (an imprint of Harper Collins). I never heard anything back (which is not unusual, whether a review copy is coming or not), and so I figured I'd just have to wait the long, tortuous months until it came out -- except that when I got back from ALA, there it was, waiting impatiently for me to read it. And man, am I glad I did.As I said, The Unidentified is about consumerism gone mad, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the bigger picture here is really personal freedoms. Kid lives in a very programmed world that is maybe a hairsbreadth away from our own. This is no far-distant dystopia that gives you shivers but makes you secretly glad our world isn't like this. Kid's world is very current, very of the moment, and incredibly relevant to the lives we live now. It reminded me of a mix of MT Anderson's Feed and Cory Doctorow's Little Brother, though it's not as hard-hitting as either of those. And I don't mean that in a bad way. The Unidentified is, I think, more easily accessible to general audiences, and girls in particular, as the book centers around a very relatable girl. I loved reading through Kid's journey as she became stronger and more analytical.There's a good balance of typical YA fare (friend drama, boy drama, who-am-I drama) blended seamlessly with the tech and dystopian elements, and it all works together to make this a light-but-compelling read for die-hard dystopianites, as well as a good introduction to the genre for those who don't normally read such things. Mariz is great at that gray area that exists in dystopias -- those questions and impressions you get that make 1/2 of you say "Well, this totally makes sense. Kinda cool, actually" and the other 1/2 say "This is wrong; this is bad." I think it's great for discussion, about and beyond the book, but even if you're not going to run out and discuss this with someone, it's still completely unputdownable. So pick it up. ;p
kulmona on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
PaperCrystals on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was received as a Goodreads First Read.Oh, dystopian young adult fiction... you are a staple of the fantasy genre.So it's the not-too-distant future, and schools have been replaced by The Game, a corporate-run marketing fest where popularity is measured by how many online connections you have and getting "branded" by a corporate sponsor is the highest goal. Plus, being branded gets you better grades. Kid, our heroine, is one of your average teens- not one of the popular ones, but not on the bottom of the totem pole- although she's close.I really like that Kid, unlike most protagonists in dystopian fiction, started out regular- not a total drone, but not subversive from the start. She had her music, she didn't want to have a ton of "friends" because her few real ones were satisfying for her; she still wouldn't mind getting branded, or helping her friend get a sponsor. It's her curiosity regarding The Unidentified that pulls her in almost against her will.It's an interesting world, albeit reminiscent of Jennifer Government, where the company and the brand are the be-all and end-all. Unlike JG, though, the only company name that is recognizable is the commonly-used interjection, "Oh my Google!" For something that was clearly set within the next 5-10 years, the lack of brand names that the reader is familiar with can be jarring. I actually kept translating the brand names into something I knew because if you're trying to have commentary on consumerism, "iPhone" is going to make more sense than "intouch."The one other confusing idea was that teenagers were barred from most public places, apparently by law. It was never explained, other than by the teens who commented that people looked afraid of them. I would have liked to know the history the author has for those few comments, or if it was just a set-up for the illegal parking lot parties at the end. If it's legal for teens to gather, then a group dancing in a parking lot isn't subversive...But my problem areas aside, The Unidentified is worth the read, especially if you're a fan of dystopian lit.
waxlight on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cute, Young Adult, Jennifer Government-type book. IE, 'When Corporations Rule the World!'. Entertaining, thought provoking even if it has been done better in other books - it's nice to see dystopian/post-apoc fiction becoming more and more of a presence in the YA genre.
elissajanine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rae is a friend and crit partner of mine, so my review is definitely biased, but I was waiting anxiously for the release of this book, and I wasn't disappointed. It's working perfectly as a discussion starter for my eighth grade students who are studying the ethics of marketing to teens and looking critically at advertising, and the book jump-started a group project on designing the perfect school as well. Kid is a character who is easy to relate to, and even in the near-future setting, her experience is very close to that of today's teens. There are a lot of big concepts and questions to work with here, and I can see this book working well in literature circles, too! A fun read but with a lot of depth.
bookwormygirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I truly loved this book. I found it to be very unique. Ms. Mariz creates a not-too-distant future that seems very credible. I loved how the kids had their own way of talking and awesome gadgetry. Although at first glance it appeared to be a story full of high school drama set within a futuristic setting, it instead ended up being a story with a much more deeper meaning. Imagine a world where standing out only leads to creating a trend. Sponsors entice the students to create cliques. If you're unique or trendy, this only means that some corporation will sponsor you (you'll be "branded") and therefore market you and your style out so that other kids can replicate it. You're cool if you're branded and if you can't afford to make your own fashion statement, you're a nobody. Kid is a nobody. She hangs out with her friends, gets good grades and does what she must to avoid game over (expulsion). But when a prank in school by a group calling themselves "The Unidentified" catches her attention, she finds that her investigative skills are put to the test.This book is the extreme of what would happen if we let consumerism and materialism rule our lives. It also makes you think back on how much we rely on social networks, the internet, computers and even our phones. I love how Ms. Mariz expertly blended typical YA topics (BFF's, cute boys, and even self-discovery) with technology and dystopian elements. This really made for interesting reading. Kid's voice drew me in from the start. She had this loner aspect to her that I really looked up to - especially since she lives in a world where being a loner is not a good thing.The Unidentified was unputdownable. I loved the dystopian-ness of it and the unique storyline. For fans of futuristic YA, dystopian goodness and a stay up late because you-can't-stop-until-you-finish-it read - this is one you'll want to pick up.
bibliophile.brouhaha on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Do you ever get creeped out at how much access Google has to information on you? Forget it, because it Unidentified, that¿s just a fact of life. In fact, `Google¿ is so accepted as an all-knowing entity that it has replaced `God¿ in common phrases, i.e. ¿For the love of God,¿ is now, ¿For the love of Google.¿This is the world that Katey, aka `Kid¿, is growing up in. It takes place at an undefined point in the future U.S. She is educated by corporate companies who monitor and analyze her decisions every time she swipes her student card at school, aka the 'Game'. The kids get `cliqued¿ into groups like the Fashion Fascists or the Crafters. Instead of grades, there are game levels. Almost every student at the Game hopes to be `branded¿ by one of the corporate sponsors who fund and run Kid¿s school. Being branded means being put on the fast track to success, complete with access to VIP lounges and oodles of freebies. Branded kids have `stream groupies¿ who follow them on the Game¿s network. All they had to do is sign away rights to their personal identities, their talents, and the fruits of those talents. All students are a part of one big marketing study that is always in progress. Everything is very carefully planned. Then, one day someone throws a dummy over the railing at the Game with a sign attached: ¿UNIDENTIFIED. CHOOSE YOUR SUICIDE.¿Kid thinks it¿s the most authentic act she ever has seen in her carefully orchestrated world. She also doesn¿t get it ¿ she initially thinks it¿s a failed publicity stunt since there is no clear message. Then she sinks into the mystery and doesn¿t let go. First off, I like Kid, and I love her nickname ¿ `Kid¿ as in she can be `any¿ kid. It felt that way to me, too. She wasn¿t a poseur. She was into what she liked for the simple fact that it brought her pleasure. She wasn¿t out to be branded. She felt accessible, but on a `real¿ level, not on a virtual one. Once she latched onto the mystery of who threw the dummy over the railing and why, I was hooked. However, before that, I had trouble getting into the book. It failed to capture my interest initially, but I think that was because the author was trying to convey the sense of boredom Kid feels in her own life. By the time the book did capture my interest, it still fell within the `under 50 pages or it¿s out¿ rule. Okay, maybe that¿s my rule, but it works. Once I was, I was all in, and the majority of the rest of the book flew by for me. The ending wasn¿t the best ¿ it felt rushed, and truly, I `get¿ what the author was trying to do, but it felt like the easy way out. Let me say this may not be a book for everybody, but it could be. Frankly, it probably should be. I found the vast majority of it fascinating, with minor disappointments at the beginning and end. Despite it dealing with very real and weighty issues such as online privacy, unknowingly participating in a hegemony, corporate bullying and rebellion, Kid goes through the regular motions of being a teenager: crushes, jealousy, feelings of not belonging, etc. However, to truly enjoy it and 'get' what the author is saying, you need to have an understanding or interest in a few different things:***Social networking: if you don't understand social networking, i.e. what it is, how to use it, its advantages and its controversies, you may feel a bit lost.***PR and marketing: If you are not in the least bit interested in how companies gather their information for publicity and sales campaigns, particularly in the online world, then you may have trouble getting into this book. That being said, once you read this book, you may find yourself very interested.***Corporate involvement in education: remember the controversy over credit card companies pushing their cards on college campuses? Did that alarm you? If it did, and you have any insight and knowledge into how corporate sponsorships are playing into education, you might like this book.***If you like 1984 a
stephxsu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Katey ¿Kid¿ Dade feels out of place in the Game, the futuristic school run by Corporations that observe everyone for market research. While her best friend embraces the hectic, consumerist, public lifestyle, Kid isn¿t as concerned that she doesn¿t have a large number of people subscribing to her stream, or that she is absolutely mediocre by Game standards.Then Kid witnesses an unauthorized act of rebellion by a mysterious group called the Unidentified and gets pulled into a type of game of its own. What does this group want from the Corporations? Will Kid get played by these groups, or will she and her friends find a way to overthrow the organizations that have an eye, ear, and hand on them at all times?It¿s been a while since I¿ve read a book that has impressed me, and so when I picked up and got instantly sucked into THE UNIDENTIFIED¿s riveting and eerily familiar world, I was beside myself with happiness. THE UNIDENTIFIED is smart, well-written, and suspenseful, the perfect example of what dystopian literature should be: a fully realized and recognizable world without forgoing characterization and plot.Rae Mariz impressively introduces us to a shocking and complex futuristic world, one in which privacy has no meaning thanks to the constant flow of information and technological interconnection. With Facebook¿s recent introduction of the disconcertingly stalker-like ¿See Friendship¿ button, the issues regarding privacy that THE UNIDENTIFIED explores in such an entertaining and intelligent fashion are so much more immediately relevant. Rae Mariz succeeds in crafting for us a scarily plausible world that is possibly an inevitable extrapolation of the already network-filled world of Facebook and Twitter that we live in.THE UNIDENTIFIED is smart, but it¿s also hardly boring. Kid¿s voice is fresh, with just the right amount of quippy attitude. She¿s the perfect balance of the observant outsider with the propensity to create change, and the gullible market to which the Corporations are pandering. And Kid¿s not the only interesting and well-developed characters. Her two best friends, Ari and Mikey, light up the page with their very different personalities whenever they appear in a scene. Even more minor characters are fully realized with their limited ¿on-page¿ time. The characterization is really an incredible accomplishment for a 300-something page book, which most might even consider short for modern dystopian novel standards.I really wish I had the capacity to speak more about THE UNIDENTIFIED¿s marvelous critique of the infiltration of networking websites in our lives. But I¿ll leave that to the academics, and just let you know that this book does it, along with providing us a highly unputdownable adventure. I don¿t think I can recommend this book enough. READ IT if you¿re looking for smart and snappy dystopian literature.
callmecayce on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I wasn't sure what to expect, and sadly I was worried this book would be a travesty like I Am Number Four. But instead I was pleasantly surprised. I'm a big fan of the cyberpunk kind of SF, whether it's YA or adult. While Mariz's novel isn't quite cyberpunk, it straddles the line enough for me. I hope she writes a follow up. The novel was fun and engaging. At first I found the texting/twitter conversations a bit annoying, but they actually played an important role as the novel went on. I think they turned out to be an assent instead of the distraction I expected.
Strider66 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Pros: good writing, fast paced, nifty concept, true to life high school atmosphereCons: takes a while to understand the school/game setting, plot twists were often obviousFor Parents: there's a little swearing, minor violence, no sexIn 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.
dasuzuki on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book definitely crept up on me. I started off thinking it wasn't going to grab me and next thing you know I could not put it down. It's not an action packed story but it is so fitting in the society we live in today and honestly it would not really surprise me if at some point we live life like this. The teens in the Game are so hooked into social networking that it's used for schooling purposes, socializing and advertising. All the students who participate in the Game are given an intouch which is a device that is basically like being on Twitter all the time. The sponsors of the Game post about promotions, friends can text one another and parents can even use the built in GPS to keep an eye on where their teenagers are at all times.For many of the teens they strive to become "branded" which means that some company chooses to sponsor them and provide a lot of perks in exchange for those kids advertising their product. Some being better than others like advertising the latest clothing style while others are advertising tampons. I could relate to Kid because she is not totally comfortable with the idea of being branded and the attention it brings to her. She much rather stay in the shadows. So when she finds out about the Unidentified she can relate to them but there is a twist that I did not see coming with the purpose behind the Unidentifieds leader's plans.Like I said it's not an action packed book and I feel like I just cannot do justice to why I enjoyed this book so much but Kid just drew me into her world.I will have to say though there are some holes and questions left unanswered but I don't think they really took much away from the story. For instance, this was supposed to be a new way of schooling but honestly other than a few games that had some math work tossed in there did not seem to be much schooling going on. I also did not understand why the teenagers were pretty much on lockdown once they leave the Game. It would have been nice to have a little bit more explanation about the world outside of the Game.It would have also been nice to get more background on Kid and her best friend, Aria's history with each other. The story starts off at a point where Aria is consumed with getting branded where as Kid could not care less so it's hard to see from their behaviors why they were best friends to begin with. Fortunately her relationship with her other best friend, Mikey, seems much more plausible and I loved watch ng the two of them interact.
tbert204 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Honestly, I don't believe this is really a 3-star book. It just wasn't for me.Mariz has created an exaggerative world for the Y-generation where school is a game that is tech driven by advertising sponsors where every action is evaluated, every decision watched, every movement monitored, every desire motivated by product placement. She's created a whole new language of slang that's fresh and authentic, rivaling YA tech author Cory Doctorow. Problem is, the book dwells on the details of the world and language. And while the plot was intriguing, it moved too slowly. I'd gotten more than halfway through the book, hoping the plot would start unfolding a little quicker. Perhaps it would've had I hung in there, but I was tired of waiting. I closed the book when Kid spent three pages shopping with Ari, details that seemed inconsequential. Perhaps something in that scene would prove to be plot-driven, but it was just lost in the details.Nevertheless, a talented writer.