Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Unidentified by Rae Mariz

The Unidentified

Author: Rae Mariz

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

3 out of 5 stars

Do you ever get the feeling that you’re being watched?  That someone is staring at you, scrutinizing you, taking note of your every flaw?  You might start to shift in your seat, twiddle your thumbs, or act like you don’t notice.  But somehow you just know, and you have this weird feeling like they’re watching your every move.  What if your life was constantly like this?  What if someone really was watching you every second of the day, and you knew… and you liked it.

In the Game, this is how most of the kids feel.  They know all about the cameras set up everywhere, taking in everything they do, say, wear, and think.  The goal is for the different sponsors to use what these kids say and do as products and for marketing.  These kids are supplying the ideas, and the sponsors eat it all up.  Mostly though, the kids vie for the attention of the sponsors.  It’s the teens’ goal to be “branded.”  To be recognized by a certain sponsor and given special treatment.

Fifteen-year-old Katie, you can call her Kid, is just one player in the Game.  The Game is supposed to be a school that’s run by corporate sponsors.  It’s not much of a “school” though.  It is more of a free-for-all for the teens who just want to rise to the top.  In the Game there are tons of different options to choose from, whether you’re into fashion, robots, video games, arts and crafts, or much more, there’s something for you in the Game.  You almost never want to leave, but you’ll have to go home eventually.

Kid doesn’t care to be branded and stand out.  She just wants to enjoy the Game and have some fun.  After a strange prank by a mysterious group known as the Unidentified, Kid starts to question what’s really going on in the Game.  What does it all mean?  What is it doing to all of the kids who are a part of it, becoming obsessed with standing out and finding the latest trends?  And who are the Unidentified?  All is revealed in Rae Mariz’s debut novel that explores the affect that corporations have on today’s youth, taken to the extreme in, The Unidentified!

This book had me questioning what our future could be like if we continued to let our teens carry on the way they are now, constantly with a phone in their hand and not having a care in the world.  Could it eventually turn into something like the Game?  I hope not!  The Unidentified was a funny, yet intense read that had me questioning the sponsors’ real motives and just going along with it to find out.  I suggest this book for older teens fourteen and up, as there is a lot of inappropriate language involved and some concepts that younger readers might not understand.

The characters in The Unidentified felt like real teens that you could find all over the world today.  Yes, the ones in this book might be attention-hungry and accustomed to a different world than ours, but in the end they were still just teenagers.  This helped me connect with them, even though our world is different in many ways.  The teens in The Unidentified, such as Kid and her friends, just want to have fun, enjoy themselves, and do what they love.

The idea behind the Game was very interesting.  It was so cool to see how it all worked and how every teen’s action made a difference.  It was especially interesting when I got a chance to see how the sponsor’s played a role in the teen’s lives if they got branded.  Suddenly it was as if everything changed, and the teen received special treatment and was part of the “cool” crowd that everyone else looked up to.  I wouldn’t call the Game a school though, as that part of it seemed to be more optional.

I really enjoyed the concept behind The Unidentified, but I wish it could have been executed better or explained more.  In general, I got an idea of what it was like to live inside the Game, but what about outside of the Game?  It was kind of hard to understand when Kid was at home and when she was in the Game, and the different aspects of those two lives.  Also, was every kid in the Game, and if not, how come and what was their life like?  Things such as these seemed a bit hazy, and it would have been nice to have seen more explanation for this or to have had it cleared up a bit.

As a warning, there is a lot of inappropriate language in this book.  Personally, it was a bit annoying for me to have to see a cuss word so often.  However, I do think this help set the tone of the book and it really did give more of a sense of what the world in The Unidentified was like.  If you aren’t really comfortable with a lot of language like that, then I may not suggest this one for you.

On the whole, The Unidentified is a fast-paced, humorous read that also gives us a glimpse of the dark future that our world could turn into.  Filled with laughs and relatable characters, this book will leave you wanting more.  Join Kid, as she plays the Game, all the while questioning what it’s really doing to everyone in, The Unidentified!

-This is T.B. with Another Book Back on the Shelf…
Until Next Time, Keep Reading!

Check out Rae Mariz's website at
Check out The Unidentified website at


  1. This book has been on my shelf forever! I've been meaning to read it. I'm glad you liked the concept and characters! It's a bummer that the setting wasn't as developed as it could've been, but overall the book sounds good! Thanks for the review. :)

  2. I love the idea of the propaganda in this, and I want to know more about this "game" and what goes on in it. Is it like a mall? A virtual world?Sounds cool and I think I have it on hold so hopefully I get it soon! Thanks for the great reminder Tessa ;)

  3. WOW! This book sounds so amazing! It kind of has that whole "Hunger Games" feel to it (or maybe that's just me), but the whole idea that you described sounds way more than intriguing! There's no doubt that I'm going to pick this one up! :)

    Awesome review, Tessa! :) You always write really thorough and descriptive ones -- I love it!

  4. This looks creepy but like a good read.
    Thanks for posting.

    Cassandra @ Book & Movie Dimension (

  5. Lauren M- Thanks! Hopefully you get a chance to read this one soon, because I would love to hear what you think of it!

    Laura (All of Everything)- Anytime Laura :) That's a great way to put it! The propaganda in the story, really is what this book is all about, and how it affects these teens. The Game is very intriguing, and it's sort of a mall/school. The "school" is a very loosely used term though.

    Mimi Valentine- I'm so glad this one sounds interesting to you! I agree, it definitely has that whole "Hunger Games" feel to it. Can't wait to hear what you think of this one!

    Cassandra- I never thought of that, but this one definitely is a bit creepy. The group, the Unidentified, does pull off some unnerving stunts, that's for sure. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I've been meaning to read this book for a while. Sorry to hear it wasn't explained as well as it could have been, but I do like the sound of the rest of it. Thank you for the warning about the language!

  7. Hmm, sounded like it would be serious. The cover reminds me of the Adoration of Jenna Fox. I guess that's why I thought it would be serious. I think it sounds great. I'll have to read this one and give it to my teen to read. Maybe it'll help explain why designer isn't all it's cracked up to be!


  8. Small Review- Hopefully, you get a chance to read this one soon! Even though some parts weren't explained as well, the rest of it was very intriguing. Glad I was able to give you a heads up on the language.

    Buried In Books- I agree, the cover definitely reminds me a bit of The Adoration of Jenna Fox. This one has a serious side to it, and I think it'd be great for your teen to read! It'll really show what kind of control corporations have, and how so may teens strive to rise to the top.

  9. The book definitely had an eerie quality about the idea and direction of both the Game and the Unidentified. It was definitely a great book to read, just because I could understand the viewpoint of the teenagers. However, it is daunting to imagine a future for our society such as that portrayed by Rae Mariz. Thanks for the review.

  10. I agree, this one definitely had an eerie quality to it, and I can't imagine growing up in a world like that. It might seem fun to live in the Game, but there's much darker things going on behind its walls. The viewpoint of the teens was very well done as well, and I could easily relate. Thanks for stopping by!


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