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!