Monday, August 16, 2010
15 year old Kid lives in a dystopian future where corporations run schools, using kids for market research and taking ownership of all of their creations. And if you don’t play by the Game’s rules, it’s GAME OVER for you and your future. Kid’s never really thought about the implications of all this corporate power over her life until one day she witnesses a prank by an anticorporate group called The Unidentified. As her interest in the group grows, she attracts the attention of the corporations, who want to repackage Kid and The Unidentified to fit their own agenda.
This novel just feels really timely, what with our present addiction to social media. Kid’s friend Ari does everything she can to “get branded” since a sponsorship by a corporation means free stuff and education perks. Officially, education being taken over by the Game is a great opportunity for the student since each has an independent study tailored to their strengths – and learning becomes incredibly interactive and fun (the scene which best illustrates this is one in which Kid masters a difficult math concept on a roller coaster type ride). It’s also a great opportunity for parents, because the outside world has become very dangerous and violent, and the Game not only provides a safe learning environment, it also offers tools to keep track of your kids and set permissions for where they can go and where they can’t.
Of course, as we learn through the course of the novel, the apparent generosity of these corporations who run the game comes at a great price – and it doesn’t stop at lack of privacy either (though it’s nothing as sinister as what the Stark Corporation is up to in Meg Cabot’s Airhhead series).
Though the plot is minimal, the setting and world building shines with perceptive insights into the effects of social media and branding. I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in the Game, and following Kid’s journey from introverted wallflower with low scores to empowered, conscientious consumer.
My rating: 4 Zombie Chickens - An Excellent Example of the Dystopian Genre
THE UNIDENTIFIED comes out on October 5th in hardcover. Find out more about it at the publisher's website.
Since that's a while to wait, I am thrilled to be able to offer a publisher-sponsored copy of the novel to my readers in the US. To enter the giveaway, simply tell me in the comments what corporation might want to sponsor you if you were playing the Game - oh and don't forget your e-mail address so I can contact you. Giveaway will remain open until August 31st at 11:59 pm CST.
See index of all dystopian reviews on Presenting Lenore