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Daily Archives: February 22, 2011

The Unidentified by Rae Mariz

Book: THE UNIDENTIFIED by Rae Mariz

Published by: Balzer + Bray / Harper Teen, October 5, 2010

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Format/pages: Hardcover 296 pages

Format read/Source: Hardcover from library

Date read: February 21 2011

Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

Challenges: 100 Books/Year, Dystopia

Summary from Goodreads:

Kid knows her school’s corporate sponsors not-so-secretly monitor her friendships and activities for market research. It’s all a part of the Game; the alternative education system designed to use the addictive kick from video games to encourage academic learning. Everyday, a captive audience of students ages 13-17 enter the nationwide chain store-like Game locations to play.

When a group calling themselves The Unidentified simulates a suicide to protest the power structure of their school, Kid’s investigation into their pranks attracts unwanted attention from the sponsors. As Kid finds out she doesn’t have rights to her ideas, her privacy, or identity, she and her friends look for a way to revolt in a place where all acts of rebellion are just spun into the next new ad campaign.

My Thoughts:

This dystopian book tackles privacy, social networking and consumerism. It has a fast pace and is set in a recognizable world in the future where corporate sponsors run school in abandoned shopping malls. The students rack up points and friends with the goal of becoming “branded” by a sponsor. This is a smart dystopian book with punchy dialogue written with original slang that is a relevant commentary on privacy and consumer issues faced today. With so many vacancies in shopping malls and budget cuts plaguing schools today it makes me wonder if this type of society could occur.

The Game is attractive to parents because it is a safe place for students to go to avoid the dangers of the outside world. The students are monitored with tracking devices that the parents can follow. The video game like school makes learning fun as the students develop their own educational plan based on their interests. The sponsors compete for the students’ interest with their own modules such as math tests on a flight simulator.

The protagonist, fifteen-year-old Katey (aka Kid) is not playing the Game to her full potential. She has few friends on her intouch device and is not a conformist. She does not have the resources to follow the latest fashion trends that would get her noticed by a sponsor. Her best friend Ari has bought into the Game whole-heartedly and would do anything to get sponsored. Kid starts to question her role in the Game when she witnesses a rebellious act by a group called The Unidentified, and gains some sponsor attention. Kid learns that the popularity and gifts afforded by the sponsors comes with strings attached.

In this world there is no privacy and all the students “perform” in school as if they are being watched on camera at all times, which they are. School popularity and cliques are taken to a whole new level with the students trying to stay on top of the trends in order to get free clothes from the sponsors. They follow the rules unquestioningly to avoid the dreaded “Game Over”.  It is hard to find someone to trust and a true friend in this society where gossip and backstabbing are the norm. Even rebellion can be trendy.

I enjoyed this book and following Kid on her journey in the Game. It is a unique observation of identity, privacy and consumerism. This is Rae Mariz’s debut novel and it is a stand-alone book. Recommended if you enjoyed other YA Sci-fi dystopians such as Across The Universe.

I read this book as part of Presenting Lenore’s Dystopian February event. Check out her blog to find out more about the dystopian genre.

For more information:

Amazon | Goodreads | Authors website | Authors twitter

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Book to Movie Adaptations

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish featuring a new top ten list each week. Everyone can participate- head on over to their blog and sign up.

This week’s topic is Top 10 Book to Movie Adaptations. I generally like to read the books before I see the movie version. It’s usually hard for a movie to measure up to the book, but these adaptations are some of my favorites. In no particular order:

1. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World – Based on a graphic novel, Scott Pilgrim is a very unique and visually exciting adaptation.

2. Twilight – The first film is my favorite of the series, but I have enjoyed the film adaptations as a whole. Does a good job adapting the material and with the cast and soundtrack.

3. About A Boy – A well cast and charming film starring Hugh Grant. A bit different than the book, but a heart warming film. Also enjoyed the film version of High Fidelity also by Nick Hornby, with John Cusack and Jack Black.

4. The Outsiders – Loved seeing this when I was reading the book for school. A great companion to the book. Rumble Fish is an enjoyable adaptation as well.

5. The Princess Diaries – A fun, cute, feel good film that captures the sweet and light tone of the book. Anne Hathaway is great as Mia.

6. Speak - The film adapts the difficult subject matter well. Kristen Stewart does a great job with the starring role.

7. Bridget Jones Diary – Captures the tone of the book very well. Love the cast too. Now, the sequel on the other hand…

8. Little Women – The film version with Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon is a touching, emotional and sometimes funny adaptation. A faithful update on the classic book.

9. Ella Enchanted – Charming and funny, I watched this many times with my daughter. An entertaining adaptation starring Anne Hathaway.

10. Harry Potter – Exciting event films that bring the book classics to life. Great cast and visual effects.

edited to add:

11. The Notebook – This romantic, emotional film succeeds very well due to the great chemistry of the leading actors. The book translates successfully to film and has great re-watch appeal.

There are many upcoming movie adaptations I’m looking forward to, such as Beastly, Water for Elephants, The Hunger Games, City of Bones, Breaking Dawn, and If I Stay.

What are your favorite book to movie adaptations? Feel free to share your links below.

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