Unidentified – book review

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The Unidentified
by Rae Mariz
Science Fiction
* * * Stars (Pretty good)

Katey (kidzero) goes to one of the Game schools (hers is for 13-17 year olds) – created, funded, and managed by corporate interests that closely monitor the consumer behaviors of their students and test out new products on them while gamifying their education.  By now, most of the students only care about popularity, number of friends/people subscribed to their streams, coming to the attention of one of the sponsors and being “branded,” which gives them access to all kinds of perks (VIP lounges, free samples, fame).  Kid isn’t into all of that, but her best friend Ari is obsessed with being the pinnacle of cool and fashionable.  Kid prefers making music and wishes Ari would concentrate more on their band.  Then, someone stages a suicide – using a dummy – and Kid’s investigation into the person (or persons) behind it gets her unexpected attention from not one, but two sponsors.  As she gets in deeper, she finds herself pulled in different directions trying to protect her friends and keep what she knows from her corporate sponsors.  Unfortunately, she essentially signed all of her rights away when she became branded, so Kid has to come up with some way to wiggle out of her contracts.  Kid’s world (an imagined future) seems entirely possible and believable.  Character development (aside from Katey herself) is a little light, but the story moves quickly and is thick with suspense.

Reviewed by YA Librarian