Unplugged – book review

by Gordon Korman
Realistic Fiction
* * * Stars (Pretty good)

As the son of a tech billionaire, Jett Baranov is accustomed to getting whatever he wants and is well known for his stunts, which have gotten him into plenty of trouble. Tired of paying for/covering up his son’s pranks (which are becoming more and more dangerous), Jett’s dad sends him (and one of his employees – Matt – to babysit him) off to a remote wellness resort (the Oasis) in Arkansas, where he’s forced to disconnect from the world (no phones, computers, internet), learn to meditate, experience nature, be vegetarian (no meat on the menu!), and bathe in a hot spring. Jett hates everything about it. Most of the kids there feel the same way – with one exception, Grace Atwater. When Grace discovers a strange reptile on the grounds, she makes a secret pet out of it and Jett and a couple of the other kids (Tyrell and Brooklynne) find out and help her care for it. This involves quite a bit of sneaking around – right up Jett’s alley – and forbidden trips into town in a stolen boat so they can feed “Needles.” When Needles disappears, however, Jett has more time to focus on some of the weird things about the Oasis, and when he puts on his detective cap, he uncovers a quite an intricate scheme. His new friends are there to back him up when it looks like it’s curtains for the play boy. If you can look past Jett’s ego/attitude (spoiled, entitled rich kid) in the first part of the book, it’s worth sticking around to see how the story plays out – very much like a Scooby-Doo mystery.

Reviewed by YA Librarian

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