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A Reader of Fictions: Intuition - Jewel

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Monday, January 10, 2011

Intuition - Jewel

The Unidentified

Author: Rae Mariz
Genre: dystopia
Pages: 296
Publisher: Balzer + Bray, a HarperCollins imprint

Brief Summary:
Katey Dade, aka kidzero, is a part of the Game. Instead of a regular school, she attends the game, wherein learning is made fun and popularity contests earn class credit. Katey does not really care about most of that; she just wants to spend time with her two best friends, Mikey and Ari, and make music. She worries about Ari's need to be branded, to get a sponsor and all of the perks that come with that. Everything changes for Katey when a prank occurs in the Pit and she suddenly finds herself going from a zero to someone everyone is watching.

The dystopian vision of The Unidentified is restricted primarily to education and the impulse to materialism. While some aspects of the Game are hard for me to imagine as a realistic path a society might take, they are made more convincing by their interweaving with current technologies.

Every student in the Game carries an intouchĀ®, on which they update their network. The network page has the functionality of Facebook: chat, information about interests and friendships. In addition to the importance of this, there are also the streams, based upon Twitter. Everyone communicates via these modes of communication and a whole culture has developed around following people's streams; for example, it is rude to comment on a conversation not directed your way and it is a big deal to be @ed by a branded person.

I found Katey to be a very likable a and realistic character. She is mostly a loner, preferring the company of a select few to popularity. Still, she can be led astray and make bad choices. Even so, I forgave her for her errors and transgressions, because they are so high school. I can remember feeling the way she does in the book, feeling like maybe it would be worth sacrificing some parts of yourself to be popular. Just because she falls into that trap does not make her any less clever, it just makes her human.

I really loved this book. It manages to make a dystopian society that really isn't terrifying or violent. It's mass consumerism, popularity contests, and connection without closeness. Very well done. I hope to see more from Rae Mariz!

"I'm just a simple girl
In a high tech digital world
I really try to understand
All the powers that rule this land
They say Miss J's big butt is boss
Kate Moss can't find a job
In a world of post modern fad
What was good now is bad"

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