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The Unidentified Hardcover – October 5, 2010

43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up–In a startlingly plausible dystopian society, the school system has failed to the point that the government gives over control of national education to corporations. These conglomerates have banded together to create what are known as Game Centers. Here students like Katey Dade, or Kid, go to “school” in refurbished shopping malls. They swipe cards to get in and out, they carry issued cell phones with GPS trackers, they post continuously to profile pages and status feeds (similar to Facebook and Twitter), while administrators and corporate officials monitor their every move. Students who achieve the highest scores in games, set the coolest fashion trends, and gain the utmost popularity are “Branded,” instantly assisting the corporations to plug their wares. Kid coasts, never looking to become Branded, but then she is taken up by not just one corporate sponsor, but two, as a “trendspotter.” As she tries to balance new expectations with betrayals by lifelong friends and new relationships, Kid also begins to question the societal structure around her. Drawn to the prank-pulling group calling themselves The Unidentified, she longs for her previous anonymity and blissful ignorance of the shady dealings all around her. Well written and featuring a cast that most readers will find some sort of connection with, this novel is an impressive debut. Teens will immediately be able to see the connections to today's technology-dependent society and imagine how the future could be eerily like the setting in The Unidentified. Kid takes readers through myriad emotions on her whirlwind tour as a “name” in the game, and readers will be fixated until the very end. Recommend this one to fans of Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games (Scholastic, 2008) and James Dashner's The Maze Runner (Delacorte, 2009).Jessica Miller, New Britain Public Library, CT
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Teens in Generation AAA (after Gen X,Y, and Z) are schooled in the “Game,” a mall-like consumer environment where they are supremely connected to one another, and potential sponsors are likewise connected to them. Musically inclined Kid isn’t very engaged with racking up points, improving her profile, or getting branded, but witnessing a staged suicide stunt spurs her to action, seeking out the identity of the so-called Unidentified who masterminded the event. Ironically, the deeper she gets into her investigation, the more appealing she is to the sponsors. Risking her security, her music, and her relationships, Kid perseveres, awakened to a cause worth fighting for. This is a futuristic, underground, anticorporate mystery/call to action with a dash of romantic interest that will find a niche with readers of other outsider fiction and those who enjoy imagining the way we will interact in the not-so-distant future. Grades 7-11. --Heather Booth
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray; First Edition first Printing edition (October 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061802085
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061802089
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #454,444 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Do you ever get creeped out at how much access Google has to information on you? Forget it, because it Unidentified, that's just a fact of life. In fact, `Google' is so accepted as an all-knowing entity that it has replaced `God' in common phrases, i.e. "For the love of God," is now, "For the love of Google."

This is the world that Katey, aka `Kid', is growing up in. It takes place at an undefined point in the future U.S. She is educated by corporate companies who monitor and analyze her decisions every time she swipes her student card at school, aka the 'Game'. The kids get `cliqued' into groups like the Fashion Fascists or the Crafters. Instead of grades, there are game levels. Almost every student at the Game hopes to be `branded' by one of the corporate sponsors who fund and run Kid's school. Being branded means being put on the fast track to success, complete with access to VIP lounges and oodles of freebies. Branded kids have `stream groupies' who follow them on the Game's network. All they had to do is sign away rights to their personal identities, their talents, and the fruits of those talents. All students are a part of one big marketing study that is always in progress. Everything is very carefully planned. Then, one day someone throws a dummy over the railing at the Game with a sign attached: "UNIDENTIFIED. CHOOSE YOUR SUICIDE."

Kid thinks it's the most authentic act she ever has seen in her carefully orchestrated world. She also doesn't get it - she initially thinks it's a failed publicity stunt since there is no clear message. Then she sinks into the mystery and doesn't let go.

First off, I like Kid, and I love her nickname - `Kid' as in she can be `any' kid. It felt that way to me, too. She wasn't a poseur.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Donna C on May 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
You know, THE UNIDENTIFIED had a good premise but the overall execution ended up being rather ho hum for me. At the end of the day it was about the social outcast coming to grips with the social strata in her school with the end result being the nonconformists conforming to the nonconformists' conformity. I was actually kind of disappointed. I'm not really sure what I was expecting but I know it was definitely something a little more than a higher tech Heathers (which is an awesome movie, THE UNIDENTIFIED, not so awesome of a book).

Kid is your standard I DON'T WANT TO FIT IN chick that purposely goes out of her way to not blend in with the crowd. Too bad for her that has the adverse effect and her nonconformist attitude gets picked up by the mall/school sponsors as the new uncool cool. Really, a bit on the lame side. The anti-popular popular. Kid then gets branded and her best friend totally hates her for it because BEST FRIEND has been trying soooooooooo hard to get branded (aka sponsorship and free stuff with access to a VIP lounge) whereas Kid obviously bucked the system. A boy gets involved that equally contributes to the screwing up of things because her other best friend, <s>Ducky</s> Mikey, totally digs her but, of course, doesn't say anything until it's too late and then holds it against her. Brilliant.

Kid makes an effort to seek out The Unidentified, whom I originally thought to be this epic paramilitary group that could exist in Red Dawn or something but it turns out they're just the school freaks with weird hair that buck the system even more than Kid. More disappointment. I saw The Unidentified "twist" coming almost as soon as it entered simply because it played out exactly as what it was. But whatever.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Schilling on January 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
In the mist of my pitiful social life and copious amount of school work, I did finish this book. It took way longer than it should have, though. But that wasn’t all my fault. Part of the reason was that I couldn’t stay interested in this book!

Unidentified is just another dystopian novel that I picked up at the discount section at Books-A-Million. With the plethora of dystopian novels out there, if the book isn’t a drop-dead knock-out mind-blowing story, then it is not worth reading! This genre gives a vast territory of uncharted land for authors to explore, but you cannot just tag behind another author and hope to find a corner they haven’t fully touched! This book wasn’t bad, it was just ordinary.

Ordinary books are boring books, let’s be honest. Creating a school that only exists not to teach, but to promote commercial items is an old concept. Making it into a “game” was a new one, yet it wasn’t as exciting as it could be. The story had set up for about 90% of it, then the problem was solved and wrapped up in a nice little bow during the final 10%. I was sitting there wondering what else was going to happen when, *poof*, it ends.

The struggles of the characters weren’t exciting, I didn’t connect with the characters, and sometimes information just seemed to pop up out of nowhere. For instance, she’d add a random fact towards the end of the book that could have and should have been elaborated on, but instead was just a side note.

I don’t think this book was bad, but it was insipid to me. I need wildly interesting and different to keep me engaged right now, or I won’t want to fit in reading time in my schedule. After finishing this book, I read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time in two days. That was a book I wanted to fit in!!
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