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Diego stared back with his blue eye ...,
This review is from: Scored (Hardcover)
I added this to my 'to read' list after writing a post for our library blog on the slew of teen dystopia novels with one word titles. I read this after Matched and Bumped. I felt this one was at least equal, if not better, than the others, but looking at them together, I think the cover design let this one down. The summary on the back also failed to play up the romance.
And, speaking of that, here's what I liked about Scored:
- the relationship between Diego and Imani. I didn't feel invested in the relationships in Matched and Bumped, but the one here was funny and enjoyable. There was a subtle repeating motif between Diego's one visible eye (he has a carefully sculptured hair style that covers the other) and the single eyes of the cameras. Two very different gazes.
- the author succeeded in making the main character do bad things without losing the reader's sympathy for her. This is a tricky thing to pull off, and it worked well here.
- characters come in a variety of ethnic groups and socioeconomic demographics. This is openly acknowledged, including the tension this can cause, without taking over the plot.
- Mr Carol. I'm sure Imani will look back and appreciate him some day.
- the fact that it wraps up in a single book. Major plus.
Things I wasn't so into:
- Dystopic fiction always claims to be an account of a 'foreseeable future' which I find silly. Dystopias are metaphors for society as it is today. The Time Machine was about fears in society at the end of the nineteenth century; Nineteen Eighty-Four was about the post WWII years. Scored reflects the unease in recent decades around the education system and economy in the USA. This book would never have been written in, say, Finland, which enjoys one of the highest literacy rates in the world and free university education.
- Along those lines, this was a very USA myopic book, but of course it was written with that audience in mind, so I understand that. Still, I think Imani could have made a good argument against the Score by describing other country's successful education systems in the year 2011 where being from the poorest, smallest town was no barrier to attending the best university.
- You know that feeling when you hear older generations making remarks like 'the internet has destroyed interpersonal relationships!' and you just roll your eyes because you are married to someone you met on Twitter? Scored has a few of those technological paranoia moments. I'm Gen Y, and they always grate with me, so I'd imagine it's worse for the current generation of teens who have never known a world without the internet. The line from the software developer, that he'd written software 'smarter than us' was probably the height of that for me.
Going by the length of this review, the book certainly had me thinking, so this is a good choice for teens who like books that make them think. I thought it would be enjoyble to both younger and older teens.