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Scored Hardcover – October 25, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Featured Interview: Lauren McLaughlin

Q. Many dystopian novels are set in a distant future that looks very different from our world today; what made you decide to set this in the not too distant future, essentially just a generation or two removed from where we are now?

A. I don't think you have to look too far into the future to envision nightmare scenarios evolving from current circumstances. We already have surveillance, high stakes testing, potent analytical software that makes judgments about us all the time. When a Google ad pops up on your screen, that's the result of a sophisticated algorithm analyzing your Web habits and making judgments about them. We rank each other by the number of Facebook friends and Twitter followers we have. We're also currently slipping into a desperate situation of massive economic inequality. Wealth is concentrating among fewer and fewer people. The middle class is sinking. The old economy of credit-fueled growth turned out to be a pyramid scheme, and, with that in tatters, there's nothing yet on the horizon to replace it. I don't know where all of this will lead us, but I don't think we're going to have to wait very long to find out. I think we may already be at the leading edge of a real life dystopia. I hope I'm wrong.

Q. Novels that were "required reading" in previous generations are mentioned a few times in Scored (Brave New World, 1984). Did you read either of these when you were in school? Did you discover any books that you still love today because of required reading in school or were you more of a reluctant required reader?

A. I read both Brave New World and 1984 in school. At the time, I was more of a reluctant required reader and the books didn't fully resonate for me. I was a late bloomer. I only fell in love with reading when I was 16, courtesy of an English teacher with a passion for Faulkner. But the strange thing about 1984 is that even though it didn't capture my imagination at the time I read it, the story definitely stuck in my mind. Something about the inescapable nature of that world became a part of my subconscious landscape. That's the power of required reading. You may not know it's in there, but it's in there somewhere. It's part of your understanding of the world and part of the collective unconscious of your peers. It's important for teens to read books of their own choosing for pleasure, but it's equally important for them to read outside of their own preferences. That's where you find those unexpected gems. I never would have chosen a Faulkner novel off the library shelf. The first few pages of The Sound and the Fury went straight over my head. That's a hard book to read. But boy am I glad my teacher made me read it. That book changed my life.

Q. What do you hope that the reader will take away from reading Scored?

A. I want to make people uncomfortable. I want them to feel the seduction of ubiquitous surveillance at the same time as being afraid of it. That's the kind of reader experience I'm looking for. Not only is it vastly more emotionally gripping to love and fear the same thing, but it also reflects, on a philosophical level, precisely the bind we're heading into as a society. Technology is a force for good and evil and we're not always equipped to know the difference. I want readers to think about these issues in complex emotional ways, because it's these complex emotions that will ultimately drive technological and societal change. As an author, I get nothing from creating simple easy-to-hate bad guys. It's too easy. Nor am I interested in reinforcing something people already know and believe. My goal is to make the counter-argument so seductive it occasionally gets mistaken for the argument. This will confuse and anger some readers, but I think it makes for vastly more interesting conversation.

Q. When you were a teen, were you more like Imani or Cady?

A. I would say that I was Imani with Cady itching to burst through. I wasn't a rebel, but I wasn't a conformist either. Truthfully, there wasn't much to rebel against. My teachers were excellent and engaging, my parents were supportive and cool, and most (though by no means all) of my fellow students were decent and kind. There was room in my upbringing for curiosity and doubt, so I never felt stifled. I actually experienced my rebellious phase when I went to college. At that point, I was Cady all the way.


"The bold, aggressive narrative condemns both No Child Left Behind-style testing and current financial policies, cautioning about what could happen to social mobility in the face of stark inequity." - Kirkus

"Most dystopian fiction takes place within an established totalitarian regime, but Scored allows readers to witness the very first stages of a changing society." - VOYA

"A tense and chilling look at a near future that's all too recognizable. Scored will bring out the rebel in every reader." -Scott Westerfeld, author of Goliath

"the most rounded, thought-provoking and pulse-pounding exploration of the surveillance society I've yet read." - Cory Doctorow

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375868208
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375868207
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,708,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Karen A. Oconnor on November 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I have mixed feelings about this book and I wish there were half stars because I would have given this book 3.5 stars.

I read this book in one night which says something...first I have to say that this book flowed really well and so it was easy to keep reading w/out taking breaks (even though the book was just over 200pg)...

The story is a dystopian where there are cameras everywhere that record all teenagers. That's right, teenagers. The whole idea behind this story is that in this world you have to have a high enough score in order for any university/college in the state will be paid for you (a scholarship from ScoreCorp who owns all the cameras, etc and runs this whole 'program'). And with only a handful of people that can actually afford to pay for their kids to go to college this is very important.

There are 5 elements that you are scored on and those can greatly affect your score. One of the things that will affect your score is the people you hang out with. If you hang out with someone that is scored lower then you (the 60s, 70s, 80s, etc all stick together) then your score will drop. In order to get a scholarship you need to be scored in the upper 90s...and that isn't all...to get a job at all (if you can't afford to go to college) you need to score over a certain number. So these scores are very important.

The main character, Imani, has a score in the 90s and believes strongly in Score Corp, although not everyone does. Imanis score drops drastically through something that was no fault of her own, and she is desperate to get her score back up. Imani is already a senior and has limited time to do this.
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Format: Hardcover
I had a tough time with Scored. The subject matter was not so unbelievable and was actually pretty eerily where it looks like our future could be headed. Do I like it or believe it to be fair? No not at all but it's just the way things are and will be. I mean we're already "scored" in so many aspets of our lives.

But the actual problem I had with the book itself was I didn't like any of the characters and it just got a bit irritating having Imani and Diego debate who was right and wrong all the time. It just was to...political reading? I couldn't think of a better word for what I mean but it just became quite boring. Too much bickering and not enough action so to speak.

Imani was just one of the uppitiest (is that even a word?) people I have ever read and I could not stand her. She ditched a friend for falling in love and supposedly causing her score to drop, she was rude to her parents almost like she was above them (when I say rude I don't mean the usual teenager antics I mean like she came across all holier than though in my opinion), and she was so quick to conspire (backstab) against a classmate just to get a scholarship when she realized there was no way to raise her score. I'm like okay I get it. I can see why she did these things but was it really worth it? I can only speak for myself but I value my friends, family, and self respect more than having a high score or having to backstab to get what I want. She did somewhat redeem herself in the end but far to late to gain any respect in my eyes.
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Format: Hardcover
After the second Great Depression created an insurmountable gap between the rich and the poor, a powerful company known as Score Corp created a new system to give everyone an equal chance at going to college and achieving the American dream: the Score. From kindergarten on, children are under constant surveillance by Score Corp's "eyeballs," cameras that exist to monitor their actions, behavior, friendships, academic performance and more. High school senior Imani LeMonde has worked hard her whole life to have the very high score of 92. Her best friend, Cady Fazio, however, is only a 71, and associating with her is a constant threat to Imani's score. So far, Imani's score has not been too impacted by her friendship, but after Cady is caught in a relationship with an unscored boy at their school, Imani's score suddenly plummets to a 64. At Somerton High, there are only two kinds of unscored students: the uber-rich who can buy a college education, and the untouchable "peasants" who refuse to be scored because they are morally opposed or simply cannot afford it. In an effort to restore her high score, Imani begins a secret collaboration with Diego, an intelligent but unscored boy at her school, who thinks they are merely working together on an essay contest for a college scholarship. Imani hopes that gathering information from Diego, whose mother is a prominent anti-Score Corp lawyer, will improve her score. But once Imani begins to learn more about the truth of the score and its creators, will she be as loyal to the score as she once was?

Part dystopian fiction part social commentary, Scored is an interesting if not fully expanded novel for teens who want something to think about.
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