By Rae Mariz
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
To Sum It Up: Katey “Kid” Dade has always been skeptical of the mindless following that is the Game, but rules are rules, and questioning the sponsors is unheard of. The Game is a design that is supposed to allow teenagers to learn and develop in a safe, interactive environment. Players gain points and progress through the levels, all while being closely monitored. Those with exceptional qualities are branded by sponsors. The branded are like the popular; they are given special opportunities and privileges. Players who are branded are given free stuff and are expected to “sell it” for their sponsors. Kid has never been interested in being branded. She is perfectly content with her two best friends and simple life. But when sponsors try to sell the idea of suicide, Kid becomes curious. Kid’s investigation leads her straight into the life she has tried to avoid.
Review: The whole world Mariz creates in The Unidentified is definitely unique. The only problem I had with the setting of the book was that the author told you things in pieces, making understanding the world a little harder than it should have been. I think it would have been a more enjoyable read if Mariz had told you everything from the start. Obviously, I don’t want the whole entire plot lined up front and center, but it would have been nice to have a little background knowledge on how things work in the Game.
I was indifferent to the main character, Kid. I didn’t find anything that stood out about her. I know that she was supposed to be average, but even after Kid evolved as a character, she was still boring. I felt myself being more attracted to the more minor characters. I especially like Mikey and Jeremy Swift. Mikey plays the “wants to be more than best friends” role perfectly. I felt myself sympathizing with him and looking forward to the chapters in which he had a big role. And Swift! I really, really liked the premise of what the character was supposed to be and found myself wishing for more. I mean, Swift is supposed to be the bad boy, so make him bad! To me, Jeremy was supposed to be a rebel who happened to be branded. But no, Jeremy was just a branded guy who played the rebel to gain more sponsors. The string just fell short with him.
But let’s get to the namesake of the book, the Unidentified! Their little group was really interesting. Unsuspectingly, a lot of the Unidentified were actually popular kids in the Game. I found that interesting because the Unidentified stand for being yourself and breaking away from the system, even if it means that you have to be a nobody.
The ending of the book was surprising, yet disappointing. The ending, as in the last thirty something pages, was good. The mystery was solved with a few twists. I’m pretty good at coming up with theories which tend to be true and figuring out mysteries, but alas, even I couldn’t figure everything out. The ending, as in the last two pages, was upsetting. I expected a great cliffhanger or a dramatic ending, but instead it felt like the transition from one chapter to the other. If there is a sequel to this book, I’m not sure if I would read it or not.
All in All: Well, if you happen to be a computer or techno nerd, like Lee, then chances are you will love it. Personally, this is the kind of book that I would pass on. The Unidentified had so much potential but just didn’t cut it for me.