Monday, March 28, 2011

The Unidentified by Rae Mariz: Urban YA Speculative Fiction of the Year

As seen on
I know it’s only March, but I have chosen my UYASF Book of the Year and it comes as no surprise.  With friends like Hannah Moskowitz and Cory Doctorow endorsing her novel, Rae Mariz has her foot, leg and body in the best-seller door with her debut novel.  She creates a dystopian society by turning high school into “the Game” where lectures are video games, projects get you points and your popularity gets you branded by major corporations.  The students of The Game are sheltered inside a virtual world bubble that is fit to burst. The Unidentified is the only group that sees the side-effects of the corruption and challenges the unethical practice of corporate sponsorship head on.  
Mariz takes educational gaming to a whole new level. She comes up with innovative, why-didn’t-I-think-of-that fashion, communication and security measures.  The irony is exposed brilliantly without rhetoric or preachy exposition.  Mariz takes advantage of her own youth to empathize with her characters.  It is easy to understand how they feel.  It is a smooth read with much head-nodding and ah-hahs.  She even creates a new style of blasphemy when her characters curse Oh My Google!
BEWARE! MY NEXT COMMENT GIVES AWAY PLOT DETAILS!: The love triangle is a bit predictable.  No girl can be best friends with a geeky, sensitive guy for too long before she falls for him, and nothing jumpstarts this realization faster than dating her best friend’s best friend.  It’s only natural.  I don’t consider this a downside to the book, since I’d be ticked if it didn’t work out that way.
OK YOU CAN READ AGAIN!:  This book boosts my opposition to problems like social profiling, name branding and media exposure.  It gives me hope that the next generation won’t succumb to unethical propaganda, but what do I know?  I thought the same thing about my generation.
So support our youth! Stay on their good side! Support YA authors! Go out a get this book!


Colene Murphy said...

HA!"Ok you can read again" made me laugh. Sounds like a good read! I did skip the spoiler bit, but I appreciate the warning!

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