Fifteen year old Katey (aka Kid) goes to school in the Game - a mall converted into a "school" run by corporate sponsors. As the studentsplay their way through the levels, they are also creating products and being used for market research by the sponsors, who are watching them 24/7 on video camera. Kid has a vague sense of unease but doesn't question this existence until one day she witnesses a shocking anticorporate prank. SHe follows the clues to uncover the identities of the people behind it and discovers an anonymous group that calls itself the Unidentified. Intrigued by their counterculture ideas and enigmatic leader, Kid is drawn into the group. But when the Unidentified's pranks and even Kid's own idtentity are co-opted by the sponsors, Kid decides to do something bigger - something that could change the Game forever.
This book scared me. But in a good way. In other dystopian books the setting seems to be a long way into the future. Like after some major natural disaster or world war. But this books dystopian setting? Well it could almost be right now. Except for the fact that we still have organized schools, our world almost perfectly mirrors the world of Kid. We live our lives to get noticed by others. To make a statement. We try to get famous. We constantly are texting people, updating our facebooks, and nothing really seems to be private anymore. The whole world has become one big popularity contest. And slowly, just like Kid and the rest of the characters in this book, we have started to lose our true identities. Thats what this whole book is about. What is our identity? Who are we really? This is how the book so perfectly explains it:
"Who are you?"
He got to his feet too. "How am I supposed to answer that? You want a name? You want to know my likes and dislikes? To list the ethnicity of my ancestors? Would knowing any of these things answer your question? There aren't answers to all questions. The simplest questions are the hardest ones." He leaned in close. "Who are you?"
I opened my mouth to answer, but nothing came.
"Who are you when you're alone? When no one is watching? What's left then?"
My mind was empty. I couldn't think of a single thing that felt true.
I watched his lips as he spoke.
"You are the unidentified."
So is it true? Have we become so caught up in our technology and listing endless things "about us" to impress other people that we have really forgotten who we really are and what really matters? I definitely think its a question worthy of pondering. I know that I spend a lot of my time worrying about impressing other people. Trying to do things, wear things, post things, that will make others take notice of me. This book has helped me realize that I need to worry less about how others view me, and start to work on how I view myself. Because in the long run its not going to matter whether or not so and so liked me, or whether or not my blog got a ton of followers. What really matters is if I'm proud of what I'm doing. Because if what I'm doing makes me happy (and makes God happy because hey that matters too!) then thats the important thing.
The Unidentified really made an impression on me. It raised a lot of good, relevant questions and I genuinely enjoyed the story. Its very different from other dystopian novels I've read. Its unique. Which I guess kind of makes sense since it is a whole book about discovering yourself and being a nonconformist! I give this book 4 and a half out of 5 cupcakes!
So I'm curious my fellow bloggers. Do you agree that we are starting to become too obsessed with how others view us? Do you think that our world is becoming to virtual and impersonal? That we are starting to lose sight of what really matters? Let me know!