Still sick. Not contagious, I don't think, but congested and hacky deep in the lung-al area. It makes me cough to talk, have to push air through my throat to go across the vocal cords to make sounds. Awful. I spent most of yesterday in bed, most of today up, though.
We have family in town; Cousin Ann, from Minneapolis, is here. She came for our niece's opera debut on Wednesday, as Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, and we had taken Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off so we could all spend time together, and we are sick. We were able to go to lunch with everyone today (Friday) but are still too tired and achy to spend the weekend in Tacoma with the fambly.
I spent all day and most of the evening in bed, TV on the Design Channel, quilting a quilt for my bro-in-law (last year's Christmas present), and reading when it finally got late enough. I read The Unidentified last night (staying up really late to finish it). Man, what a book!
I wanted something I could read that wasn't too heavy, too emotional, and science fiction often works for me when I am getting ready to go to sleep. It's far enough removed from my real life to be distracting but close enough to be entertaining. I love the aha! moments that come from science fiction, so, The Unidentified, by Rae Mariz was it.
It takes place in a time not too far from now, maybe 15, 20 years down the road. Things are recognizable, buses still run, parents still work, kids go to school. Ah, but the schools are vastly different: they are run by corporations and sponsors. Because there is no money for schools, corporations have stepped in to help out by renovating abandoned malls and turning them into schools called The Game. These corporations "brand" kids, they advance by playing games, they are the face of products marketed within the school, and becoming branded by a company is something many of the kids yearn for.
Katey, also known as Kid, a 15 year-old, is pretty average: she’s not wealthy, has only a few good friends, is a good student, and pretty much feels about school what most teens feel. But because she is observant and doesn’t spend a lot of time following trends and fads via her phone, she becomes aware of some changes in the atmosphere around the Game. She begins to realize that everything she does, everything EVERYone does, is being tracked and used by the Game to create buzz and excitement about certain products and people.
Because Kid doesn’t spend a lot of time on her phone, her mom works very hard to give her the minutes she does, she spends a lot of time watching real people and she sees the beginning of an anti-corporation movement called The Unidentified. Curious about the group, she searches them out, triggering notice by both the corporate sponsors and The Unidentified so becoming the poster child for both.
The Unidentified was really good, something you can actually see happening as education moves away from being publicly funded with tax dollars and major corporations start stepping in to shore up bits and pieces. Certain machines used in lunchrooms, corporations providing specific phones or computers for classroom use, you can see it happening now.
The Unidentified is also really smart, funny, and thought provoking. The characters were well-developed, I loved the slang and language. I loved how refined the societal changes are; since the book is only a few years in the future, there wouldn't be big jumps in language or life and I think she did a really great job illustrating that. Good for ages 13 and up. (Balzer&Bray. $16.99. Available now.)