Thursday, March 22, 2012

Review of Scored

My review of Scored by Lauren McLaughlin is based on an ARC that I received from Random Buzzers. The following is my honest opinion of the work.

Goodreads Summary: "Set in the future when teenagers are monitored via camera and their recorded actions and confessions plugged into a computer program that determines their ability to succeed. All kids given a "score" that determines their future potential. This score has the ability to get kids into colleges, grant scholarships, or destroy all hope for the above. Scored's reluctant heroine is Imani, a girl whose high score is brought down when her best friend's score plummets. Where do you draw the line between doing what feels morally right and what can mean your future? Friendship, romance, loyalty, family, human connection and human value: all are questioned in this fresh and compelling dystopian novel set in the scarily forseeable future."

The premise of Scored captured my interest immediately; already it feels as if so many aspects of our lives are based on the scores (or grades) that we receive as a result of various activities, it really makes you wonder what would happen if everything was rated. If everything you did was monitored to see if you had what it took to succeed. It was different, it was unique, it was an idea that stood out to me in the rapidly rising sea of dystopian novels out there.

Some of my favorite scenes in the book were the debates held in Mr. Carol's class, I felt this is where you truly start to get a feel for the environment that Imani has grown up in. As a reader this is where you learn the majority of the information about the scoring system, not so much of how it works but rather why the majority of the population is for it. Through these debates you could see Imani growing as a person, she was beginning to think for herself and not just accept the answers that were given to her as the truth. She questioned things. The fact that you see this gradual change in her, this curiosity is what made her an interesting narrator.

One of my only qualms about this book was the fact that though you know how the scores came about, a couple created the program in order to make the world a more ideal place, the reader never really gets any explanation for how the world go to this point. Aside from a few vague remarks about economic difficulties it's hard to discover where this dystopian society emerged from. There were also a few comments about the land not being taken care of, especially the water where Imani took her boat out but these too were vague. I wanted to know more. I understand that the focus was on the scores but I wanted to know what went so wrong, how things got so bad, that the idea of having these eyes everywhere scoring people came to look like such a great idea.

I'm giving Scored by Lauren McLaughlin a three out of five stars review. I liked it and found myself entertained for a few hours but I didn't find myself questioning the world around me, examining the possibilities of our world becoming like that of Imani's. I closed the book feeling that there was more that McLaughlin could have done with this concept and sincerely wishing that she had as I enjoyed passing the time with Imani.

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