Review: Scored by Lauren McLaughlin

Scored by Lauren McLaughlin
Scored by Lauren McLaughlin
Release Date: October 25, 2011
Publisher: Random House
Page Count: 226
Source: book provided by Deb Shapiro & Company

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.

Cover notes/Warnings: Mature language/references
Review:  What if your life was scored, not just your intellect? What if it was scored all the time, wherever you went, dependent on who you hung out with? These are the dilemmas facing Imani. Since she was eight years old, she’s been scored – and always highly. The eyes are everywhere, tracking her every move, facial expression, decision. The higher your score, the more advantages you have for college and a better job. Everyone knows their personal score as it’s posted every month. But, her best friend’s score is dropping, really dropping. Dropping to the point that Imani shouldn’t see her, talk with her, or even acknowledge she exists…but, they made a pact.

As her friend’s life spirals out-of-control, Imani’s score is drastically lowered and she is confronted with the challenge to write a paper opposing her personal views on scoring, as well as figuring out how to bring her score back up. Thinking that offering to spy on the “unscored” students at her school will help her personal score go up, she begins collaborating with a boy named Diego. The result of collaborating is not what she expects and as she tries to find out more and more about the corporation responsible for the scoring system, she feels more isolated than ever. Her parent’s generation didn’t have to deal with scoring, except for SAT’s, GPA, and other intellectual test scores. They have no clue what it’s like to have your LIFE scored. Her own brother starts to shun her, her best friend is practically out of her life, and she can’t understand her new group of scored “friends.”

A stunning dystopian novel that will cause a definite reaction as you realize how closely the book mirrors our current system in place. The implication that, in the future, a life can be scored for society’s betterment is indeed chilling…or is it already here?

Favorite Quote:  “Imani’s parents had read the brochure and signed the consent back when she was eight years old. They understood the reasons for the score. They understood the opportunities it afforded, but they didn’t – and couldn’t – understand what it was like.” page 37

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