Saturday, July 2, 2016

UNPLUGGED by Donna Freitas

Rating: C-
The first book in a provocative new series from acclaimed author Donna Freitas—Feed for a new generation.

Humanity is split into the App World and the Real World—an extravagant virtual world for the wealthy and a dying physical world for the poor. Years ago, Skylar Cruz’s family sent her to the App World for a chance at a better life.

Now Skye is a nobody, a virtual sixteen-year-old girl without any glamorous effects or expensive downloads to make her stand out in the App World. Yet none of that matters to Skye. All she wants is a chance to unplug and see her mother and sister again.

But when the borders between worlds suddenly close, Skye loses that chance. Desperate to reach her family, Skye risks everything to get back to the physical world. Once she arrives, however, she discovers a much larger, darker reality than the one she remembers.

In the tradition of M. T. Anderson’s Feed and Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies, Unplugged kicks off a thrilling and timely sci-fi series for teens from an award-winning writer.

My thoughts on the book:
Unplugged grabbed my interest due to its use of Descartes' philosophy, better known as "the Matrix philosophy." I wanted to see how this book, where you could exist only in your head or in your body - with two fully developed worlds - portrayed that philosophy. It fell a bit short, to be honest. The world-building wasn't done in a way where everything made sense, which made it hard to achieve a willing suspension of disbelief. Some of the things that happened in the book also didn't really make sense, in a scientific way, and were not explained well at all. Furthermore, the "romance" was kind of god awful. A lot of questions were left unanswered throughout the story and even in the abrupt end (the book just kind of stopped without warning. Not a good conclusion for book 1 or lead-in for book 2), and it didn't add mystery as much as it created annoyance. The pacing was okay, and the concept itself was interesting, which kept me reading, but the writing wasn't that great. I'm not sure if I'll read book 2 or not. 

The characters were okay, but none of them felt fully developed. Skye was maybe pretty or maybe not. Not sure, to be honest. She just kind of existed as this shell who liked the ocean and maybe or maybe not liked a boy. Rain was dull and annoying. I think the author was going for mysterious with him, but I just saw him as wishy-washy, kind of weak-minded, and bland. Lacy was maybe a mean girl or maybe she wasn't. Not sure. No one's personalities were really defined, much like the worlds (real and app) weren't really defined. I needed more information on all accounts to fully immerse myself in this world and story. 

Overall, this book was just okay. It wasn't the best thing ever, but it also wasn't awful. I'd recommend checking it out from the library before buying it.

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