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I Belong

Review: Unplugged by Donna Freitas

Title: Unplugged

Author: Donna Freitas

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Series: The Wired (Book #1)

Publication Date: June 21, 2016

Format: Hardcover, 427 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062118609 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062118608 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Tara


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.

Quick & Dirty: An intriguing dystopian science fiction novel that explores what could happen if humans discover a way to live entirely in a virtual world.

Opening Sentence: I’ll never forget the day the news rang through the App World.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Unplugged was an interesting dystopian science fiction novel that explored a  world where the citizens could either live entirely in a virtual world or pick the real one. The story begins with an announcement that the borders between the two worlds are now closed, trapping everyone in the world they’re currently in. This book has some strong social commentary regarding our increasing reliance on electronic devices, which definitely made me think.

Skye was definitely an interesting character. It was hard for me to like her at first but once the story switched to the real world, I was really able to connect with her. I liked that her ultimate goal was to see/save her family and that she stayed focused on that goal the entire time. However, I didn’t really get the idea that she thought her actions through or considered the consequences. I wish she had approached everything more using her head instead of her heart.

The world was somewhat well developed. I wish that there had been more information regarding the technology used to create and sustain the App World, mostly because it seemed as if a majority of individuals in the real world didn’t have any technical knowledge. The world really reminded me of the Matrix, but with the individual’s families serving as their caretakers. In the App World, Freitas created a voyueristic culture that was an eerily logical extension of our own social media culture. It was interesting to see how that affected characters and how they changed once they were in the real world.

Unplugged had excellent pacing, I was impressed by how engaged I remained throughout the whole book. There was just enough tension to keep me interested. There were some parts of the plot that didn’t quite make sense to me, such as why Skye had to become the face of the rebellion instead of Rain, but most of them weren’t huge.

This book was one that left me thinking long after I had finished it. Even though I wasn’t a huge fan of this one, I was intrigued enough by the premise and the plot to want to continue with the series.

Notable Scene:

“She sighed. “Aren’t you even a little relieved you’re off the hook? I mean, did you really want a whole year away from the Apps? From the constant entertainment of being a voyeur? The Keepers barely even have electricity! They, like, use the sun or something archaic like that.”

“Do you really think I care whether I can download a pair of long legs for a few hours or watch Lacy Mills’s every move if it means I’ll never see my mother and sister again?” I shrugged off Inara’s grip. “Without Service, I almost . . . I almost don’t feel like I have a future. I’ll never know what happened to my family.”

Inara’s hands returned to her sides. “Skye, you’re being melodramatic.”

“No, I’m not.” My voice filled the hall, sizzling with anger. The words sparked into the atmosphere like fireworks, then burned away. “Melodrama is exaggerated emotion. Do you really think I’m overreacting?” People were starting to stare. The skin on my hands was turning red. “My mother and sister might be dead!”

The Wired Series:

1. Unplugged

2. The Body Market

3. The Mind Virus (December 2017)


FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Unplugged. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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