Rated by Melissa Grey. September 3, 2019. Scholastic Press, 320 p. ISBN: 9781338283570. Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA.
The ratings are real. One number, 0 to 100, determines your place in society. Earn a high rating, and the world is yours for the taking. But fall to zero, and you may as well cease to exist.
Societies thrive on order, and the Rating System is the ultimate symbol of organized social mobility.
The higher it soars, the more valued you are. The lower it plummets, the harder you must work to improve yourself. For the students at the prestigious Maplethorpe Academy, every single thing they do is reflected in their ratings, updated daily and available for all to see.
But when an act of vandalism sullies the front doors of the school, it sets off a chain reaction that will shake the lives of six special students — and the world beyond.
Potentially Sensitive Areas: Mild sexual themes
Kirkus Reviews (July 1, 2019)
Six mismatched students fight against the societal rating system that rules every aspect of their lives. Grey (The Savage Dawn) provides a glimpse into the panoptic future of globalized and wearable technology where teachers, parents, and peers can influence someone’s future by docking points from personal ratings. Access to food, hospitals, and education are all regulated by a person’s rating. A motley crew of students at Maplethorpe Academy are urged into action when someone graffitis, “THE RATINGS ARE NOT REAL,” onto the front door of their school. Bex, the overachieving dark-skinned brain; Javi, the ambiguously Latin and bronze-skinned gay beauty; jocks Chase (coded white) and Hana (Japanese)—dealing with an alcoholic father and an unspecified eating disorder, respectively; Tamsin, the white tarot-reading, rating-defying rebel; and Noah, the photography enthusiast, bi-curious, white recluse are individually targeted as all six receive personal messages. Unsure of who is sending them, the sextet investigates, uniting to fight the tyranny of the school princess and destroy the oppressive rating system. Ever wondered what a dystopian John Hughes young adult novel would be like? Grey closely hits the mark in her departure from fantasy and incursion into science fiction: The novel unfortunately falls into predictability, and the dystopian world is riddled with teen character stereotypes. An unappealing plot peopled with two-dimensional characters. (Science fiction. 13-17)
Publishers Weekly (June 24, 2019)
At elite Maplethorpe Academy, six students receive riddles and clues suggesting that all is not right with their society’s universal rating system, which decides everything from education and healthcare to social standing. Each teen has a reason to challenge or distrust the system, but only by working together can they decipher the messages and discover the truth behind current events. After graffiti warns that “the ratings are not real,” academically struggling jock Chase becomes close to overachieving Bex; professional e-gamer Javi is drawn to photographer Noah; and driven figure skater Hana befriends goth outcast Tamsin, whose rating is plummeting due to a bullying campaign. The six separate narratives don’t intersect until near the end, at which point the teens join forces, leading up to an open-ended conclusion. Grey (the Girl at Midnight books) presents an intriguing premise, but the lack of detail behind the rating system creates uneven worldbuilding, and the story hits perhaps too many buttons, between Chase’s dyslexia and alcoholic father, Hana’s anorexia, Noah’s sister’s leukemia, Javi’s confusion over his attraction to Noah, and Bex’s domineering parents. Still, despite the somewhat cluttered narrative, this is a provocative dystopian offering. Ages 12-up
About the Author
Melissa Grey was born and raised in New York City. She wrote her first short story at the age of twelve and hasn’t stopped writing since. She is the author of The Girl at Midnight, The Shadow Hour, and The Savage Dawn. When she’s not penning novels, she’s writing video games for Voltage Entertainment, most recently Speakeasy Tonight and Starship Promise.
She can also ride a horse and shoot a bow and arrow at the same time, for what it’s worth, which is not much at all. Unless there’s some kind of zombie apocalypse. Then it’ll be worth a whole lot more.
Her website is www.melissa-grey.com.
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