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Scored

Review

Scored

Any student will tell you that scores can make all the difference. When their young, they learn that a higher score is better than a lower one. As they progress through different grade levels, they start figuring out who gets better grades than others, and sometimes parents urge their children to hang out with the smarter kids. A single score in high school can mean the difference between a full-ride scholarship to a prestigious college and working for a living. Regardless of the extreme of scores, the education system runs on them, so it isn’t surprising that the future would take them so seriously and that students would live and die by them.

"Lauren McLaughlin does an excellent job providing the background for the idea behind SCORED, and accurately portrays a realistic approach to questioning why the world cares so much about these scores in the first place."

Imani LeMonde is one of the more fortunate ones. Her score is in the 90s, and with one month left of school, her future is basically set. She knows where she wants to go to college and what to study, and with her high score, it’s all but guaranteed. Most of the time, kids with the same score range stick together, but Imani and Cady, a 71, made a pact to be friends no matter what their score. They usually do not talk to each other during school, but ScoreCorp, the software company in control of scores, knows even the smallest details of a person’s life and doesn’t look kindly on higher scorers hanging out with those beneath them.

So when Cady decides to rebel against the system and her score plummets, Imani is dragged down as well --- all the way to a 64. With so little time left before graduation, the future is now one of complete uncertainty. Grasping for straws, Imani starts an unusual study partner relationship with Diego McLune, an unscored. Unscored are not socially accepted in school, and ScoreCorp would like nothing more than to rid them entirely from all schools. Having always been a good girl and one who sticks to the rules of maintaining a high score, Imani has no idea what to do with Diego.

As Diego starts challenging Imani’s assumptions of what it means to be scored, Imani is at a loss for what to do. She’s also burdened by the fact that her friendship with Cady has never been the same since both their scores dropped. Imani is ultimately faced with a difficult decision: follow the rules of the scored and give in to a computer program running your life, or stand up for friendship and what you believe, regardless of what may happen to you. ScoreCorp is watching, and Imani is going to have to decide fast --- or else.

The hard part about reading books like this is that their dark and grim futures are not so far from the truth. As schools rely more and more on standardized test scores and students’ futures are often decided by the ACT, SAT and their GPA, it’s not so far-fetched to think that one day their entire existence could be wrapped up in one composite score. Lauren McLaughlin does an excellent job providing the background for the idea behind SCORED, and accurately portrays a realistic approach to questioning why the world cares so much about these scores in the first place.

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on January 22, 2012

Scored
by Lauren McLaughlin