by P.D. Quaver
Genres: Young Adult, Thriller
Unplugged is a thrilling tale aimed at young adults. A group of kids are sent to a new summer camp that claims to wean the children off of their dependence and addictions to electronics. But all is not as it appears as it turns out that this summer camp is merely a front for a kidnapping scheme. The kids are whisked away to a remote island and held hostage. Ironically, they DO learn to live and succeed without any electronic benefits. This is reminiscent of a modern day Lord of the Flies - almost, kinda, sorta. The classic book is mentioned in the story and may spark interest in your youngster, if they enjoy this tale, and I'm all for getting today's kids interested in reading classics.
As an adult reading this book, it really makes one think. I remember my childhood ... we only had 4 or 5 channels - depending on the weather. Cartoons were limited to Saturday mornings and briefly after school. I can remember a few victorious days where we convinced my great-grandmother to give up her hour of General Hospital so we could watch Woody Woodpecker after school. We politely asked our friend's parents to use the phone if we needed to call home. Our playtime was filled with tag, cops & robbers, jump rope, jacks & marbles, and hide-and-seek. Today's kids seem so dependent on social media, video games, cell phones, and the internet for their entertainment. Girls enjoy Barbie themed video games with no clue what to do with the actual doll. Boys that have mastered Grand Theft Auto may have never played with a Matchbox car. Don't get me wrong - my kids enjoy their electronics as much as the next. However, we also take time out to take the backgammon or chess board up to the park and enjoy the sunshine. After a rousing game, my daughter flies her kite or plays on the playground equipment while I read - albeit on my Kindle most likely, I'm just as guilty of enjoying my electronics as the next person. I think it is important to teach our kids to enjoy the simple things in life, without going nuts and forbidding them entirely.
One thing that makes this book a bit scary is the camp. How often do we research camps before sending our kids to them? What do we really know about the summer programs we enroll our children into. The scenario created by author P.D. Quaver really gives parents some food for thought. I know I will be very conscious, and bordering on paranoid, when I make any similar decision regarding my kids in the future.
As far as YA fiction goes, this is definitely a book that I will be recommending to my daughter. It teaches that there IS a world out there beyond the internet and that real life can be just as challenging and fun as any video game - it all depends on how you approach it, and it does so without a bunch of cussing or any graphic inappropriate physical activity between the boys and girls.