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The Wired #1

Unplugged

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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.

448 pages, Kindle Edition

First published June 21, 2016

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About the author

Donna Freitas

26 books475 followers
Donna was born in Rhode Island and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY and Barcelona, Spain.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 263 reviews
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,670 reviews1,268 followers
May 20, 2016
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

“You’re stubborn, you know that? If you’re not careful that’s going to get you in trouble.”
“No, I’m determined to find my family,” I corrected. “They’re two different things. And it’s my determination that’s going to help your cause.”


This was a YA sci-fi/dystopian story, about a world where people lived in virtual reality.

Skye was an okay character, and it seemed like she had been wanting to be unplugged for a long time, mainly due to wanting to see her mother and sister. I did wonder whether she really considered what she was doing though, and how much she was sacrificing to be unplugged, with little knowledge of what the world awaiting her was really like.

The storyline in this was about Skye wanting to be unplugged, and trying to find a way to do that so that she could see her mother and sister again, and the lengths that she had to go to to achieve that. The pace in this was quite slow in places though, and the story dragged a bit.
We did get a little hint of a romance, but it was in the form of a love triangle between Skye, Rain and a girl called Lacy.

The ending to this was okay, although there was no real resolution at all; the book just seemed to stop.



6.25 out of 10
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,211 reviews1,649 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
June 14, 2016
Chapters read: 1

I'm already calling it because I'm rolling my eyes so hard at the app world and the voice is severely lacking.

Also, this:

"The length of her fingers eerily similar, our skin color identical, the same shade of Caucasian 4.0 as every other citizen of the City."

I've already read a life's worth of shitty dystopian; I don't need this.
Profile Image for Zyra .
203 reviews80 followers
January 4, 2018
so much politics involved. what about rain? who is he really interested in? & what about the bodies? what are the buyers going to do with them? it should have more better storyline. this is confusing & gets less interesting.
Profile Image for Odette Brethouwer.
1,358 reviews233 followers
August 18, 2016
I really enjoyed reading this book, I really love the idea and the setting! It's a technological dystopian and the world building is excellent and makes you think about our current society.

Who not 5*? Because it did not felt like a 5* book to me and I'm a bit sad because of that. I really want to love this book, but the thing in the middle was wayyy to weird for me.

Also, at the end it all happened rather quickly, which did not suited the rest of the book so I felt like I didn't had the time to enjoy the plot?

I did not like the ending very much but I must admit that when it comes to endings, I'm hard to please. There are sequels coming for this book, but so far this left me satisfied.

And I'm a big fan of character developments, so let's talk about that. I love how it started, that she was a nobody and had no loveinterest. I was really happy that did not happened really soon, which is really average. After the halfwaypoint in the book,

But overal I've really enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it!

On another note, Donna Freitas explained really open-hearted why she is not on social media like Facebook or Twitter in this blogpost on Barnes&Noble (you need to scroll), and the Dutch translation can be found on the website of the Dutch publisher Blossombooks here. I highly recommend reading it!
Profile Image for shannon✨.
869 reviews41 followers
January 12, 2018
Wat heb ik genoten van dit boek! Ik vond het concept echt super interessant, alleen in het begin vond ik het een beetje vaag, maar toen ik eenmaal doorhad hoe het zat was het ook echt duidelijk. Het begin van het boek vond ik niet echt heel leuk, een beetje langdradig, maar toen het eenmaal spannend was kon ik niet meer stoppen met lezen. Ik ben heel erg benieuwd naar deel 2!
Profile Image for Macarena Yannelli.
Author 1 book955 followers
February 19, 2017
3,5
A pesar de que el tema me encanta, la realidad virtual es un tema que me interesa mucho y soy muy fan de las distopias. Esta particularmente se me hizo muy pesada, creo que con 100 páginas menos hubiera sido extremadamente genial.
Reseña proximamente.
Profile Image for Tee loves Kyle Jacobson.
2,471 reviews169 followers
March 17, 2016
Unplugged is a very unique read. I have to say that at first when I started reading it I thought I wouldn't be able to finish it. I normally don't read books like this but I gave it a go and I was surprised to see that I liked it. There were some things I did not understand so it made it hard for me to continue reading but I pressed on.

This is a story about a world that is separated into two factions. You have the app world where the rich go to succeed and have all the amenities others do not. Then you have the real world where it is poor and people have to fight to survive.

One family from the real world has decided they will send their daughter to the app world so she can strive there and become something in life. But it is there that Skye finds things out she does not like and she wants to return to her home with her family. When she goes to return to the normal world she finds it worse off than when she left. It is a cold dark world she has never known.

Skye will have to find her family fast and try and get them out of the real world and into safety but can she do it alone? This is where the story takes off and there are so many twists and turns you will want to keep reading to find out what happens next.
Profile Image for Paulina.
151 reviews19 followers
September 14, 2018
I’m a little bit confused on how I feel about this book. I enjoyed the idea behind it, but didn’t enjoy the execution of this unique idea, the characters seemed okay but rather flat at times and overall, I’m still unsure on exactly how much I liked this book, if at all.

The story follows Skylar living in the App World, waiting for her chance to be unplugged in order to see her mother and sister again. The story focuses too much on the want of the protagonist to unplug rather than setting foundations for the reasons why people were plugged in, what exactly happened to the world, etc. There are obstacles which Skylar needs to overcome in order to see her long-lost family again, after the borders were shut down, although the author failed to deliver a fast paced telling of her struggles. Once Skylar manages to unplug she is faced with even more struggles in the Real World, all of which are confusing and certain points overlooked.

The story dragged on quite a lot, I found myself skipping over certain lines as they seemed pointless to the story. There seemed to be many pages where the scene wasn’t described as much, and the words were just fluff of what Skylar was thinking; which wouldn’t be a bad thing if the character had more dept in what she believed and what she thought. Half the book was just fluff to make it seem longer which I found incredibly boring, practically the months of Skylar being in the Real World and not all together there, it felt like months passed for me too while reading those bits.
As I mentioned before the characters seemed in need of some work, they were very 2D and we didn’t find out too much about them and how they are different from each other. Skylar’s best friend Inara although had a lot of feature time in the book was skimmed over the most in my opinion. I learned nothing about this character and her importance apart from the fact that she was the main character’s best friend. It’s a shame that there was no connection to any of the characters as at least it would have made the “fluff” bearable.

The App World was very confusing, I think the idea is wonderful and there was so much that could have been said about the new world. There were endless possibilities however it seemed as if Donna Freitas was too scared to venture into her own imagination. As exciting as this virtual world was supposed to represent I found it incredibly boring. I couldn’t imagine anything worse, the App World seemed like a prison to me with endless opportunities that were not taken. Although the Real World seemed a little bit better, there was still not enough information about it, not enough dept for me to picture the scenes in front of me. For a dystopian novel this appeared far too much like any other world, the history of the App World and exactly what happened in the Real World whether by a history lesson, or a flashback from the characters would have been enough to put a bridge between what was happening in the book.

There were some twists and turns, which were confusing, the twists which were supposed to add more to the book just made it seem like a massive ball of confusion. The last quarter of the book gave the impression of picking up speed and then breaking rapidly. The shocking discoveries were not that shocking, the heart stopping moments did nothing.

While I was ready to put this book down and forget about it little things brought me back, they were so small that I wasn’t even sure if they were sufficient enough to make me stay enough to finish the story. I wish that this book was more than it was, it’s such as shame as it had so much potential.
Profile Image for Marcia.
1,035 reviews100 followers
August 3, 2016
Het idee achter Unplugged is geweldig en het verhaal is zeer goed geschreven. Toch vind ik het een beetje jammer dat het boek zo overduidelijk aanvoelt als inleiding op een groter geheel. Ik weet nog veel te weinig en ik wil meer! Wanneer komt boek twee?!

Een uitgebreide recensie vind je op Oog op de Toekomst.
Profile Image for Eline.
264 reviews36 followers
April 20, 2017
2,75/5

Ik ben verward over ontzettend veel. Een aantal vragen werden beantwoord, maar er zijn nog allemaal dingen die ik niet weet, of gewoon niet snap. Hmm. Het is zo gek, want naast die negatieve dingen had dit boek ook een paar geniaal uitschietende positieve dingen. Ik moet hier even over nadenken, geloof ik.
Profile Image for Anouk.
34 reviews13 followers
April 16, 2017
Omg dit einde. Ik. Moet. Deel. Twee.
Profile Image for ☆Stephanie☆.
342 reviews42 followers
September 12, 2016
Title: Unplugged (The Wired, #1)
Author: Donna Freitas
Publisher: HarperTeen, 2016
Genre: YA Dystopian, YA Science Fiction

This review can be found on my BlogTeacherofYA's Tumblr, or my Goodreads page

My Review:

 This book was like Scott Westerfeld's Unglies on steroids. And involving virtual worlds, of course. But definitely reminded me of Westerfeld, which is a good thing.


Skyler has been in the App World for as long as she can remember: as a Single, she has her foster family and her best friend Inara to help her without the aid of her real family. Her mother and sister are back in the real world, acting as Keepers to the bodies that house the virtual people. At seventeen, Skyler will unplug for Service, becoming a Keeper for awhile and being able to see her family again. But an announcement comes through that shocks Skyler and thrills most everyone else: Service has been suspended indefinitely and no one will be able to leave or enter the virtual world. A war in the real world has threatened App World users, and it is safer to stay plugged in. Besides, a Cure is coming soon, and eventually no one will ever even need their bodies...they'll remain immortal in the App World, free of disease and death.

As people celebrate in the streets, Skyler is crushed: though she loves Inara and enjoys the freedom of downloading gaming and flying apps, she misses her family. Have they forgotten about her? Are they waiting for her to wake up?

Luckily, Skyler gets a message no one else can know about: she's been invited to unplug somehow, but she can't tell anyone. Turns out Minister Holt of the App World would like his son Rain to come back, as he is stuck in the Real World doing his Service. Skyler and two others, along with Lucy Mills, the most popular and watched celebrity, are going to bring Rain Holt back. And maybe, just maybe, Skyler can see her family.

But nothing prepares Skyler for what she sees when she unplugs...

Is It Classroom-Appropriate? 

This is a book I highly recommend. Though I am tired of the stories that always portray the rich to be evil, this book does tout the dangers of constant technology. It does have a sequel, and I plan to read it. I think this is an excellent example of dystopian literature that teaches a lesson and can be used as an anchor text. Ugliest is another book that shares the dangers of a society dependent on something (beauty in that case), and it has already been used in classrooms. I would love to share this one with students!

Age Range:

Surprisingly, Lexile.com doesn't have this book, though it's published by HarperTeen. Puzzling. Well, you can trust me to tell you that I would say 13 and up would be an appropriate age range. There is nothing lurid or only for older YA readers, and I would feel confident saying it could work for middle school readers, too. 

End Result:

★★★★★! I was riveted every moment. The book gives enough background to follow the plot and understand the story world, and Skyler is a well-developed character. The book didn't race, didn't lag...it always left me guessing and wondering what would happen next. The pages flew by, and I was grateful I still had more to read. The book even includes a snippet of the sequel, and I am not going to spoil anything by naming the title or giving away what happens! I am waiting for the moment there's a galley available for the sequel and I'm going to beg for it!

I recommend to all lovers of science fiction and dystopian literature. At first, the world seems a little ridiculous...I'll warn you...but stay patient and keep reading...it pays off.

Happy Saturday and happy reading!
Profile Image for Aimee.
588 reviews18 followers
July 1, 2016
Review originally posted @ Reading Lark: http://readinglark.blogspot.com/2016/...

2.5 stars

Sometimes Young Adult books are difficult to review. Writers want to tackle Big Themes, create sympathetic characters, build a compelling plot, and add a dollop of romance on top. By the time a science fiction or dystopian element gets added, there is often so much going on that parts of the book begin to suffer under the weight of it all. Unplugged by Donna Freitas is definitely one those difficult books.

Unplugged has the big important themes that are the hallmark of good YA literature. In the App World, Skylar has grown up in a voyeur/exhibitionist culture. Everyone it seems is obsessed either with watching the lives of the rich and famous, watching their lives via specialized apps, or becoming one of those that others can “follow.” The parallels with our current culture are obvious, and Unplugged successfully demonstrates the tension between voyeur culture and the capacity for personal development within the characters.

On the down side, though, the “science” in this science fiction story is weak. The split between the App World and the Real World is based on a technology ban that is ill-defined and doesn’t particularly make sense in the first place. Those in the App World should always be at the mercy of the Real World people if only because the virtual world requires power and presumably some kind of computerized infrastructure to begin with.

Donna Freitas is a decent writer, and the idea at the core of Unplugged is a good one, but the book would have greatly benefitted from better world building and more explicit development of its “science.”
Profile Image for Caitlin Mosterd.
117 reviews9 followers
October 9, 2019
Nagelbijtend goed. Zo vreselijk spannend en verontrustend en tegelijkertijd verfrissend. Fenomenaal gewoon.

Deel 2 kan niet snel genoeg komen!
Profile Image for Jasmine from How Useful It Is.
1,214 reviews334 followers
January 3, 2017
About: Unplugged is a fiction novel written by Donna Freitas. It was published on 6/21/16 by Harper Children’s. The genres are young adult, science fiction, and dystopia. Unplugged is book 1 in the Wired Series. Book 2 is called The Body Market. Please read more about the author below.

My Experience: I started reading Unplugged on 1/1/17 and finished it on 1/2/17. This book’s plot is very unique. It reminds me of a virtual game I heard many people lose sleep and skip meals to play, a virtual game such as Second Life. A cousin of mine fainted because he was too involved in the game that he forgo sleep and food for days. I can’t remember what the game was called. Anyway, in this book, readers follow the point of view of Skylar (Skye) Cruz. She’s a Singles, a citizen without parents or family. She lives with her adoptive family. Her mom and older sister sent her to live in the App World for a chance at a better life. There are two worlds: App World and Real World. Only wealthy people gets to live in the App World.

In the App World, people exists virtually. There are social status just like real life. People born with money like Rain Holt or Lacy Mills are celebrities. Cameras follow them around and anyone can watch them. The citizens in the App World exists through downloads. When they want to eat, they download a meal or when they want to look like a model, they download an app.

In the Real World people are responsible for taking care of the bodies of the individuals in the App World. They are also poor and can’t afford to live in the App World. They work in hope to someday have the chance to move to the App World. Real World is getting dangerous to live.

Skylar constantly wishes to go back to the Real World to reunite with her mother and sister Jude even though her adoptive family is very good to her. I like following the point of view of Skylar. Her love for her family is unconditional. She’s determined and smart. I like the twist in the end and didn’t see that coming. The pacing is a bit slow for my taste and the interlude is hard for me to imagine. The read could be better if there were more adrenaline rush and another POV from Real World, but reading this book, especially the first part is very safe and light-hearted. A safe book for pre-teens.

Pro: family, unique plot, technology

Con: 1 POV, too much narration, slow paced, lack humor

I rate it 4 stars!

***Disclaimer: Many thanks to the author, Donna Freitas, for directly providing me with Unplugged. Thank you so much for including your autograph! I’m thrilled. Please be sure that my opinions are honest.

xoxo,
Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com
Profile Image for iva.
151 reviews11 followers
July 10, 2017
The premise of this book seemed kinda silly at first, but if you think about it, the idea of actually fully living in virtual reality, where’s an app for everything isn’t that far-fetched. It started rather hastily and I think it’s not really fair to the reader to throw him into plot and not really explain anything. But I sticked to the book and I’m glad I did. I still don’t know how those two world really work, but I know enough about the protagonist and other characters to care about them. There’s a great deal of artistic license in biology, but I can get over that to see the characters doin pretty cool things. And seeing the Real world through Skye’s eyes was beautiful, sometimes. A lot of problems could have been solved if only people tried to talk to each other instead of keeping secrets, but hey, that’s like the foundation stone of every other story. And most of real life's problems, really.
The story offers some nice parallels with racism and I liked how the author went out of her way to point out that real beauty isn’t caucasian 4.0, but the diversity of real people. A bit anvilicious, but some anvils need to be dropped. Skye’s role resembles Katniss’ Mockingjay, but it’s a bit forced without a real reason (Katniss became the Mockingjay because her act of rebellion ignited revolution. Skye becomes a very important person for revolt because… she’s obviously very pretty. It gets explained (sort of) towards the end and in the sequel, but still). Also, the author should keep track on time - Rain didn’t know Skye for months before the capture, just two or three days or something. Also, when you have your protagonist spend literally everything she has on three pieces of information, you first of all should show all that information to audience. Second of all, it should be either important enough to be worth it, or the protagonist should be pissed that it isn’t. Showing just one and it being just some minor characterization of another character and then having the protagonist to completely forget about it, that’s not really good.
Second thing that bugged me was that the author is obviously in love with some words and phrases and uses them over and over. The most obvious example is the word “study” which appears about once per a page. It’s fun to look for it, but it’s a bit disruptive.
But, it’s the first book after a long time that made me scream at the characters in frustration, which means it got under my skin, and that’s a good thing.
Curious about the sequel!
Profile Image for Kirsten.
264 reviews23 followers
August 17, 2016
Toen ik voor het eerst hoorde over dit boek werd ik nog niet echt nieuwsgierig. De enige informatie die ik had was dat het over een meisje ging dat leeft in de Appwereld en wilt uitpluggen. Ik besloot om meer informatie te zoeken en toen ik de samenvatting van het boek had gelezen werd ik opeens wel nieuwsgierig. Eerlijk gezegd kon ik niet wachten tot dit boek in de winkel kwam. Toen was het zover, het boek lag in de winkel. Op vakantie heb ik dit boek gekocht en dezelfde dag ben ik er in begonnen. Ik was er gelijk helemaal weg van. Ik vond het heel interessant om te lezen over een virtuele wereld waarin alles doormiddel van apps wordt gedaan (dit staat letterlijk op de achterkant van het boek dus spoilen doe ik niet). Tijdens het lezen ging ik zelf ook nadenken over hoe het zou zijn om alles doormiddel van apps te doen. Ik schrok wel een beetje, ik kwam tot het besef dat we het meeste al via apps doen. Ik moet er niet aan denken dat straks alles via apps gedaan wordt.

Het verhaal vind ik heel goed in elkaar zitten. Het zit goed in elkaar omdat je zelf gaat nadenken en omdat het vaak spannend is. Als je eenmaal in dit boek zit kun je niet meer stoppen met lezen, tenminste ik kon niet meer stoppen met lezen. Ik kwam in de ene verbazing na de andere en het boek begon bijna nooit te vervelen. Op sommige momenten was het boek vrij sloom en sommige personages vond ik niet leuk, maar bijna elk boek is wel een keer sloom en in bijna elk boek mag je sommige personages niet. Maar ik kwam er tijdens het lezen ook achter dat de personages allemaal iets menselijks hadden en het was niet duidelijk wie er nou goed of slecht was. Net zoals in het echte leven hebben de personages bepaalde redenen waarom ze iets doen en daardoor begon ik ze ook beter te begrijpen.

Dit boek leest als een trein, er zitten een paar onverwachte momenten tussen, de schrijfstijl is heel goed in dit boek. Voor het eerst vond ik het ook heel fijn om beschrijvingen te lezen. Normaal gesproken hou ik van dialogen en als het boek veel dialogen heeft lees ik het ook sneller. Maar ik vond het nu heerlijk om de beschrijvingen te lezen, daardoor ging het verhaal voor mij nog meer leven.

Ik ben heel erg blij dat ik dit boek heb gelezen en ik kan niet wachten op deel 2. Ik kan alleen maar zeggen; vind je het leuk om een boek te lezen waarbij je zelf gaat nadenken? Vind je het leuk om een boek te lezen met veel vaart? Dan moet je dit boek lezen!
Profile Image for Anniek.
1,652 reviews614 followers
May 22, 2017
I heard quite a lot of good things about this book, so maybe my expectations were too high. Anyway, this book was down-right disappointing. The writing was cringy, and the main character barely went through any growth. The virtual world is introduced as something that's supposed to be superior to the real world. To make sure there would be no unfair treatment based on looks (read: discrimination/racism), all inhabitants of the virtual world got a 'caucasian' skin tone and the same basic features concerning length and weight et cetera. This might have been interesting, should it have worked. But of course it doesn't, because it's not true. There's still a ton of discrimination, now based on how rich people are and thus how many apps/upgrades they can afford to make themselves look better. Because of that, this whole virtual world, including the main character, is entirely superficial. The main character doesn't have parents in the virtual world, but her best friend considers herself to be her sister and her parents claim to consider her 'almost' family. It's the 'almost' that bothered me, because their additude towards the main character is compared to adoption/foster care, but the main character still lives in a special house for kids without parents (basically an orphanage) and the way she's treated by her supposed foster family is not at all as accepting as you would wish. Her best friend dismisses all concerns for her real family and only seems to like her if she acts the way she wants. Even more harmful is that almost all girls love the popular playboy, including the main character, even though she claims not to and he proves to be untrustworthy and flat-out horrible multiple times throughout the book. Another cliché: when the main character returns to her real body, she finds out she's absolutely beautiful. Of course. All in all, this was a really cliché dystopian. Reading this book, it felt like a harmful ode to immature bullying, toxic friendships and insecurities. The virtual world could have been a lot more interesting as well, would it have been described more in depth. But the reader gets no answers on how, why, when, or any basic questions like that.
Profile Image for Shelley.
5,102 reviews458 followers
July 13, 2016
*Source* Publisher
*Genre* Young Adult, Science Fiction
*Rating* 3.5

*My Thoughts*

Unplugged is the first installment in author Donna Freitas The Wired series. 16-year old Skye Cruz lives in a virtual reality world known as App World, where everyone is disconnected from their actual bodies. App World is a place where you can purchase all sorts of adventures, food, games, clothes, and change your appearance whenever you want. Skye has been "living" in this world for the past 10 years with her best friend Inara Sachs and her parents. Skye's family isn't like Inara's.

Awesome and stunning ending to this story. Definitely eager to see how the series ends.

*Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews July 13, 2016

http://gizmosreviews.blogspot.com/201...

*Published* June 21st 2016 by HarperTeen
Profile Image for Inge.
82 reviews13 followers
May 7, 2017
2,5 ster. Ik vond het idee van een virtuele wereld leuk, maar voor de rest vond ik het een typisch dystopisch YA verhaal, en daarmee nogal voorspelbaar. Verder vond ik de plotlijnen erg verwarrend. Ben blij dat het boek uit is.
Profile Image for Marleen.
16 reviews4 followers
May 30, 2017
De eerste pagina's moet het boek echt op gang komen en was het voor mijn gevoel erg langdradig.. Als het 'tweede deel' van het boek begint, op pagina 184, begint het boek pas echt! Even die eerste pagina's doorzetten en dan is het een geweldig boek! Ik heb gelijk deel 2 besteld :)
Profile Image for Celeste_pewter.
593 reviews146 followers
August 13, 2016
One of the best feelings that comes with reading, is when I'm pleasantly surprised by a book. Such was the case with Unplugged.

Donna Freitas introduces us to Skye, who lives in a world that's divided in two. Half of the world lives in the real world, with many real worlders choosing to care for those who are plugged into the digital world.

(The digital world is basically a version of the world shown in The Matrix, except those living in the world actually know that their surroundings are digitally rendered.)

​Skye was sent to the digital world where she was younger, in the hopes of a better life. However, she feels guilt over leaving her mom and her sister behind, and can't wait until she gets the opportunity to unplug and serve time in the real world. However, inter-world politics interfere, and Skye is forced to pursue other options to unplug and get into the real world...

So when I first started reading Unplugged, I was impressed at how fresh the book felt. I've read many a dystopian novel since The Hunger Games, but it's been awhile since I've been drawn into a dystopian world the way that I was drawn into Skye's.

And I think part of the reason for that, is because Freitas approaches the story from the understanding that a utopian world - a.k.a. the digital world that Skye lives - actually can't exist. Perfection is exhausting and ring false, and it's easy to want something that feels genuine. Readers see hints of it when Skye's foster family talks about wanting real food, and the truth of that feeling only increases when the border between real and digital world closes.

Skye's struggles with deciding if she wants to illegally travel to the real world is compelling, bringing her into contact with people and agendas that hint at a far more chaotic (and fascinating) reality. It's set against the backdrop of a digital world that's desperate to retain its perfect, and there's a reveal involving that "cure" which is actually shocked me a little, and left me a little heartbroken.

Where the book faltered though, was in the real world. Though I was eagerly anticipating to see what kind of reality Skye would end up in, Freitas's vision didn't exactly pan out. There wasn't really the sense of urgency that was stressed earlier in the novel; instead, we ended up with the setting that felt somewhat normal, albeit with elements of a human-rights tale.

Also, the real world sent the characterizations of several key characters into a tailspin, which the book didn't necessarily recover from. Skye's relationships with several key characters felt flimsy, with one of them becoming the type of cookie-cutter villain that has been seen in other books before. Skye also became the most special girl ever, which felt just a tad too stereotypical.

However. With that being said, I absolutely believe that the first two-thirds of the book absolutely makes up for the weaker third half. Even though Skye's presence in the real world isn't as strong as it could be, Freitas has set up political intrigue, an intriguing back story, and a potentially dangerous future re: the plugs, which will absolutely entice readers into coming back for more.
Profile Image for Valerie.
393 reviews169 followers
July 3, 2016
I've always been interested in a virtual world setting. Although I tend to lean towards reading about video games (which I have YET to do!), Unplugged focuses on a virtual world designed for living. I found the novel to quick and entertaining, yet it lacks some major, major worldbuilding.


Skye is a "single". Her family besides herself have volunteered to become Keepers of everyone connected to virtual reality. But because they want Skylar to have a better life, they send her into the App World, leading her to lead a life as a single. Although she has a surrogate family, Skye longs to see her family again even though it's been many years. But when her only chance to unplug is gone, she turns elsewhere. As a result, this leads to being caught up in politics between the Real World and the App World. And of course, getting close and personal with Rain Holt, the uh...leader's son (basically all you need to know is that he's super important and super good looking, the usual).

This novel would have been much better if the world wasn't half developed. There were many, many questions that arose as I read. As the reader, we're told that the ones with a lot of "capital" can live life luxuriously with "apps". Apps in the App World can change someone's appearance, can transport you into a game, a new location, create food, clothes. The catch is that it's time sensitive. In order to always have the ability to download apps, you need capital. But where does the capital come from? How do you get more? It doesn't seem like anyone works in the App World. Are you just assigned capital, and once it's all used up you're done? Then what happens next?

And then there's the Real World. Where does New Port City take place? Is the rest of the world just as enamored with virtual reality? What is the form of currency there? Trust me, I have so many more questions than just these.

Skye is boring. Of course, when she emerges in her new body, she's the most beyootiful. Wow I did not see that coming. And apparently, everything they learned in the App World is transferred to their real body, because the brain assimilates everything from the virtual world. I understand how this would work for certain skills, like driving, but strength? No, that doesn't transfer. You need to physically work on your strength. If you've been laying there for 10 years, your muscles will not be toned. (Then again this is science fiction, and this has never been tested, so I'll let this slide).

Let's not talk about the relationship. There's nothing to talk about.

Wow I should talk about the positives! Honestly I felt just meh about this, but it didn't bother me enough to rate it 2 stars. The fast paced plot kept me going, a reason why I finished this in only 2 days. Other than all of my questions, which may hopefully be addressed in the second book, Unplugged kept me entertained.

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.
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1,878 reviews1,311 followers
December 25, 2016
Skye is living in the App World. It's a perfect creation where rich people can alter their appearance and download apps for games, food, clothes and all kinds of other luxuries. Their plugged in bodies are still in the Real World. Sky isn't living with her real family, she's a Single, someone poor who has been sent to the App World because their family members are willing to do a special job in exchange. Her mother and sister are in the Real World and she misses them terribly. Skye is almost seventeen, which means she will soon be old enough to unplug. That means she can finally spend time in the Real World. Only then the borders between the worlds are being closed...

Skye will be cut off from her family forever. That is a thought she can't live with and when someone offers to let her unplug illegally she says yes. This person wants something in return. There's a lot that Skye doesn't know though and she has no idea who she can trust. It doesn't matter if someone is a friend or a stranger, Skye has to rely on people who aren't telling her the truth. Will her mission go as planned?

Unplugged is a gripping story. Skye doesn't really feel like she belongs in the App World. She doesn't care about enhancing her beauty, getting apps for extravagant clothes, meeting celebrities virtually and gourmet food apps. I immediately liked her. She's kindhearted, smart and strong. She loves her mother and her sister very much, but she also loves her almost-sister in the App World. She has to leave a loved one behind no matter what she does. Donna Freitas writes about her dilemmas and her sadness in a sympathetic and interesting way. It never gets too heavy though, because there's a lot of action and there's so much going on in the story.

Unplugged is the first book of a series and I already can't wait to read the next book. Skye is a fabulous main character. I like the world building and the idea behind it. The thorough and detailed descriptions make both worlds come to life really well. In the virtual world life is more peaceful, but Skye gets her kicks through apps for extreme sports and exploring. When she enters the Real World this changes, there she has to fight for her existence. Unplugged has a lot of adrenaline packed scenes, set in both realities. Skye has some great survival skills and it was fun to read about how she got them. Skye might be a tomboy, but she also has a sensitive side. There's a small love aspect and I'm curious to see how that will develop. I will definitely keep following this series. It's well written and has a lot of potential. 
625 reviews4 followers
January 4, 2017
I went into this book wanting to like it, because exploring the interactions between a really intense virtual world and a lousy real world that has to maintain the bodies of those in the virtual world sounds fascinating, but I was left unimpressed. The App World was unrealistically handled, and a lot of important questions are left unaddressed.

The family Skye lives with in App World (her own family is still in the Real World) eats dinner every night, and the mother tells the kids they ought to feel sorry for those who couldn't afford such nice food downloads. But is eating necessary in App World? Is it some kind of update to your code that you have to consume to continue "surviving"? Is the mother saying the equivalent of "feel sorry for those doomed to subsist on beans and toast for survival," or "feel sorry for those who can't afford Gucci purses"?

How about the connection between the App World and the Real World - how are the bodies maintained? Why are they maintained so they're toned and fit when all those who emerge are likely to do is care for other bodies who are still plugged in? What do the Keepers actually have to do to maintain them that they loathe the task?

You can't die in the App World, but if you, say, fall off a building, it screws up your code for a while. Why? What sadist coded that in? Likewise, if you binge on too many Apps at once (most of which you have to buy to use), you get an App hangover afterward so bad you can barely move, and your skin turns blue to "remind a person that a life without Apps was like suffocating." Really? REALLY? What kind of customer relations is that?! That's like if you buy a lot of Starbucks coffee one day, the barista comes over to you and says, "Gosh, what a great customer you are! Welcome to our loyalty program!" before dragging you into an alley, beating you up, and painting you brown to remind you that living without coffee is terrible. Would you go back to Starbucks after that? Would you recommend it to your friends? NO.

And in interpersonal relations weirdness, Inara, Skye's surrogate sister, is a terrible friend. She makes no effort to understand why Skye is upset when the border between the two worlds is closed (her family is on the other side - what is difficult to understand about that?), and [spoiler!] feels so betrayed when Skye leaves without telling her that she goes out of her way, all the way into the Real World, to betray Skye back.
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