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Book Review: Unplugged by Gordon Korman

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Middle Grade
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: As the son of the world’s most famous tech billionaire, Jett Baranov has always gotten exactly what he wanted. So, when his father’s private jet drops him in the middle of Little Rock, Arkansas, at a wellness camp called the Oasis, Jett can’t believe it. He’s forced to hand over his cell phone, eat grainy veggie patties, and participate in wholesome activities with the other kids.

At the Oasis, he meets Grace, who is his polar opposite. She thrives in the wellness atmosphere and resents Jett’s terrible attitude. Then there’s Tyrell, who suffers from a dizzying list of food allergies that render him constantly itchy. And also Brooklynne, a girl who definitely seems to be hiding something.

As the weeks go on, Jett starts to get used to the unplugged life and even bonds with the other kids over their discovery of a baby lizard-turned-pet, Needles. But he can’t help noticing that the adults at the Oasis are acting really strange…

Jett is determined to get to the bottom of things, but can he convince the other kids that he is no longer just a spoiled brat making trouble?

 

My Review: Unplugged was a lot of fun and an enjoyable read. This page-turner had an interesting mystery and an unexpected antagonist, both of which absorbed my full attention.

I like that the story takes place in a camp-like setting. Oasis of Mind and Body Wellness is a health program that focuses on fostering healthy lifestyles and habits through meditation, nutrition, and exercise. There is also no technology allowed. It’s an alluring place to send a spoiled, rich, troublemaker like Jett Baranov, one of the main characters, to reinvent himself.

Unplugged is told through alternating POVs, mostly Jett, Grace, Tyrell, and Brooklynne’s. I enjoyed getting to know these characters who grew so much over the course of a wild adventure, each overcoming personal challenges. Jett’s behavior I think is in part from a lack of parental attention/nurturing, so for him bad attention is better than no attention all. Grace lives and breathes everything Oasis stands for and is a no-nonsense rule follower. Tyrell, unfortunately plagued by several allergies, wishes he was braver. And Brooklynne’s a mysterious loner who just wants to be like everyone else and make friends. All four are well-rounded and likable characters.

I love the adventure these kids suddenly find themselves on. I love Needles, a lizard, they end up secretly taking care of. Jett’s father is interesting as he’s a highly intelligent inventor and tech billionaire who’s inventions have revolutionized and connected the globe in a way that I can see happening in reality in the future. One thing I (personally) didn’t like was bugs frequently being brought up. I also couldn’t get over the fact that Tyrell, who seems to be allergic to everything at Oasis, keeps being forced to attend.

Unplugged was a great middle grade story. Korman is a fantastic storyteller who I whole-heartedly recommend. I can’t wait to read more of his work!


More by Gordon Korman

The Unteachables

Ungifted
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3 replies on “Book Review: Unplugged by Gordon Korman”

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