Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Scored Book Poster Image
Teens will relate to dystopian world where scores = status.

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Scored raises important issues about corporate surveillance, standardized testing, and peer pressure. Two main characters must argue the pros and cons of each from perspectives they do not personally subscribe to. Other classics of dystopian fiction, such as 1984 and Brave New World, are mentioned as sources for further study.

Positive Messages

Although surveillance and behavior scoring can seem to make a community safer, they can also foster divisiveness and ostracism. Fortunately, loyalty and honesty can mitigate the negative effects of too little personal privacy and freedom of expression.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Imani initially worries that her friendship with Cady will drag down her score, and when the plunge in ranking is greater than she expects, she is faced with a choice to spy for the school authorities. As the story progresses, she learns from her friends, from her family, and from people she views as enemies. She eventually learns that people are more than just numbers and that privacy and honesty can make society stronger.


In an act of defiance, a character smashes a surveillance camera.


The main character recalls an uncomfortable encounter when her awkward date attempted to put his hand down the back of her jeans and up the front of her shirt. In the current storyline, a young woman is ostracized for dating and presumably sleeping with a "lowbie" (a low-scorer) and is then caught on camera making love in a field with her boyfriend. The resulting video is distributed as Farm Field F*&K Fest.


The f-word is used about a dozen times, mostly as an exclamation, and the main character stops just short of calling someone an assh--e. But because the characters are under surveillance at most times, their verbal exchanges are largely swearing-free.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A high school senior offers a beer to the protagonist and drinks his own bottle of brew.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this near-future dystopian novel features a lively debate about freedom of expression and forcefully  dramatizes the sort of alienation that can occur when private citizens are under near-constant surveillance. There is also some profanity and sexuality.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byDr3w November 8, 2011

12 F-words? Seriously?

How could a book that contains twelve f-words possibly be ok for ages twelve and up? Who decides this stuff?
Teen, 13 years old Written byHeq073198 November 27, 2011


The F-word about a dozen times? What on earth?!?! And the sexual content seems a HUNDRED times worse than any other book on here. Who would write something so r... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old November 13, 2011

Who rates this stuff???!!!

Just based on your review of sexual content and language, HOW is this an apporpriate choice for a 12-14 year old? We don't let our child watch movies like... Continue reading

What's the story?

In Somerton, MA, your future is determined by your score. By placing smart-cams throughout the community, Score Corp keeps track of students' every move, adding or subtracting points for approved or forbidden behavior. Imani LeMonde is a 92 and a semester away from high school graduation, but her friendship with Cady, a 72, threatens to drag down her score and disrupt her plans for college. Even more problematic is Imani's relationship with her study partner Diego McLune, a brilliant but unscored student who believes Score Corp and its practices are pernicious. Can Imani be true to herself, family, and friends, or must she sacrifice her integrity and privacy in the name of upward mobility?

Is it any good?

This near-future dystopian novel smartly explores the implications of near-constant surveillance and the willingness of some people to trade privacy for the illusion of upward mobility. In a recession-raddled society where being a member of the middle class no longer guarantees employment, students compete for scores that supposedly measure their merit as citizens. McLaughlin presents a chilling but nuanced picture of conformity run amok and raises important questions about freedom of expression.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether achieving high scores on standardized tests is a true measure of intellectual merit.

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of having nearly every public interaction recorded by digital technology? How might such a system be abused?

  • Scored is set only a few years in the future. What current trends might lead to a time when high school students are monitored by spy cams and receive scores based on their behavior?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science fiction

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