Crayola’s Reading Challenge: Book Reviews

Crayola B.    March 24, 2015

Two more reviews for your delight and delectation!

A book you can finish in a day: In Real Life by Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang

In Real Life is a graphic novel that features both the real-world and game-world lives of two players: one American girl who plays for fun, one Chinese boy who plays for a living. The expressive characters and unusual concept (plus great worldbuilding!) make this well worth a read, but don’t expect much depth of story. The moral is a little heavy-handed here. That said, it’s still a nice take on a serious topic that doesn’t usually get addressed in light entertainment. Plus, we can always use more positive representation of gamers, especially female gamers.

Skip the foreword, enjoy the adventure for what it is, and read the intro as a postscript for best results. I felt the introduction spoiled the whole thing and brought a tone of “This is an Educational Story” to the tale that followed. Wrapping it up with a message of “you read this story, now know that it’s real and it happens every day” would work a bit better, I think.

Other categories this book fits: A book with nonhuman characters (if you count game avatars), a book by a female author (well, artist), a book set in a different country (partially), a book based entirely on its cover, a book set in high school, a book with magic (in-game), a graphic novel

Other categories this book might fit: A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet, a book a friend recommended, a book at the bottom of your to-read list, a book your mom loves, a book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit (China), a book by an author  you’ve never read before, a book you own but have never read, a book that takes place in your hometown (China…?), a book written by an author with your same initials (C.D. or J.W.), a book you started but never finished

A book with a color in the title: Deadly Pink by Vivian Vande Velde

Deadly Pink is the latest book by Vivian Vande Velde to feature the Rasmussem Corporation’s immersive video game technology, the first two being User Unfriendly and Heir Apparent. In this one, Grace’s sister has trapped herself in a game, and Grace must go into said game and bring back her sister before the immersive technology fries her brain. An adventure ensues that will be somewhat familiar to Heir Apparent fans—Grace goes into the game, things go wrong, Grace has to restart and figure out another tactic to help her sister, who refuses to be rescued.

Honestly, this book’s biggest problem is that it is so similar in concept to Heir Apparent that it’s hard not to compare the two. And in pretty much every case, Heir Apparent did it better.  Pink is a little predictable and definitely forgettable in comparison — when I picked Pink up this time, I didn’t think I’d ever read it before. Turns out I definitely had, because once I started reading it, I remembered the whole plot right away. It’s still a fun read for fans who loved Heir Apparent and want more! I liked it and at some point I’ll probably read it again. Even so, I only like Deadly Pink – I don’t love it.

Other categories this book fits: A book with nonhuman characters, a book by a female author, a book set in a different country (if you count fictional game worlds), a book based entirely on its cover, a book with magic

Other categories this book might fit: A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet, a book a friend recommended, a book at the bottom of your to-read list, a book your mom loves, a book by an author you’ve never read before, a book you own but have never read, a book that takes place in your hometown (Rochester, NY), a book written by an author with your same initials (V.V.V.), a book you started but never finished