Friday, September 14, 2012

Alex Award Winner: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Katie takes a look at one of last year's Alex Award Winners, Adult books that teens might like as well:

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
It’s the year 2044. But unlike most post-apocalyptic futures in the YA lit, the world of Ready Player One is not a technological wasteland. Rather it features the OASIS--a virtual world where nearly all the residents of the planet go to escape the harsh realities of the real world. This virtual utopia is all the more compelling because it is the home to the puzzle developed by the creator of the OASIS, James Halliday, before his death. The first person to work out the three stages of the puzzle wins Halliday’s entire (and very substantial) future as well as control of OASIS.

Wade Watts, 18 years old and living in the Stacks (literally a stacked trailer park) outside Oklahoma City, knows that solving the puzzle is his only possible escape from poverty, but he never imagines that being the first person to solve a clue will result in a worldwide manhunt for him. With the race on and the eyes of the world upon him, Wade must look outside the virtual world that has been his entire life up to this point and make connections in the real world if he has any hope of overcoming the powerful corporation that has set out to destroy both him and the OASIS.

The puzzles Wade must solve all center around 1980s pop culture, but never fear if you don’t remember anything about John Hughes movies or Pac-Man. That won’t detract from the sheer fun of the scavenger hunt, Wade’s awkward attempts to court Art3mis, or his endearing first steps into making friends--not to mention his clever attempts to outsmart those who wish to destroy the world (and people) he loves. The books written for futuristic gamers and old-fashioned adventure lovers seems few and far between these days, but if this is any indication of what the genre could be, there should be more.

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