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ARC Review – John F. Kennedy and PT-109 by Richard Tregaskis

John F. Kennedy and PT-109

John F. Kennedy and PT-109 by Richard Tregaskis. November 15, 2016. Open Road Media, 191 p. $9.99 ASIN: B01LVZ9SFI.

“From the bestselling author of Guadalcanal Diary: The thrilling true story of the future president’s astonishing act of heroism during World War II.

In the early morning hours of August 2, 1943, US Navy motor torpedo boat PT-109 patrolled the still, black waters of Blackett Strait in the Solomon Islands. Suddenly, the Japanese destroyer Amagiri loomed out of the darkness, bearing directly down on the smaller ship. There was no time to get out of the way—the destroyer crashed into PT-109, slicing the mosquito boat in two and setting the shark-infested waters aflame with burning gasoline. Ten surviving crewmembers and their young skipper clung to the wreckage, their odds of survival growing slimmer by the instant.

Lt. John F. Kennedy’s first command was an unqualified disaster. Yet over the next three days, the privileged son of a Boston multimillionaire displayed extraordinary courage, stamina, and leadership as he risked his life to shepherd his crew to safety and coordinate a daring rescue mission deep in enemy territory. Lieutenant Kennedy earned a Navy and Marine Corps Medal and a Purple Heart, and the story of PT-109 captured the public’s imagination and helped propel the battle-tested veteran all the way to the White House.

Acclaimed war correspondent Richard Tregaskis—who once beat out the future president for a spot on the Harvard University swim team—brings this remarkable chapter in American history to vivid life in John F. Kennedy and PT-109. From the crucial role torpedo boats played in the fight for the Solomon Islands to Kennedy’s eager return to the front lines at the helm of PT-59, Tregaskis tells the full story of this legendary incident with the same riveting style and meticulous attention to detail he brought to Guadalcanal Diary and Invasion Diary.

This ebook features an illustrated biography of Richard Tregaskis including rare images from the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming. — Publisher’s Description

 

From history classes and documentaries I was definitely familiar with John F. Kennedy and in a cursory way familiar with his naval career, especially as it related to action with PT-109.  Until reading this book, however, I was unaware of the full story of not only Kennedy’s service, but of the PT boat program as a whole.

Richard Tregaskis is perhaps best known for his gripping account Guadalcanal Diary, but I had been unaware that he also wrote several more WWII histories, this one in particular.  First published in 1962 during the Kennedy administration, John F. Kennedy and PT-109 serves to highlight the military career and heroism of who was then the sitting President of the United States.  Tregaskis seems to have written it through that lens, as there is very little that does not paint JFK in the most glowing light, and honestly, I can see why.  The calm and poise he seemed to show throughout the harrowing days after the sinking of PT-109 and his efforts to save himself and his crew are second to none.

As for Tregaskis’ account, it is very methodical to say the least.  He does an excellent job painting the scene, not only of a young Lt. Kennedy’s military career up to that fateful day in 1943, but how he came to be in the Pacific Theater and on a PT boat specifically.  We are walked through step by step the young officer’s entry to naval service while at the same time learning about the development and implementation of the little PT boats that served so heroically in the war.  Tregaskis had taken very little liberty with the facts surrounding events and this makes John F. Kennedy and PT-109 a good piece of source material for research on this subject.

My only real knocks on this text is that first, because of the methodical nature of the prose I was not as gripped in the story or held in suspense as much as I would have liked to be.  I had trouble imagining myself serving there alongside Kennedy and really experiencing the danger and horror and fear that must have swept over each crew member (whether they would have admitted it or not) after their boat was lost.  This could also be in part because I knew how it would all turn out in the end!  My second fault was the lack of maps, diagrams, and pictures about Kennedy and his PT boat and crew.  I am not sure if this is a feature of just my copy, or is the final publication will have these items.  As a visual learner, I would have enjoyed reading much more if I was able to see and experience these within the text or as an insert, rather than looking elsewhere.  Overall these are not enough to dissuade me from recommending John F. Kennedy and PT-109 to anyone interested in the subject matter and I would consider this as a possible addition to my high school library collection.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Open Road Media for the opportunity to read and review John F. Kennedy and PT-109.

Three of Five Stars

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Posted by on November 18, 2016 in Reviews

 

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Review – Doctor Who: The American Adventures by Justin Richards

Doctor Who: The American Adventures

Doctor Who: The American Adventures by Justin Richards. October 25, 2016. Penguin Group (UK), 192 p. $14.99 ISBN: 978-1405928724.

“Travel through time and space with the Twelfth Doctor in these six brand new adventures, set in a host of locations across the US and eras from throughout US history.

An invisible spacecraft turns up at the Battle of New Orleans, an alien presence is detected at the 1944 D-Day landings, and ghosts take over New York’s subway tunnels as they’re being dug in the early 1900s…

Filled with mystery, excitement and the Doctor’s trademark wit, these timeywimey stories will delight any Doctor Who fan.” — Publisher’s Description

 

I have to start off by saying that I love Doctor Who.  I have for a very, very, very long time.  I am one of those kids who used to live for Saturday nights and tune into PBS to watch the funny talking man fight monsters in rubber suits with hokey special effects.  As I grew older, I came to appreciate the stories more and more and in fact, was able to appreciate the rubber effects even moreso.  I was devestated in 1989 when the Doctor left me, and was beyone ecstatic when he came to FOX, and then again to the BBC for his current run.

What was able to get me through the downtime were the books and audio adventures, especially the books.  I loved reading everything Who and still do, although taking on more adult responsibilities I have much less time.  When I came across the opportunity to try Doctor Who: The American Adventures, however, I made time and you should too!

Written primarily for children and tweens (the publisher recommends ages 9-12), Doctor Who: The American Adventures is not very deep or technical, and it does not need to be.  Six separate adventures see the twelfth (presumably, since it’s not specified in any real way) Doctor jumping in and out of American history, anywhere from 1846 to 2017 and taking on baddies to right wrongs.  Each story is complete and stands alone from the others in the book and anything on the televised series or other materials.  These are perfect for getting a younger reader immersed in a little history, a lot of science fiction, and the wonderful universe of Doctor Who.

Author Justin Richards is very well-versed in writing Who, having penned several novels already, including a few of the old Missing and New Adventures I came to know and love and it clearly comes through in each of his stories here.  There’s the perfect mash of rollicking adventure, action, and technical science (though to a lesser extent).  They are very reminiscent of the short stories that used to appear in Doctor Who Magazine and make for very quick, easy reading.

I highly recommend this collection to any Doctor Who fan, but remind you to remember the intended audience for this collection of stories is children and young adults.  If you are looking for the hard-hitting, technical interwoven plotline type of stories, you won’t find them here, but you will have lots of fun!

Many thanks to NetGalley, the Penguin Group (UK), Smith Publicity and Justin Richards for the opportunity to read and review Doctor Who: The American Adventures.

Four of Five Stars

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Posted by on November 18, 2016 in Reviews

 

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Review – Hocus Pocus in Focus: The Thinking Fan’s Guide to Disney’s Halloween Classic by Aaron Wallace

Hocus Pocus in Focus: The Thinking Fan’s Guide to Disney’s Halloween Classic

Hocus Pocus in Focus: The Thinking Fan’s Guide to Disney’s Halloween Classic by Aaron Wallace. September 2016. Pensive Pen Publishing, 206 p. $15.95 ISBN: 099805920X.

“In the first and only book ever written about the beloved 1993 Halloween movie, Aaron Wallace takes readers deep into the world of Hocus Pocus to learn everything they never knew. He provides a lighthearted but scholarly look at the film in its all spooky-kooky glory.

You’ll learn:
• The fascinating history behind “Come, Little Children (Sarah’s Song)” and “I Put a Spell on You”
• How Steven Spielberg shaped the movie
• Why there’s all that talk about yabbos and virgins
• How Hocus Pocus got away with being the edgiest Disney movie ever made
• Whether a sequel could really happen
• And much, much more

Featuring a foreword by Golden Globe nominee Thora Birch (Hocus Pocus’s Dani), afterword by Mick Garris (the film’s writer and producer), and the largest collection of Hocus Pocus fun facts and trivia ever assembled, this is the ultimate unofficial fan guide for Halloween and movie lovers everywhere. Finally, Hocus Pocus is celebrated as the classic it’s become. You’ll love the movie more than you ever knew you could.” — Publisher’s Description

Just in time for Halloween, Hocus Pocus in Focus is the second book in a series of “thinking fan’s guides” by author Aaron Wallace.  Keeping true to the formula he developed in The Thinking Fan’s Guide to Walt Disney World (reviewed here), Mr. Wallace closely examines the 1993 film on a variety of levels.  While some might be leery that a “campy” 1990s film can warrant an entire book, Mr. Wallace is able to fill his 206 pages with a wealth of information and trivia included with some in-depth analysis to make it worth the read.

Without giving away too many of the details (What fun would it be for you to read then?), Mr. Wallace is able to take apart the plot, settings, and intimate details of the film and allow you to look at it from an entirely new perspective.  You can see after reading how this was really an atypical Disney film, even for the “new look” Michael Eisner Disney of the 1990s.  By placing itself in the context of Disney trying to branch out and expand to more audiences, Hocus Pocus was actually rather groundbreaking for the company.  Learning about the inner workings of the production, how certain elements of horror, suspense, and established movie tropes blended together, and the immense love of the cast for the film really brings the importance and the love for this film “in focus”.

All that said, Hocus Pocus in Focus is definitely a book primarily for the hardcore fans of the film as the smaller details would be lost on a casual fan who had only seen it a few times. However, it is also accessible to those who are interested in film (specifically Disney films!) in general.  It’s well worth doing yourself a favor and following the author’s advice to watch Hocus Pocus both before and after reading as both a preparation for the details in the book, as well as being able to look for everything discussed after!  I did this myself, as I believe the last time I saw Hocus Pocus was close to 15 years ago and it was well worth it!

Many thanks to Pensive Pen Publishing and Aaron Wallace for the opportunity to read and review Hocus Pocus in Focus.

Four of Five Stars

Hocus Pocus in Focus on Amazon

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Posted by on October 26, 2016 in Reviews

 

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ARC Book Review – Tarkin (Star Wars) by James Luceno

Tarkin (Star Wars)

Tarkin (Star Wars) by James Luceno. November 4, 2014. Del Rey, 289p. $28.00 ISBN:9780345511522.

“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. . . .

Bestselling Star Wars veteran James Luceno gives Grand Moff Tarkin the Star Wars: Darth Plagueis treatment, bringing a legendary character from A New Hope to full, fascinating life.

He’s the scion of an honorable and revered family. A dedicated soldier and distinguished legislator. Loyal proponent of the Republic and trusted ally of the Jedi Order. Groomed by the ruthless politician and Sith Lord who would be Emperor, Governor Wilhuff Tarkin rises through the Imperial ranks, enforcing his authority ever more mercilessly . . . and zealously pursuing his destiny as the architect of absolute dominion.

Rule through the fear of force rather than force itself, he advises his Emperor. Under Tarkin’s guidance, an ultimate weapon of unparalleled destruction moves ever closer to becoming a terrifying reality. When the so-called Death Star is completed, Tarkin is confident that the galaxy’s lingering pockets of Separatist rebellion will be brought to heel—by intimidation . . . or annihilation.

Until then, however, insurgency remains a genuine threat. Escalating guerrilla attacks by resistance forces and newfound evidence of a growing Separatist conspiracy are an immediate danger the Empire must meet with swift and brutal action. And to bring down a band of elusive freedom fighters, the Emperor turns to his most formidable agents: Darth Vader, the fearsome new Sith enforcer as remorseless as he is mysterious; and Tarkin—whose tactical cunning and cold-blooded efficiency will pave the way for the Empire’s supremacy . . . and its enemies’ extinction.” — Publisher’s Description

Taking on one of the most intriguing characters in the Star Wars universe, James Luceno does an admirable job fleshing out the persona of Wilhuff Tarkin. Played perfectly by Peter Cushing in 1977, Tarkin has always been an enigma. How did this man become the commander of the Death Star and an equal to, or sometimes seemingly a superior of, Darth Vader himself? Luceno weaves a story filled with action surrounding a joint Tarkin-Vader mission for the Emperor and flashbacks to Tarkin’s childhood and adolescence.

Set five years after the events in Revenge of the Sith, we are treated to a triple threat here: the growth of Tarkin into the man we see in Star Wars: A New Hope, the continued development of Darth Vader as he grows in the Dark Side, and the seeds of the Rebellion that will reach its pinnacle 15 years into the future.

The action opens on the mysterious Sentinel Base where the newly promoted Moff Tarkin is overseeing a project of epic proportion for the Emperor.  The base is attacked by remnants of the Separatist Movement from the Clone Wars.  While he is able to deflect the ambush, Tarkin is recalled to Coruscant where he faces the Emperor and is tasked to lead a joint mission with Darth Vader to root out the Separatists and eliminate them completely.  While on this mission, the Moff’s cruiser, Carrion Spike, is hijacked and after being used by the Separatists to attack Imperial installations it is up to Tarkin and Vader to track the ship down before more damage can be done, all the while unraveling plots and conspiracies over two years in the making.

To say I had high hopes and expectations for thie book would be an understatement   As a life long Star Wars fan, I have always been intrigued by Grand Moff Tarkin ever since seeing him on the big screen.  What made this ruthless Imperial tick?  How did he get to such a prominent position in the Imperial pantheon, especially command of the Death Star?  When I saw that James Luceno was taking the reins and fleshing out this story, I was even more excited, and was not let down!

Tarkin reads more like an espionage thriller and psychological case study than a science fiction adventure, as with most other Star Wars Expanded Universe novels.  The pacing was deliberate and methodical, giving you a true sense not only of the way in which the main investigation in the story is handled, but also a look at the personality of Tarkin himself.  Luceno never lacks on the details, but the story does not get bogged down in them either.  By weaving in stories of Tarkin’s childhood and adolescence, as well as the trials he endured to shape him, we are treated to a wonderful character study that slowly reveals more complexity and layers to Wilhuff Tarkin than you would ever imagine existed.  Couple that with the asides and glimpses into characters such as Vader and the Emperor while interacting with Tarkin, and the entire triumvirate truly comes alive.

There are some points where the action seems to drag, but, much like Tarkin himself, the story is well metered, calculated, and focused on its desired end.  Readers looking for lots of action will be disappointed, but hopefully not for long as they get to know and understand the personality of one of the most calculating and fearless leaders of the Galactic Empire.

Many thanks to LucasBooksNetGalley, and James Luceno for the opportunity to read and review Tarkin early in exchange for an honest review.  The final version will be released on  November 4, 2014.

Four out of five stars.

Tarkin (Star Wars) on Amazon

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Posted by on November 2, 2014 in Reviews

 

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ARC Review — Vixens, Vamps, & Vipers by Mike Madrid

Vixens, Vamps, & Vipers: Lost Villainesses of Golden Age Comics

Vixens, Vamps, & Vipers: Lost Villainesses of Golden Age Comics by Mike Madrid. October, 2014. Exterminating Angel Press, 240 p. $16.95 ISBN:9781935259275.

“Between the covers of Vixens, Vamps & Vipers, fans will rediscover the original bad girls of comics—as fierce and full of surprises as they were when the comic book industry was born. From murderous Madame Doom to He-She, dubbed by io9 as “the most unsung comic book villain ever,” Mike Madrid resurrects twenty-two glorious evildoers in fully reproduced comics and explores the ways they both transcend and become ensnared in a web of cultural stereotypes.

Among the deadly femme fatales, ruthless jungle queens, devious secret agents, double-dealing criminal masterminds, and gender-bending con artists are some of the very first women of color in comics. These women may have been overlooked in the annals of history, but—like their superheroine counterparts in Divas, Dames & Daredevils—their influence, on popular culture and the archenemies that thrill us today, is unmistakable.” — Publisher’s Description

Women have not often been portrayed in comics in the most positive light, if even at all.  It is only in recent years that we have seen the emergence of strong female characters who were not spilling out of every stitch of  skintight leotard they put on.  Many times, they are shows as assistants, secretaries, or the damsels that need our hero’s saving.  Not so, in Vixens, Vamps, and Vipers!

Looking at comics published before the implementation of the Comics Code in 1954, Mike Mardid’s Vixens, Vamps, & Vipers shows us that while these Golden Age comics in no way promoted sexual equality, they did give us many strong characters, especially the baddies!  These women were cunning, ruthless, smart, seductive, independent, diverse, and very outspoken.  Everything we think women of the 1940s were not!  Mike Madrid’s brilliant and thoroughly researched commentary makes these characters come alive in the context of their times, but also how they relate to and helped influence today’s female villains and heroines.  In addition, stories referenced for each character are reproduced in full, giving the reader a wonderful insight into early comics, the 1940s, and brilliant stories they may have never seen otherwise.

Highly recommended for anyone interested in comics history, women’s studies, or mid 20th century history and culture.

Five out of five stars.

Many thanks to Exterminating Angel PressEdelweiss, and Mike Madrid for the opportunity to read and review In Real Life early in exchange for an honest review.  The final version was released on October 7, 2014.

Vixens, Vamps, & Vipers: Lost Villainesses of Golden Age Comics on Amazon

Vixens, Vamps, & Vipers: Lost Villainesses of Golden Age Comics on Barnes and Noble

Vixens, Vamps, & Vipers: Lost Villainesses of Golden Age Comics on Goodreads

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Posted by on October 20, 2014 in Reviews

 

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ARC Review — The Hound of the Baskervilles (Dover Graphic Classics) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Hound of the Baskervilles (Dover Graphic Classics)

The Hound of the Baskervilles (Dover Graphic Classics) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, adapted and illustrated by John Green. November, 2014. Dover Publications, 48 p. $3.99 ISBN: 9780486785073.

“The intrepid detective and his faithful assistant take on a supernatural challenge in one of Arthur Conan Doyle’s most popular mysteries. This graphic novel’s original illustrations accompany an easy-to-read account of Holmes and Watson’s investigation of a family curse. Readers will be irresistibly drawn into the search for a giant spectral hound that haunts the fog-shrouded moors.

This Dover Graphic Novel Classic offers readers ages 8 and up an exciting introduction to a time-honored tale. Expertly abridged and packed with dramatic illustrations, this version offers a streamlined narrative that retains all of the storytelling essentials.” — Publisher’s Description

Note: I took the approach of reviewing this title looking at it for what it is, an abridged graphic novel version of the classic Sherlock Holmes story meant for children.  As a result, I don’t address Doyle’s story, but rather the abridgment, artwork, layout, and effectiveness of this work as a graphic novel.

I wanted to like this one, I really did.  I am a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles, and I have always loved Dover Publication’s approach to the classics and they way that they work to make them accessible and easy to read for children and young adults.  When I saw the opportunity to review a graphic novel version from Dover, I was naturally excited.  Unfortunately this was short lived.

By its nature, an abridged version of a novel or story is going to be missing subplots or chunks of action, or have them explained away in a simple narrative.  The same formula was followed here, but with the unique feature of keeping most, if not all of the original dialogue intact.  The resulting story was then choppy and did not flow well at all, switching between John Green’s simpler descriptive terms and Doyle’s more formal Victorian language.  Since the idea here is to get readers “ages 8 and up” interested in the story, I felt that it fell short.  This type of editing should be an all or nothing proposition.  The language should be geared to that age and reading level advertised for it to be an effective introduction.  I would like to see a book like this in a simple form, then refer those students who are able to and ready to handle the more complex original text to then read that after.  The other downfall of this adaptation is that it had tried to oversimplify a complex story.  The themes, character motivations, and actions are quite mature and difficult to tone down for the recommended age group to understand.  I am afraid that much of the story is lost on this age group because of that.

I would be remiss in a review of a graphic novel to not address the artwork as well.  Reading the cover description provided in my copy, stated that this is not your average graphic novel, but rather one that readers can color themselves.  Because of this, all the drawings are simple black line drawings.  The lack of color aside, and explained, I found the art to still be lacking.  Most characters were lacking any depth, showed no emotion to the point of rigidity, and unfortunately, looked too similar in appearance to make them distinguishable without color.  Even as a coloring book, this work is lacking, as several panels and pages are simply closeups of a character’s face with their word bubble, leaving little to the imagination for a child to color.

While a wonderful idea and a unique concept to find a way to introduce children to classic literature, The Hound of the Baskervilles here falls short.  It is not really a graphic novel, nor an abridged, simplified version.  I would not recommend this for reluctant readers because of the liberal use of the original text, nor for graphic novel fans as it is barely that as well.  Perhaps only the Holmes or Dover completest would find this book to be a perfect fit in their collection, but otherwise it missed the mark.

Two out of five stars.

Many thanks to Dover PublicationsNetGalley, and John Green for the opportunity to read and review The Hound of the Baskervilles (Dover Graphic Classics) early in exchange for an honest review.  The final version will be released on November 19, 2014.

The Hound of the Baskervilles (Dover Graphic Classics) on Amazon

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Posted by on October 7, 2014 in Reviews

 

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ARC Review — In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang

In Real Life

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow, art by Jen Wang. October, 2014. First Second, 192 p. $17.99 ISBN:9781596436589.

“Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role playing game that she spends most of her free time on. It’s a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It’s a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends. Gaming is, for Anda, entirely a good thing. 

But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer — a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn. This behavior is strictly against the rules in Coarsegold, but Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person’s real livelihood is at stake. 

From acclaimed teen author Cory Doctorow and rising star cartoonist Jen Wang, In Real Life is a sensitive, thoughtful look at adolescence, gaming, poverty, and culture-clash.” — Publisher’s Description

“It is not gender, nor age, nor race, but your ability to work hard at what you love.”  This is the overall theme of In Real Life, the new graphic novel by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang that takes us into a virtual world with sixteen-year-old Anda, a bit of an outcast in the real world, but a fierce warrior and leader in her online gaming world.

Anda is your stereotypical teenage “gamer girl”.  She’s shown as a bit of an outcast, a little on the meek side, anerd, and a little chubby.  She is recruited one day in school to join a new MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game), Coarsegold as a probationary member of an exclusive guild for girls only.  To the consternation of her mother, Anda is allowed to subscribe to the game on the condition that she only plays with other girls her age and has no contact with others, as mom fears online predators.  Soon, however, Anda discovers that there are people working illegally as “gold farmers” in the game.  They work to earn virtual money that they then sell to other players for real world cash.  Anda and her friend Lucy, who likes to be called “Sarge” are sent on missions to kill these gold farmers in return for payment into their PayPal accounts.

Things quickly change, however, when one day Anda meets Raymond, a Chinese gold farmer.  They begin talking in the game and Anda finds out that he is her age, but works 12 hours a day in what amounts to a sweatshop earning gold for his company.  when she learns that he has health problems and is often since, but cannot get medical treatment because of his company policy and nation’s laws, she tries to seek help.  She finds loopholes in the law, and encourages Raymond to take a job action, similar to a strike, to seek better treatment at the same time displaying a leadership and confidence she hasn’t expressed in real life yet.

A wrench is thrown into Anda’s plans, and she loses her online access to the game for a time.  At this juncture, she faces reality full force for the first time after meeting Raymond and learns that in most of the world, things are not fair nor what they seem to be and she works to find ways to right these wrongs.

In this graphic novel, Cory Doctorow brings together all those elements that make him such a wonderful teen author.  There is a lot to get excited about here. — online gaming, a female protagonist who learns to grow strong, realistic interpersonal relations, and a dash of world economics and activism.  Jen Wang’s artwork adds beautifully to the story and without it, the whole concept of In Real Life would fall flat.  The depictions of Anda are perfect, both in here real life self and that of her online avatar.  The real Anda is a little nerdy and is shown as a larger girl who tries to hide it under sweatshirts, but she is never seen as shamed or shameful and that’s brilliant.  Her online avatar is the opposite, thin, lithe, a warrior with flowing bright red hair who fears nothing.  In Real Life  shows us that you can be anyone online, but that these online personas and feelings and friends can “cross over” into the real world as well.  Anda’s growth as a young woman in real life through her actions and friendships in the game are very evident and refreshing.

The elements of world politics and economics, as well as class and culture addressed through the relationship of Anda and Raymond are well done.  This is a short read, and as such, there isn’t much background provided as to the working conditions in China, nor the healthcare and treatment of workers but Doctorow is able to give a nice snapshot and overview of this as a means of helping bring some awareness to the issues while at the same time, using it as the primary driving force for change in his story.  Anyone looking for a very strong statement or call to action may be disappointed with In Real Life, but there is an opportunity and plenty of information presented for readers to do as Anda did and research these topics on their own to spread awareness.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed In Real Life as a coming of age story with definite appeal to young adults who play online games, and especially girls who do so, as there are very few books that address them specifically and few role models for them to follow.  A very quick read at a little under 200 pages, most can finish this in one sitting, as the action is fast paced and you will get lost very quickly in both worlds shown In Real Life.

Four out of five stars.

Many thanks to First SecondNetGalley, and Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang for the opportunity to read and review In Real Life early in exchange for an honest review.  The final version will be released on  October 14, 2014.

In Real Life on Amazon

In Real Life on Barnes and Noble

In Real Life on Goodreads

In Real Life on LibraryThing

In Real Life on Shelfari

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2014 in Reviews

 

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