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- Written by By Ava, Amanda, and Alannah
The virtual-reality vibe has boosted in popularity ever since READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline became a bestseller. Strap in for six other reads that will take you to another world!
1. Warcross by Marie Lu
WARCROSS and READY PLAYER ONE have undeniable similarities, whether it’s the virtual-reality aspect, or the fact that both protagonists are competing in a billionaire’s tournaments. When Emika Chen, a world class hacker and bounty hunter of illegal bets, accidentally glitches herself into the Warcross Championships, she figures the maker of the Warcross virtual-reality game Hideo Tanaka will have her arrested. Instead, he gives her a mission: pose as a Warcross player to find the security problem. But soon she uncovers a dastardly plot that may doom the game and everyone playing it.
2. Otherworld by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller
The Otherworld was just supposed to be another virtual reality game. But soon Simon discovers it’s a lot more than that—it’s a new phase of reality. The game requires no screens. It relies on your senses: touch, smell, feel, taste, and hear. You can do whatever your heart desires, even if it’s taboo or illegal or things you’re just too scared to do in real life… but what happens when the Otherworld becomes your real life?
3. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Known to the world as one of the most popular books, it’s hard to find people these days who haven’t felt deja-vu at the name Ender’s Game. Both books have plenty of games, with those in READY PLAYER ONE being all virtual and those ENDER’S GAME being a combination of virtual and in reality. Sharing similar elements, although Ender’s situation while playing games was to train to fight the war on insects called “buggers,” fans of READY PLAYER ONE will sure to love this book!
4. Omnitopia Dawn by Diane Duane
Written in 2010, this book was ahead of its time with its story of a huge multiplayer online game, compared to many games which have gone viral in the last years with the added benefit of having virtual reality. The game takes place in Omnitopia, and players are able to sense the world around them. Once billionaire Dev, the creator of this game, sets a new update more than what comes to the eye is revealed and this game may collapse the world, virtual and reality.
5. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Expert criminal Kaz Brekker can’t believe it when a rich merchant offers him a job that could earn him all the wealth he’s ever dreamed of. The only catch is no one has ever broken into the Ice Court prison and come out alive. With a team of comrades—each promised a portion of the money as an incentive—Kaz sets off on a dangerous journey to complete the proposed heist. But will it end in glory or in death?
6. The Hunger Games by Suzane Collins
Perhaps one of the best-known YA books of today, Suzanne Collins’ wildly popular HUNGER GAMES trilogy and courageous heroine Katniss have been made into a series of movies and continue to entrance fans both on the page and the screen. Katniss is thrust into a game where children are chosen to kill one another in an arena. The last one standing is declared the victor. There’s just one problem: what happens when she starts falling for one of the other contestants?
Teen Advisory Board Member Amanda Reviews Enclave.
Enclave by Ann Aguirre
When war and plague rule the land, the inhabitants of New York City must move underground into enclaves in order to survive. It’s no easy life, fighting for your survival and with the average life expectancy being in the 20s. With life underground and the knowledge of everything known before destroyed, new jobs and statuses have to be created. Classified into three main sectors, the hunters, the builders, and the breeders, the human race is simply surviving. Generations after moving underground, Deuce is born. On her 15th birthday, everything she has been working for is achieved as she finally becomes a huntress, trained to hunt down food and defend the enclave from the Freaks, or the mutated humans after the war. Being paired with Fade, a boy from the Topside, she finally sees the corruption and secrets the enclave had hidden for so long.
Dystopian is one of my favorite genres to read because of the world-building, and Enclave set up the tone perfectly. Deuce is caring, passionate, and strong, and won’t take nonsense from anyone. I loved her character and the way she grew up not during a traumatic post-apocalypse event, but instead generations after. Rather than waiting for some military official or such in a world where the average person doesn’t know how to fight, she grows up knowing that she trained for such a moment and that no one could take that from her.
On the flip side, Deuce isn’t without anxiety and flaws but learns how to deal with them in her own way. Many doubted her because her parents weren’t hunters and she didn’t have the experience in her blood. Although she has trained to fight in the tunnels, she has never been in such a situation where any step could be fatal. This creates human worries and stress about not being enough, something which many can relate to, huntress or not. Instead of some untouchable female heroine, Deuce realizes the flaws in her ambition and takes a step back.
Although there is certainly a lot of romance, the plot focuses the most on Deuce. However, where there is romance it’s sweet and caring in a unique way. The relationship between Deuce and Fade is slow and stilted, but they definitely care for each other. It’s a lot of waiting for the other to act first, capturing the essence of teenage love. It’s romantic, genuine, and angsty.
This book could honestly be perfect for any readers of YA, no matter what genre. Love, grief, history, future - it’s all here. Specifically, fans of Throne of Glass and And I Darken should totally give Enclave a try because of the similar elements they share.
Having a hard time shopping for you teen? Let us, expert booksellers, help you choose!
"In this Scicence Fiction- Thriller, Bay Area author (and bookseller!) Parker Peevyhouse forces you to question everything that has been laid out before you. The Echo Room is 12 Monkeys for the next generation."- Reviewed by Hannah, NYMBC Coordinator
"Gutsy, sharp and truly remarkable, Natalie Parker has crafted one of the most spellbinding adventures of the year! This is female Piracy at its Best!"- Reviewed by Colleen at Books Inc. Campbell
"Hey, Kiddo gives a fantastic insight into the lives of those dealing with addiction from the sidelines. The lines are soft and personal, highlighted with a burnt orange color pallet. Deeply emotional and fantastically wrought, this one will leave you drained, but ultimately hopeful."- Reviewed by Ivy at Bookshop Santa Cruz
"If you’re in the mood for a refreshing combination of historical fiction and fantasy, GRAVE MERCY byRobin LaFevers is definitely the right read! Another bonus: this is just the first book of the His Fair Assassin trilogy, so there’s more to look forward to after you’ve turned the last page."- Reviewed by a true Teen, Ava, President of Books Inc.'s Teen Advisory Board. See her full review here.
"Comedy and pathos blend in this solid coming of age novel highlighting the difficulty of correcting lies once they are spoken. Should appeal to John Green fans."- Reviewed by Michele at Copperfields
"Unlike anything else I have read, Children of Blood and Bone marks the entrance of a new star in the YA fantasy world. I could not put this book down and devoured it in two sittings. "- Reviewed by Hillary at Copperfields
Another local Bay Area author, Randy Ribay hits a cord with this powerful novel about friendship, basketball, and one teen's mission to create a better life for his family.- Reviewed by Hannah, NYMBC Coordinator
From the bestselling author of the Shatter Me series comes a gorgeous contemporary novel inspired by her own experiences with first love, breakdancing, and the devastating impact of prejudice.
From the author of the beloved and ground-breaking novel, The Book Theif, comes another heartbreaking, and poetically written family saga.
Find all these novels in store now!
Teen Advisory Board Member Ava Reviews Grave Mercy
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Ismae escapes from an abusive arranged marriage with a brute. When she arrives at the convent of Saint Mortain, the cloister of killer nuns inform her the god of Death has blessed her with violent powers and, should she accept to train under them, a great destiny. After she chooses to train as an assassin, she is given her first mission: kill a man residing in the courts of Brittany. But matters complicate once she begins falling for the very man she’s ordered to slaughter.
I absolutely adore the main character, Ismae, who needs no knight in shining armor, but didn’t let that blind her from the possibility of love. Too often books feature a “strong” female who cripples when their love interest departs, proving how strong they actually are. But my favorite aspect of this book is how women, hurt not only by men but by society’s limiting expectations, unite to heal while taking revenge on the men who have endangered other women. Ismae develops lasting friendships with females, instead of the usual girl-pitted-against-girl trope.
If you’re in the mood for a refreshing combination of historical fiction and fantasy, GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers is definitely the right read! Another bonus: this is just the first book of the His Fair Assassin trilogy, so there’s more to look forward to after you’ve turned the last page.
-Review written by Ava, Age 14