Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Gamer Girl Review

After Maddy's parents divorce, she's stuck starting over at a new high school. Friendless and nicknamed Freak Girl, Manga-loving artist Maddy finds refuge in the interactive online game Fields of Fantasy. In that virtual world, she reinvents herself as Allora, a gorgeous elfin alter ego, and meets a true friend in Sir Leo. Maddy can't hide behind Allora forever, especially as a real-life crush begins edging in on her budding virtual romance. But would anyone pick the real Maddy, gamer girl and Manga freak, over the fantasy?
This fresh, geeky/cool novel includes online chats and exciting gaming, and features Maddy's Manga style artwork.

Gamer Girl by Mari Mancusi turned out to be a little better than anticipated. Given the content I was not as let down as I expected to be. I am very protective of the gaming environment because I have been a part of it for so long now, I didn't want this book to give teenage girls the wrong impression. Luckily for me though, this book only covered the role-playing aspect of gaming which is something I am not well-versed in so it went over smoothly.

Maddy is the typical angsty punk nerd girl who is living in high school hell. Her school is full of preppy mean kids who are ruled by a group of "Haters." Chad is a part of this group and Maddy for some odd reason is attracted to him. After her grandmother accidentally establishes her as the Freak Girl in her preppy high school, she takes solace in a video game her dad gives her. After being ditched by all her friends and even her dad in game, Maddy meets Sir Leo in Fields of Fantasy and he becomes her only friend and confidant. Over the course of the book she starts to have feelings for Sir Leo and wishes she could meet him in real life. This book obviously has some fantasy aspects as well, nothing like the relationship formed in game would ever happen in real life. From the moment you meet Chad you know he is going to be Sir Leo (sorry if that spoils it, but it is extremely obvious). From there the story becomes more of a game-based romantic fantasy.

The characters are simple and easy to read. Maddy of course has the emo girl thoughts that every has in high school and acts upon them. Sir Leo is the perfect boy that you would never meet in real life, let alone in game. Her old friends ditch in typical high school girl fashion, and her new friends that she makes by the end in her manga club turn out to be the usual high school nerds.

As you can tell I think the writing is simple, quick, at times funny and a bit (okay, a lot) predictable. From the back cover summary alone you can tell how the story is going to play out. This book reads like an old Mario or Zelda game. It's fun, predictable, and you know the princess will get saved at the end. So the writing does lend to the gaming atmosphere of the story, even if the gaming lingo is outdated and comical to read.

Gamer Girl turned out to be more enjoyable than I thought. I was worried my reputation as a gamer girl would be tainted by over exaggerated gaming stereotypes, but never fear, it only brushed on the gaming world. I would recommend this book to younger readers, maybe around age 14. Anyone who is new to the world of nerd would welcome this book. Well-seasoned nerds like myself, may find it offensive at times or just take it like me and have a good laugh. 3 out of 5 stars, back to the library shelves it goes. Game over.

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