Title: Gamer Girl
Author: Mari Mancusi
What it's about: High school sophomore Maddy's life isn't exactly great. Her parents are divorced, her mom makes them move in with Maddy's weird grandma, and Maddy's immediately labeled as a freak at her new school. About the only good things in her life are her manga and her online existence as Allora, an elf character in the online game Fields of Fantasy. In Fields of Fanasy, Maddy as Allora meets SirLeo, a chivalrous knight character who becomes her friend when she still doesn't make any friends at her new school. But even if she'd like to, Maddy can't ignore her real life problems. She'll have to overcome obstacles online and off if she wants to be happy.
What I thought: Okay, I really liked this book. I don't think it's for everyone, but basically, it was really fun for me to be able to read about a protagonist who really fit the gamer/anime nerd mold. Most of the time, you read a book with a nerdy girl as the main character, she's a lit. nerd. Jane Austen or one of the Brontes or someone like that is her favorite author, or if she's a fantasy nerd, it's Tolkien. This book has very up to the minute references to things that a legit nerd like yours truly could appreciate. Mentions Facebook, Edward Cullen (in a derogatory manner, happily enough), Fields of Fantasy - a total play on WoW, and more manga references than you can shake a magic wand at. There are conversations between Maddy and SirLeo that are written as in-game instant messages, but this author doesn't bother with a lot of chat speak. A few instances of "lol, kk, ty", but no real abbreviations of words like you find in other books that include IM convos. Pretty nice, because I know that I, as a reader, find that distracting.
As a character, Maddy was engaging. Not too much of a bratty teenager, good sense of humor, relatable. Good character development over the course of the story. The romance plot wasn't too predictable, actually. At times, I was like, oh, of course, it's this guy, but there were enough other leads to actually make me genuinely unsure of the ending. And it worked out pretty well. Good development of the supporting characters, too. The club members, Maddy's family, and all the rest. All in all, this is an easy, enjoyable read that will really strike a chord with any nerdy readers out there.
Overall: Lots of fun, especially if you're an anime/gamer nerd.
And, bleh, I got behind again. I'll just have to do some short reviews to at least get them up. We'll see how that works. And when I was at the book store and bought Gamer Girl, I also picked up Heroes of the Valley, which I'll be reading and reviewing next.