Title: Gamer Girl
Author: Mari Mancusi
Year of Publication: 2008
First Line: "Grandma's house was a study of crystal and glass and contained 1,153 unicorns."
Summary: Maddy's life: not so rockin'. Her parents split, she's stuck in a new, small town at a school full of Aberzombies and Haters, she has a crush on someone she really shouldn't like, and she's stuck with the nickname Freak Girl. Sometimes it's enough to retreat into her drawing -- her manga is totally important to her -- but when she gets Fields of Fantasy for her birthday, she knows she's found the one place she can be herself. In the game world, Maddy can transform from regular outcast high school student to Allora, a beautiful Elfin princess with magical powers to take down enemies with a snap of her fingers and a wave of her wand.
As Allora, Maddy's virtual life is perfect, and she even finds a little romance. But a real gamer girl understands that real life comes first -- Maddy can't escape from her IRL problems. She has to find ways to kick back at the Haters, rock her manga, and find the new, real-life friends she knows she deserves.
Source: Back/Inside of book
Review: (Apologies ahead of time for the short review -- my hands are freezing!) Like Mancusi's other novels, I was disappointed and somewhat offended by this book. Mancusi takes a very superficial view of all teenagers -- especially so-called "goths." While the main character claims to be anti-label, etc., she is in fact quite the opposite, calling herself at one point a "goth." She also basically says that having a major crush on Edward Cullen makes you a goth and also a punk rocker. (Sorry, Mancusi, Cullen =\= punk rock. Trust me. Go listen to the Clash or something.) She also does this in other novels I've read. One of the main plots of the story was so predictable, I had it figured out by page 30 or something, so, while I do like to "outsmart" authors, I felt cheated on this one. She didn't even make me chase it a little. That said, it was an interesting idea, but could have been executed much better. Also, it was incredibly annoying to have a character named Chad Murray, as I could not picture anyone but Chad Michael Murray.
Worst part: The superficiality and labeling, etc. was really annoying and, in some ways and cases, offensive (seriously, not all teenagers act like that and I know that my high school did not have some crazy hierarchy with cheerleaders and football studs at the top of the pyramid).
Best part: The idea was pretty interesting. I don't see a lot about MCs who are into manga and, while I'm not, I have friends who are so it's nice to see them represented.
Other Books by This Author: The Blood Coven Series, Razor Girl, Moongazer, News Blues, Karma Kitty Goes to Comic Con, and Zombiewood Confidential
16 / 100 books. 16% done!