Amusingly, the game the girls are playing was intended for little girls, so it's full of pink, purple, unicorns, flowers and tea parties. The game, though, resents the changes Emily has been making to it, and is fighting back. The little cotton-candy pink sprites that spit glitter are my favorite.
The story is very clever, well-written, and fast-paced. If you enjoy gaming, you'll have fun seeing how the main characters use the gaming world to reach their goals.
It's a great fit for upper-middle grade, on up. It's listed for 10-14 as the main audience and the main character is 14. So if you are in 5th-9th grade, this book is written especially for you. Don't let the pink cover throw you-- it suits both boys and girls, especially anyone who is a gamer. (And we all know there's plenty of awesome girl gamers out there!)
What I liked most is that this is a story about the relationship between two sisters. There are no boyfriends who feature in this story, though a bad breakup does play a small role in the back story, but the story is not about him. This has no lovesick drama, no sparkling vampires. Instead, it's about a little sister and big sister coming to grips with who they are, both alone and in relation to each other. I enjoy a good romance, but it's really nice to see girls solving problems and interacting without a guy being the focus. (Such a storyline is so rare in fiction and movies that there's even a name for it. It's called the Bechdel Test, to see if two female characters --who are actually named-- speak in a story without talking about a male. A fabulous YA book that passes the test with flying colors is Code Name Verity, which I reviewed in my other blog here.)
At ANY rate, the big sister is a smart game designer engineer who learns that running away from her problems isn't the way to deal with them, and the younger sister learns that she can do more than she thought she could, too. Grace always thought of herself as the plain, boring one compared to her high-achieving, popular sister (can anyone relate?), but now her sister needs help and Grace rises to the occasion.
It's really just a lovely story, and a fun one to read. Two big thumbs up! Now I think I'll go find some of her other books and see if I enjoy those as much as this one!
Reviews (as shown on Amazon):
I taught middle school, I write characters who are 13-14, and my oldest daughter is in middle school. To those of you in 5th-8th grade and even older, I hope I can offer even a smidgen of help & encouragement as you traverse the waters of middle school and on into high school and adulthood. Here I'll post tips on achieving balance and success in school, life and relationships, as well as inspirational posts and book recommendations that will keep your brains and hearts engaged. I also post about similar themes in my Instagram, so find me there, too!