Meh. The paperback cover is way better but this one is ok. The colors are eye catching.
Why I Wanted to Read This:
I recall this one being touted as a good crossover (teens to adults) type book when it came out, but for some reason the synopsis never made it seem that interesting to me. Then the news came out that Steven Spielberg* is directing the movie and I read a bit more about the author and decided to give it a try. So very glad I did! Here's the synopsis from GoodReads (from the paperback version, the hardback synopsis still isn't that great):
It's the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune — and remarkable power — to whoever can unlock them.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday's riddles are based in the pop culture he loved — that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday's icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes's oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.
And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.
Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt — among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life — and love — in the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.
A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?
Romance?: Yes, there is a romance and while it's not the main part of the story for awhile it's a big part of the story.
I fully acknowledge that one reason I love this book is all the 80's references. Between this and the upcoming movie Pixels (this is going to be a great summer for movies!), I predict a huge resurgence of 80's interest by this current generation. But beyond all the awesome, amazing 80's references this is a great book., with tons of action. For the first time I read a book that dealt with virtual reality that I could actually get and see being reality in the not so distance future. I am not saying we will all start living most of our lives there, but I could understand it more.
From the first page this book caught me. I dreamt about it for the two nights I was reading it and couldn't stop thinking about it most of the time I wasn't reading it. I haven't had this in-depth of a reading experience in a long time.
I don't normally talk a lot to adults about the books I am reading because I know most of them look down their noses at YA and MG books, and while I think a lot of young adults would love this book (I am making my son read it this summer, he will love it), I know most people my age would love it. It's not a specific genre, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Wade (or Parzial as his OASIS avatar is named) is awesome. And I think the freedom of having an online persona is what makes him and most people more relate-able. Even though they have the anonymity of a separate persona, they seem a little more real in the OASIS than their real lives. I liked that the characters Parzival has in his life (by choice and inadvertently) and all like him. I don't want to give anything away, but they are tough and smart and driven.
This book just has everything, romance, action, technology, puzzles, quests, and on and on. Just go read it. I cannot rave enough!
To Sum Up: I want to hand this book to most of the people I know and watch them start the first chapter because then I know they will actually read it.
*Now that there is a director, I cannot wait to see who is cast. A lot of people throw Nicholas Hoult's name around and I think he would be perfect!! But I am going to trust this process because this is a book will easily translate to a movie and I am excited to see the process and watch the finished product!