Ready Player One by Ernest Cline | Hits and Misses

Ready Player One Book Review Paige's PagesPUBLISHER: Broadway Books
RELEASE DATE: 
August 16, 2011
GENRE: 
Sci-Fi
PAGE COUNT:
 386
MY RATING: ★★★☆
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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 the riddles are based on Halliday’s obsession with ’80s pop culture.  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. 

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Book Review | When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met Rishi Book Review Paige's PagesTITLE: When Dimple Met Rishi
AUTHOR
: Sandhya Menon
PUBLISHER
: Simon Pulse
RELEASE DATE
: May 30, 2017
GENRE
: New Adult Fiction, Contemporary Romance
PAGE COUNT
: 380


When Dimple Met Rishi is a light-hearted rom-com for anyone who’s ever questioned what they want from life.  This book excellently portrays the dilemmas “new adults” face when leaving the nest, and explores generational relationships when cultural traditions are at stake.  We even get a fab feminist protagonist to lead the way on this adventure.   Continue reading

Graphic Novel Review | El Deafo by Cece Bell

El Deafo Book Review Paige's PagesTITLE: El Deafo
AUTHOR
: Cece Bell
PUBLISHER
: Harry N. Abrams
RELEASE DATE
: September 2, 2014
GENRE
: Junior Graphic Novel, Memoir
PAGE COUNT
: 233


El Deafo is an utterly adorable Own Voices  graphic novel based on author Cece Bell’s own childhood experience of severe deafness.  One of the many wonderful things about this book is how it avoids representing deafness as a disability.  Although Cece faces plenty of adversity in the form of loneliness, being misunderstood, and toxic friends, she ultimately uses her Phonic Ear hearing aid as a superpower to become the hero, El Deafo.  This is a universally relatable and informative story for junior and middle grade readers that inspires compassion and respect for differently-abled people. Continue reading

Book Review | Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom

Not If I See You First Book Review Paige's Pages.pngTITLE: Not If I See You First
AUTHOR
: Eric Lindstrom
PUBLISHER
: HarperCollins Children’s
RELEASE DATE
: December 1, 2015
GENRE
: Young Adult Fiction
PAGE COUNT
: 310


At the heart of Not If I See You First is a powerful message about disability, disbanding blindness stereotypes I didn’t even realise I believed.  While I loved this representation, our fierce front woman, Parker Grant, is not the best developed character.  Despite having some fantastic themes with plenty of potential, this book was hit and miss for me. Continue reading

Book Review | Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Salt to the Sea Review Paige's PagesTITLE: Salt to the Sea
AUTHOR
: Ruth Sepetys
PUBLISHER
: Philomel Books
RELEASE DATE
: February 2, 2016
GENRE
: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
PAGE COUNT
: 393


I tend to avoid the historical fiction genre because it’s never really gripped me in the past.  However, Salt to the Sea is distinct from other historical novels I’ve read, using conventions of contemporary YA fiction such as fast pace and multiple first person points of view.  With none of the verbosity and foot-dragging I used to associate with historical fiction, it is an engrossing quick read.
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Double Review | Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic / Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama by Alison Bechdel

Alison Bechdel is an iconic cartoonist well-known for her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For.  Her two graphic memoirs apply a psychoanalytical lens to her stranger-than-fiction childhood to paint an intricate portrait of her parents.  Considering how the characters and themes link the two narratives, they are better when read together!  These memoirs will fascinate lovers of literature with references to great writers, and engross readers who enjoy beautifully structured family biographies.  Her perceptiveness left me in awe.

Bechdel’s art is always worth taking the time to appreciate.  She uses only one colour (greyish green in Fun Home and red in Are You My Mother?) as a wash over her greyscale illustrations.  I was fixated admiring the detail in every frame, and how text and art support each other to articulate meaning more powerfully than either could alone.

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Book Review | If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

If I Was Your Girl Review Paige's PagesTITLE: If I Was Your Girl
AUTHOR
: Meredith Russo
PUBLISHER
: Flatiron Books
RELEASE DATE
: May 3, 2016
GENRE
: Young Adult Fiction, LGBTQIA
PAGE COUNT
: 280


If I Was Your Girl is a high school romance from the perspective of a transgender girl.  While the writing and plot are forgettable, this novel is necessary because it gives young adult readers of any and all gender identities the chance to read trans experiences in relatable contexts.  Besides the universal struggles of fitting in and finding true friends, If I Was Your Girl portrays a trans girl being the subject of romantic attentiongoing a long way to affirm that trans teens are equally deserving of prom proposals and a magical first kiss.  

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Book Review | Shadowbahn: A Novel by Steve Erickson

Shadowbahn Review Paige's PagesTITLE: Shadowbahn
AUTHOR
: Steve Erickson
PUBLISHER
: Blue Rider Press
RELEASE DATE
: February 14, 2017
GENRE
: Speculative Fiction
PAGE COUNT
: 320


Knowing nothing about Steve Erickson as a prolific author, I was drawn to Shadowbahn by its eyebrow-raising premise: 20 years after their devastating fall, the Twin Towers suddenly reappear in the Badlands of South Dakota.  Thousands migrate from every corner of the nation to see the phenomenon with their own eyes, and listen to the music the Towers emit.  Like an aural Rorschach test, everyone hears a different tune.  Meanwhile, on the ninety-something floor of the south tower, Jesse Presley, the stillborn twin of history’s most iconic singer, awakes to a reality in which he survived in his brother’s place.

AMERICAN STONEHENGE blares the cover of one newsweekly.  To some who gather, the Towers represent a hallowing of the ground.  To others, particularly those who lost someone in the Towers twenty years ago, they represent a desecration – page 16

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Double Review | More Happy Than Not / History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

More Happy Than Not (2015) and History Is All You Left Me (2017) by gay YA author, Adam Silvera, are a perfect pair.  Featuring realistic gay protagonists, they confront themes crucial to older YA readers including identity, sexuality, love, and loss.  Silvera’s representation of mental illness is unflinchingly honest and raw.  I may not be able to bid you “happy reading”, but I hope you will find Silvera’s writing as powerful as I did.

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Book Review | Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Into the Water Paige's PagesTITLE: Into the Water
AUTHOR
: Paula Hawkins
PUBLISHER
: Doubleday
RELEASE DATE
: May 2, 2017
GENRE
: Crime, Mystery, Psychological Thriller
PAGE COUNT
: 386


The success of Paula Hawkins’ debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, built up my expectations for her new release.  Although I was anticipating a tense and tightly-woven mystery, Into the Water delivers a slow simmer with anticlimactic results.  While it missed the mark for me, I can see how its slow climb and narrative consisting of multiple points of view will appeal to some readers.    Continue reading