Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready_Player_One_coverEveryone my age remembers where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about the contest.

What it’s about: This book has a terrific hook. It is set in the near future. The wealthy creator of a virtual reality universe that everyone now uses to escape their miserable lives in the real world has died, and in a posthumous video, he has announced a challenge. Whoever finds the Easter egg he has hidden in his virtual world will inherit his billions and control of his company. As a certifiable geek who grew up in the ’80s, he has hidden clues to the egg’s location based on the games, movies and music of his youth.

Five years has gone by, and no one has found the first clue. Until Parzival, the story’s narrator, announces that he has solved it and is the first person to get on the scoreboard of the most high-stakes video game of all time.

Why I liked it: Ready Player One is a modern-day version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It’s an adventure, a mystery and an edge-of-your-seat, read-it-as-fast-as-you-can thriller. It also captures perfectly the innocent flavor of the ’80s kids movies that it references, such as War Games and The Goonies. As a child of the same era, I enjoyed the references and the overall feel of the book, although since I am not a gamer, I got somewhat bogged down in that aspect of it.

You might like it if: If you are both a gamer and a pop culture geek, you will love this book.

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