As part of my new blog, I will be including reviews of books I read. You won’t see a lot of bad reviews here – not because I don’t read books that have problems, but because I don’t finish them. And if I haven’t finished a book, I don’t think it is fair for me to review it. So, here goes the first one:
Author: John C. Brewer
Word Count/Pages: 99,000/406
John C. Brewer’s novel Multiplayer immerses the reader into the world of Hector West, a pretty normal teen boy whose his dad was killed in Iraq. I chose the word “immerse” not to sound particularly literate, but because that is what it feels like to me. I am dunked into a life that is real and complete. The characters are act like people I’ve known. Their interactions are perfect – from Hector’s bickering with his older sister and pushing around his younger one, to wanting to hide his math test from his mother. The one departure to the exceptional characters was Hector’s mother. There is enough there to be able to tell she is an interesting character, but not quite enough to get a handle on her. Perhaps we will learn more in future books in the series.
The pace of the book is great for today’s busy world with too many distractions. To be honest, this is the primary reason there are a lot of books I don’t finish. Life interrupts my reading, and if I’m at a part where I don’t care about the characters or am not eager to find out what happens, I don’t make it back to the book – ever. I never had that issue with Multiplayer. And more than that, I found the subtle commentary about the restrictions on “free-time” in our society and how that can affect kids to be insightful.
The “Young Adult” label for this novel is correct in terms of tone. Given that Young Adult is generally thought of as ages 12 and up, however, the one warning I would give is about the language. It is absolutely appropriate to the setting and characters, so this is not a criticism, per se. But I imagine there are a few 12-year-olds this would not be a good fit for. For most of them, however, and adults as well, it is an entertaining and thoughtful read. Enjoy!