4.3 30
by Tracy Deebs

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Beat the game. Save the world.See more details below


Beat the game. Save the world.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Deebs (Tempest Rising) offers an action-heavy contemporary retelling of the Pandora myth with a virtual gaming twist, but few ties to the original story. Despite some parental neglect, Pandora is an otherwise typical teenage girl, concerned with school, social media, and particularly the online game Pandora's Box. When she opens a series of emailed pictures from her estranged father, she ends up releasing a computer worm that could potentially destroy the world's infrastructure. Pandora, along with two handsome stepbrothers (one a popular jock, the other a brooding outsider), enters the game as an avatar in an effort to set things right. Deebs's story unfolds at breakneck speed, yet characters are only loosely drawn; even Pandora is defined primarily by her anger at her mother and father and by her romantic conflicts. The exploration of human dependence on technology adds tension (readers will empathize with panicked characters once technological resources become unavailable), but the eventual denouement and revelation of the villain's motivations are unsurprising. Ages 12-up. Agent: Emily Sylvan Kim, Prospect Agency.
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School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Pandora Walker, 17, hasn't heard from her father in 10 years, so she's shocked when she receives an email on her birthday. Despite her mother's warning to never have anything to do with him, she opens the email. Clicking on pictures and links to read sweet, nostalgic letters makes her feel loved in a way that she hasn't in a long time. What the teen doesn't realize is that each click releases a section of code. All combined, they create a computer worm that will annihilate civilization. Pandora's father is a cyberterrorist, and he's using her as a pawn to destroy the world. Or is he? He's left her one ray of hope buried deep in an online multiplayer game. If Pandora and her friends can track down clues in real life and in the game, they just might be able to stop the destruction. This novel combines reality, virtual reality, and a love triangle in a nonstop, action-filled plot. As the three heroes race across the country, readers are pulled into their increasingly frantic, dangerous, and desperate search. Character development is secondary here, but the characters are likable, if not all that believable. The plot itself has a few holes, leaves a lot of questions unanswered, and ultimately tries to wrap everything up too quickly. Overall, however, this is still an enjoyable title for gaming- and adventure-loving teens.—Heather E. Miller Cover, Homewood Public Library, AL
Kirkus Reviews
"Beat the game. Save the World." An eco-disaster cyberthriller races through a checklist of teen-lit clichés at a nonetheless entertaining clip. Pandora Walker's career-obsessed mother may have forgotten her 17th birthday, but not her long-absent father. Unfortunately, his unexpected email kicks off a countdown to global apocalypse, via an Internet virus that shuts down the power grid and electronic communications. With the authorities hot on her trail and civil society collapsing, Pandora teams up with two bitterly antagonistic but conveniently skilled (and gorgeous!) stepbrothers to track down the clues planted in an online game before time runs out. From tag line to climax, this story is an unapologetic flood of pop-culture allusions and predictable young-adult-novel tropes. The "real-life" narrative mirrors the structure of the virtual game: a road trip with puzzles, monsters, obstacles, miniature lessons and escalating threats leveling up to the final boss fight. This conceit, despite the relentless pace and genuine dangers, results in an oddly detached effect. Similarly, the characters are strangely empty archetypes: the neglectful parents, the sassy best friend, the sinister government agent, the environmental activist–turned-terrorist, the charming, careless jock and the tormented genius bad boy. Pandora herself, although bestowed with a random-feeling array of personality quirks, serves as little more than a place holder for the player--er, reader. Still, the zippy prose and day-after-tomorrow currency make for a quick and enjoyable (if forgettable) read. (Science fiction/thriller. 12 & up)

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Product Details

Bloomsbury USA
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Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
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File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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