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Posted April 19, 2013
What would you do if you found out that your DVR recorded tomorrow’s news and instead of today’s? If you’re like me, you’d make a beeline to the nearest gas station and buy a lottery ticket, but that’s not an option for 13-year-old Logan Styles, so he does the next best thing – uses his knowledge to try and increase his popularity at his new middle school and catch the attention of his crush, Sidra. However, when Logan realizes that he can use his DVR’s special insights to prevent accidents and injuries, he begins to understand that there are more important things than popularity.
Instant Preplay is a superbly written book that introduces a very likable and believable narrator. Logan has all the regular insecurities of a normal teen, but his heart is in the right place, and you can’t help but root for him as he realizes there are better uses for getting the news a day early then advancing his own status on the middle school totem pole.
Author Karl Fields is able to convincingly paint the Darwinian struggle and hormone cocktail known as middle school, and the books hits on some very important themes, including body image, friendship, early love, bullying and the over-arching need every kid feels to be accepted by their peers. It was also refreshing to read a book narrated by a character of color (Logan is black) where race was just a character trait, not a central theme.
Logan’s clairvoyant DVR player is a fun catalyst in the story, setting Logan up on a path of multiple adventures, but the heart of the book is Logan himself as he struggles to find acceptance in his new school and learns a powerful lesson about the true meaning of friendship.
Instant Preplay is a must-read for all the tweens out there who would rather have true friends then sit at the top of the popularity pyramid.
(This book was provided to Compulsion Reads for review by the author.)
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Posted September 30, 2012
I think at some point in our lives, we all wish we could predict the future, see what tomorrow holds, and possibly get rich doing it. In Field’s latest novel, Instant Preplay, that’s exactly what Logan Styles gets—a DVR that shows tomorrows news—but with this great insight also comes great responsibility, as Logan soon finds out.
I think this MG novel is great for children and parents alike, with its sound morals and enticing plot, it’s sure to keep kids interest as well as teach them a few important things, like that fact that true friendship is more important than popularity and fame isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. Likewise, parents will enjoy having this clean read as something their child will enjoy—it’s easy to read and I’d say most kids up to age 14 will probably really enjoy this story.
While MG books aren’t necessarily my favorite genre, I always enjoy a clean read that I can recommend to my students, especially when I know they’ll get even more out of it that I do. And the antics of Logan, Patrick, and Ronnie are enticing enough that I really think this is a must read for the younger generations.
Personally, I was really able to connect with one of the instances in the novel regarding report cards. Not the ones you’re thinking of, but ones that rate a girl’s beauty and popularity. I think it’s almost a (terrible) rite of passage in middle school for children. I don’t know why they think it’s such a great idea, but it happens a lot in middle school. When I was in 8th grade, the boys in 7th rated some the girls in 7th and 8th, just like the report cards in Instant Preplay, and while I have no idea if I was even on the list (probably not), I do remember overhearing that the boys rated girls’ butts and faces. And I do remember it being spread around that if a certain girl walked around backwards, she’d have an A on everything, but her “butterface” dropped her score a lot… yeah, not so nice. Because it didn’t deal with me, I didn’t really think anything of it, but I wonder how it affected the girls on that list? And, why didn’t they say anything? Seriously, middle schoolers are mean. The same holds true in this novel and without the possibility of the DVR and Logan realizing he had the potential to do good and really help others, terrible things could have happened. Honestly, I think it’s the perfect fit for a MG reader and I highly suggest putting this on your “to be read” list, especially if you have kids (I also suggest reading Field’s The Odd Job Squad). Though there are a few typos here and there, in the end it really doesn’t take away from the story at heart and I don’t foresee most readers being bothered by it.
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Posted November 19, 2013