So, I recently received the most fantastic ARC of a YA book that’s releasing later this year, and I can’t stop telling everyone about it. What is it? Meg Eden’s POST-HIGH SCHOOL REALITY QUEST, and I really can’t say enough good things about it! It was that good.
I was asked to write a short blurb about this book, which has already gone off to Meg’s editor, and so I can now include it here–and I think it’s the perfect way to introduce my feelings on this book:
“Right from page one, POST-HIGH SCHOOL REALITY QUEST grabbed me, and I just couldn’t put it down. Inside these pages is a complicated and haunting story of love and loss, written in a unique and compelling style that pulls us right into Buffy’s world–and makes sure we can’t get out. Meg Eden handles the topic of mental illness with sensitivity and skill, while also showing just how confusing and scary these experiences are, at times, for her main character, as even the reader begins to question what’s real and what’s not. Highly recommended.” — Madeline Dyer, author of the Untamed series.
And here’s the Goodreads description:
After graduating high school, a voice called “the text parser” emerges in Buffy’s head, narrating her life as a classic text adventure game. Buffy figures this is just a manifestation of her shy, awkward, nerdy nature—until the voice doesn’t go away, and instead begins to dominate her thoughts, telling her how to live her life. Though Buffy tries to beat the game, crash it, and even restart it, it becomes clear that this game is not something she can simply “shut off” or beat without the text parser’s help.
While the text parser tries to give Buffy advice on how “to win the game,” Buffy decides to pursue her own game-plan: start over, make new friends, and win her long-time crush Tristan’s heart. But even when Buffy gets the guy of her dreams, the game doesn’t stop. In fact, it gets worse than she could’ve ever imagined: her crumbling group of friends fall apart, her roommate turns against her, and Buffy finds herself trying to survive in a game built off her greatest nightmares.
It sounds intriguing, right? And really, this YA novel is so original. I’ve never read anything like it! And it’s one of those books that I just can’t stop thinking about!
Eden’s narrative style was the thing I found most interesting and compelling. The majority of the book is written in the style of a text-adventure game. Now, I’ve not played a text-adventure game before, but even so, the format of this book was easy to pick up. And it was so addictive!
As a main character, Buffy is great. She’s relatable and flawed, but she’s strong too. There’s also the question over her mental health throughout the book, and whether she really is as ill as the doctors believe her to be. As Eden plunges us straight into Buffy’s head, we see this all from her perspective, and with the constant gaming instructions from the mysterious ‘voice’ (who does later appear), early on I was never too sure whether it was indeed a disorder such as schizophrenia, a coping mechanism for life, or just imagination. This made it such an interesting read.
And it really has everything: love, loss, pain, hurt, hope, betrayal, grief, jealousy…the list goes on and on.
There’s also a character who has Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissues. Now, as someone who has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a disorder very similar to Marfan syndrome, that also affects connective tissue, I was delighted to see this. From my medical groups, I know a lot of people who do have Marfans and so I’ll definitely be mentioning this book, as we love it when characters have our conditions.
Eden’s writing is addictive, compelling, and beautiful. And this book is full of surprises. It’s definitely worth a read.
POST-HIGH SCHOOL REALITY QUEST releases on June 13th 2017 from California Coldblood, so mark your calendars now!