November 20, 2017

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Warcross by Marie Lu | SLJ Review

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redstarLU, Marie. Warcross. 368p. Putnam. Sept. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780399547966. POP

Gr 8 Up –A highly engaging and incredibly exciting science fiction novel for young adults. Emika Chen is a bounty hunter living in a futuristic New York City. Emika has a juvenile record and spent time in the foster care system after her father died. She is struggling to pay her bills, and is banking on getting enough from the next bounty to settle up with her landlord. In the midst of her troubles, Emika gets involved in Warcross, a virtual reality video game played by nearly everyone. Players put on virtual reality glasses and can play others, build their own worlds, and keep memories there. There is a huge tournament where the best players from around the globe come together as teams to compete for the ultimate prize. When Emika tries stealing a valuable item in the opening ceremony, she glitches into the game and finds immediate fame. With this fame comes a job offer from the young Hideo Tanaka, creator of Warcross. He flies her to Japan on his private jet, and he asks for her help to find someone who is threatening the game. Emika is also a skilled hacker, so she accepts. The teen becomes a key player in the tournament and in Hideo’s life, as they develop a romantic relationship. Readers will move effortlessly through Lu’s fantastic writing, and they will enjoy getting to know this international cast of characters. The author adeptly weaves together exciting video games scenes, virtual reality, and romance. The great plot twist and cliff-hanger ending clearly leaves room for a sequel. ­VERDICT An enticing first purchase for YA collections, especially where Lu’s other books and science fiction are popular.–Nancy Jo Lambert, Reedy High School, Frisco, TX

This review was published in the School Library Journal August 2017 issue.

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