368p. Delacorte. Nov. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781101939321.
Gr 8 Up—Simon is just your average delinquent teenager with a heart of gold until he returns to his New Jersey home after getting kicked out of boarding school, only to realize that his best friend and crush is avoiding him. Kat is hiding something and it looks like she's in real danger. Meanwhile, Simon gets a glimpse at the new VR game, Otherworld, and hopes to meet up with Kat there to figure out what's going on. There is an accident, and the two realize they are in much more trouble than they thought. People around the area are all mysteriously getting wounded and falling into comas, Otherworld doesn't want to let players out anymore—the code is going rogue, and the stakes might not just be a game reboot. The quick pick for conspiracy theory fans gives teens just enough setting for their imaginations to run wild while keeping the pacing quick for reluctant readers. There is just enough character building for an average action novel to keep readers plugged into the drama and enough dangling digital ethics threads to keep gamer geeks interested. Fans of M.T. Anderson's Feed, James Dashner's The Eye of Minds, Cory Doctorow's Little Brother, and Mary E. Pearson's The Adoration of Jenna Fox won't want to leave Otherworld either.
VERDICT Purchase where fast-paced sci-fi thrillers are popular.

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