The Ruby Code

Scholastic. Jun. 2023. 304p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781338859287.
Gr 3-7–Khoury’s latest is an exciting cyber-thriller along the lines of Ready Player One and War Games. This is the story of 13-year-old Ash who is drawn to the virtual world since, in real life, he has an abusive stepfather and school bullies. Ash’s adventure begins when one night, on his way back from a video arcade, he helps a person on the street in need. In thanks, the man gives him a gift of a small metal box. It holds a retro-style video game called The Glass Realm, an old fantasy role-playing game. During gameplay, he meets a seemingly unassuming side character named Ruby. But as Ash delves further into The Glass Realm, he realizes it is more than it seems, and Ruby is more than just a small character; she can actually rewrite the game. Hakeem, Ash’s good friend, worries that Ash is becoming a zombie virtual reality addict, but Ash is more worried that the virtual reality is the reality. Readers will be enticed by this sci-fi thriller, which is action-packed and full of interesting, diverse characters. Khoury’s intuitive gamer sense permeates these pages.
VERDICT Video game fans will love this book. Recommended for juvenile sci-fi collections.

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