Saturday, April 18, 2009
GAMER GIRL by Mari Mancusi
Maddy Starr's world has come to an end. Her parents just divorced, and now she's living with her mother and her 8 year old sister in the unicorn-infested house of her grandmother. Yikes! Could it possibly get any worse?
Yep, it can get worse. On her first day at her new high school, Maddy is humiliated. As she's about to leave for school, her grandmother declares she will not allow her granddaughter to go to school looking like "a dead prostitute." When Maddy protests that this is her style and she has nothing else to wear, her grandmother promptly hands over something of her very own wardrobe - grandma-style jeans and a sweatshirt adorned with sparkling unicorns. OMG!
It doesn't take Maddy long to figure out that school is not going to be like it was back in Boston. Arriving in a unicorn sweatshirt is bad enough, but she quickly becomes the victim of a group of popular kids she dubs "the Haters." Lucy, Chelsea, Chad, and the biggest bully, Billy, pretty much consider it their job to make life miserable for Maddy.
One bright spot in an otherwise dark world, is the birthday gift Maddy gets from her dad. He gives her a subscription to an online fantasy game called Fields of Fantasy. She has watched him play the game for years and has always dreamed of joining as a real gamer. The game is fun to play and gives her some great inspiration for the manga drawings she enjoys creating. An added bonus comes in the form of an online friendship she develops while playing. Even if everyone at her new school hates her, at least Sir Leo seems to appreciate and understand her online character, Allora.
GAMER GIRL offers readers a look at popular online gaming, the increasingly popular genre of manga, and a glimpse of the frustration of fitting in and dealing with bullies. Mancusi has created a fast-paced story that will surely interest teen readers. They'll not only be able to relate to the characters, but also be encouraged to explore their own talents and be themselves.