Are you addicted to video games? Do you hunger for adventure and the satisfaction of completing a quest? Do you relish the excitement of playing through a story and not knowing what will happen next? Did you know you can get the same thrill from books? Okay, maybe it’s not exactly the same, but it’s a good way to enjoy worldbuilding and game-centered plots while your fingers recover from battling the latest big boss. If you’re looking to expand your love of video games into worlds both fictional and virtual, try one of these teen video game books.
Girl Gone Viral
By Arvin Ahmadi
For Opal Hopper, code is magic. She can build entire worlds from scratch—but she can’t code her dad back into her life. When he disappeared after her tenth birthday, Opal tried desperately to find him. Now she’s enrolled at a boarding school for technical prodigies, and WAVE, the world’s biggest virtual reality platform, has announced a contest where the winner gets to meet its billionaire founder. The same billionaire who worked closely with Opal’s dad. The one she always believed might know where he went. The one who maybe even murdered him. As what begins as a small data hack to win the contest spirals out of control, how far will Opal go for the answers she’s wanted for years?
By Vivian Vande Velde
14-year-old Arvin and his friends risk using a computer-controlled role-playing game to simulate a magical world in which they actually become fantasy characters, even though the computer program is a pirated one containing unpredictable errors.
In Real Life
By Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang
Teen Graphic Novel
Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role-playing game that she spends most of her free time on. It’s a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It’s a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends. But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer—a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn. This behavior is strictly against the rules in Coarsegold, but Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person’s real livelihood is at stake.
By Brittney Morris
An honors student at Jefferson Academy, seventeen-year-old Keira enjoys developing and playing Slay, a secret, multiplayer online role-playing game celebrating black culture, until the two worlds collide.
The Eye of Minds
By James Dashner
Michael is a skilled internet gamer in a world of advanced technology. When a cyber-terrorist begins to threaten players, Michael is called upon to seek him and his secrets out.
Guy in Real Life
By Steve Brezenoff
An achingly real and profoundly moving love story about two Minnesota teens whose lives become intertwined through school, role-playing games, and a chance two-a.m. bike accident.
These Deadly Games
By Diana Urban
Soon after receiving an anonymous message stating that she has 24 hours to play a game by the sender’s rules or he will kill her sister, 16-year-old Crystal Donovan realizes that cooperating will destroy her friends’ lives and she must figure out a way to beat the kidnapper at his own game before she loses everything.