“SADIE MIRANDA GREEN. YOU HAVE DIED OF DYSENTERY!”
Sam Masur yells across a crowded subway platform to get the attention of a girl he once knew a long time ago, when they were both in hospital. He was recovering very slowly from a bad car accident and she at first because her sister was sick, then later for community service hours for time spent with Sam.
Sadie is studying video game design at MIT and Sam is a math student at Harvard. They work together on a game called Ichigo, which turns out to be a hit, and this kicks off their successful gaming work together, along with Sam’s roommate, Marx, an acting student who’s talent, it turns out, is as a video game producer.
Despite not knowing what the story was about when I started it, I loved this book. This was a love letter to video games. But it was also about the struggle of being a woman in the male-dominated video game world, disability, issues of cultural appropriation etc. Sam and Sadie were great, flawed characters. Their relationship which would often blow up from time to time, but I just couldn’t help but root for them.
“If this were a game, he could hit pause. He could restart, say different things, the right ones this time. He could search his inventory for the item that would make Sadie not leave.”
Zevin made the design and creation of a video game so absorbing and immersive that I wanted to be part of it. But it’s really due to the strength of her storytelling and character building that ties it all together. And she has created this brilliant, layered story that kept me going through these 401 pages and even wanting more.
I have to admit that I probably have too many games on my phone/tablet. I check in with In The Seom every day. I tried to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons on the kids’ Nintendo switch but decided that I would rather play the Pocket Camp version on my phone. I recently started playing Cookie Run Kingdom because of the BTS tie-up. Since my kids started playing that too, it’s a game the three of us play together. So while I can’t deal with the other games they love (Minecraft, Roblox etc), I kinda like playing Cookie Run Kingdom with them (they only get to play on Fridays and the weekends though!). Of course, as a parent, I can’t help but wonder about the effects of video games on their young minds. But that’s another discussion for another time. Do you play video games? What are your favourites?