In Real Life
In Real Life
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Annotation: Immersing herself in an online fantasy game, Anda confronts a difficult choice when she befriends a disadvantaged Chinese child who illegally collects rare items in the game and sells them to other players.
Catalog Number: #153061
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
Special Formats: Graphic Novel Graphic Novel
Publisher: Square Fish
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 175 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-250-14428-0 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-0061-5
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-250-14428-7 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-0061-0
Dewey: Fic
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Anda begins playing Coarsegold Online, a massive multiplayer game, after a gamer specifically looking for girls to play as female characters visits her school. Immediately adept at the game, Anda meets a player who tells her she can make money by killing characters farming for gold. These farmers sell gold to players, allowing them to essentially cheat at the game by quickly buying items they have not earned. Anda meets Raymond, a Chinese teen who works as a gold farmer. She learns about his real lifehe works long days and has no health coverage. She encourages him to demand health care or strike, a choice that ends up having real-world ramifications. The narrative toggles between the in-game story and real life. The illustrations of the game are vibrant and dynamic, contrasting well with the muted browns and drab greens of Anda's reality. A detailed introduction by Doctorow about games, economics, politics, and activism serves to ensure readers "get" the story. The author attempts to tackle these large issues and others (like gender and privilege) but only does so superficially. The writing can feel heavy-handed, with the message overpowering Anda's voice. The problematic notion of a white character speaking for and trying to save minority characters (that all look identical) is addressed, but the too tidy ending makes that issue, and many others, feel oversimplified. The subject matter will have a built-in audience, and the appealing artwork will move this off the shelves, but readers may ultimately find the story unsatisfying. Amanda MacGregor, formerly at Apollo High School Library, St. Cloud, MN
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* While in programming class, Anda is invited to join a girls-only fighting guild in a new MMORPG, and she jumps at the chance. Soon, she's recruited by another player for paid missions to exterminate gold farmers, low-level players who use the game for profit. It all seems like good, honest fun until she talks to one gold farmer, Raymond, a teen in China who is also playing the game, but for him, it's a job, and his working conditions are unsafe. Anda encourages Raymond to foment a strike, but it doesn't go well. Guilt-ridden, she attempts to find other ways to help, and she becomes more in tune with global injustice and labor issues in the process. Doctorow's story brilliantly ties together real-world economic and labor issues in the context of an online game, and he emphasizes the implications of actions taken in the gaming world that many players may take for granted. Wang's gorgeous, jewel-toned panels give lively, expressive shape to both chubby Anda's real life in Colorado and the fantastical battles in the game. The combination of girls-only gaming; gorgeous, stylized artwork; and a meaningful, sophisticated message about online gaming makes this a surefire hit for readers everywhere, especially girls.
Word Count: 5,902
Reading Level: 3.3
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.3 / points: 1.0 / quiz: 168465 / grade: Middle Grades+
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.3 / points:4.0 / quiz:Q67707
Lexile: GN390L

From acclaimed teen author Cory Doctorow and rising star cartoonist Jen Wang comes a New York Times -bestselling graphic novel that takes a sensitive, thoughtful look at adolescence, gaming, poverty, and culture-clash. "A lovely graphic novel for gamer girls of all ages." --Felicia Day 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. Gaming is, for Anda, entirely a good thing. 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. In Real Life is a touching and morally complex tale for young adults. This title has common Core connections. Praise for In Real Life "Ultimately, Doctorow and Wang want us to consider what it means to be part of groups that hate other groups, and how technology and persistence can help us overcome such barriers. . . . In Real Life is a powerful narrative." -- The New York Times Book Review " In Real Life is an exciting and heartfelt exploration of video-gaming and global economics that features a capable and caring protagonist. Both Anda and her online avatar are depicted as smart, competent, and ultimately kind. Jen Wang's dynamic layouts clearly convey the story and give momentum to the action scenes. Doctorow's plot emphasizes that collective action can lead to better working conditions and that the Internet can be a powerful tool for good." -- Common Sense Media "Smart and funny." --Slate "Online gaming and real life collide when a teen discovers the hidden economies and injustices that hide among seemingly innocent pixels . . . Through Wong's captivating illustrations and Doctorow's heady prose, readers are left with a story that's both wholly satisfying as a work of fiction and series food for thought about the real-life ramifications of playing in an intangible world. Thought-provoking, as always from Doctorow." -- Kirkus Reviews "The combination of girls-only gaming; gorgeous, stylized artwork; and a meaningful, sophisticated message about online gaming makes this a surefire hit for readers everywhere, especially girls." -- Booklist , starred review "Stunning artwork . . . An educational introduction offers further insight into gaming and the economies and political implications behind them." -- The Bulletin "The illustrations of the game are vibrant and dynamic . . . The subject matter will have a built-in audience, and the appealing artwork will move this off the shelves." -- School Library Journal "Characters come to life through Wang's ( Koko Be Good ) fluid forms and emotive faces, and her adroit shift in colors as the story moves between the physical and gaming worlds is subtle and effective." -- Publishers Weekly

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