Tag Archive | games

N is THE NO-GIRLFRIEND RULE – when his game is closed to her, she finds a better one! by Christen Randall (YA book review) #A2Z

book cover of The No-Girlfriend Rule, by Christen Randall. Atheneum/S&S

Banned from the tabletop game he plays with his buddies.
Stay home or master the game and change their minds?

To show Chris she’s a great girlfriend, Hollis is determined to learn how to play Secrets & Sorcery RPG.

After an icky experience at their local games shop, the Kentucky teen spots a notice that new players are welcomed to an all-girls S&S group.

And so it is that Hollis (artistic, fat, usually broke) meets Gloria (their Secret Keeper, Colombian-American, curvy) and her preteen sister Fran (live-wire, gonna be a barbarian!!!), Aini (vibrant, cool, haircolor changes often), Maggie (blonde, social media star, also new) and Iffy (black, trans, involved in everything at school).

During the first session, they welcome both newcomers warmly, help Hollis refine her character as an armor-graced paladin with healing skill, and appreciate her cupcake mastery.

Every Friday night, Hollis carpools to Gloria and Fran’s house just across the river in Ohio, enjoying the twists and turns that their Secret Keeper adds to the game and how well their characters are developing together.

Hollis vividly sees each character in her mind, sketching them often, adding colors and metallic highlights – her rendition of Aini’s bard may be the best.

Riding with Aini to game night, dressing up as their characters for the fall festival, buying new game dice with Aini’s advice – so much better than being just-tolerated at school by Chris’s game bros.

The intricate storyline of their long S&S quest is revealed week by week, as Hollis endures her senior year, might pass history with Iffy’s tutoring, and realizes how she likes being with Aini.

How have shared interests brought together a group in your life?
**kmm

Book info: The No-Girlfriend Rule / Christen Randall. Atheneum/S&S, 2024. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Get THE JUMP on invading oil company! by Brittney Morris (YA book review)

book cover of The Jump, by Brittney Morris. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

They know Seattle, street by street, edge to edge, even belowground. No one is better at digital scavenger-hunting than Team JERICHO.

Jax, cryptologist, Black vegan – why should the community garden his parents founded be replaced by an Roundworld oil refinery?

Yas, parkourist, gay hijabi – her father’s Pakistani-American convenience store is losing business to Roundworld’s HQ cafeteria.

Spider, tech-whiz, social justice warrior – thankful that Mom and her Korean restaurant staff support his transitioning.

Han, cartographer, autistic – brother working for Roundworld, Dad’s livelihood threatened by its pipeline.

When “The Order” posts a puzzle whose prize is “power” during protests against Roundworld, JERICHO decides to accept the challenge!

Can they solve The Order’s puzzle before Team Royal?
Will it allow the teens to stop Roundworld from placing an oil refinery in their neighborhood?
What does “the game is anarchy” in The Order’s first clue really mean?

The four long-time friends take turns telling this complex tale of clues, loyalties, greed, and consequences.

By the author of The Cost of Knowing, recommended here.

How are you reacting against injustice near you?
**kmm

Book info: The Jump / Brittney Morris. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Just a little fun for Kenyan boys or PLAYING A DANGEROUS GAME? by Patrick Ochieng (MG book review)

book cover of laying a Dangerous Game, by Patrick Ochieng. Published by  Accord Books /Norton Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

His baba has been promoted by the Railway, so now 10-year-old Lumush and little sister Awino can attend the Hill School, a big step up from their neighborhood school in 1970s Kenya.

More homework, less time to hang out by that old rusted car with his buddies, playing pata potea or dreaming up stunts to do – Mama is so happy this opportunity has finally come.

But everyone at Hill School except Lillian treats him with suspicion, his friends think he’ll become stuck up, and cute Nijah frets that he’ll get distracted by the Hill girls.

Ripe zambarau fruits tempt the boys to climb the tree at the ghost house; a dare sends them back at night to spy on the ghosts of the white woman and her daughter who died there!

The friends hear all the gossip as they ramble the neighborhood – medicine stolen from the dispensary, bags of coffee beans disappearing from railway cars, a delivery lorry stolen.

What will the thieves target next?
Do ghosts always smell like cigarette smoke?
What’s hiding in the junkyard?

Wander the Railway Estates with Lumush and his friends as they try to solve the ghost house mystery without becoming ghosts themselves!

Lumush tries to be a good Hill School student and also a good friend to his buddies as their manhood ceremonies approach, holding onto good times in the neighborhood even as his parents and teachers insist that his school success now will determine his entire future.

What landmark in your town has ghosts?
**kmm

Book info: Playing a Dangerous Game / Patrick Ochieng. Accord Books /Norton Young Readers, 2021. [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

The death of the QUEEN OF THE TILES was no accident?! by Hanna Alkaf (YA book review)

book cover of Queen of the Tiles, by Hanna Alkaf. Published by Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Same tournament,
same competitors,
who wished her dead?

Maybe making her re-entry into the cutthroat world of teen Scrabble competition at this venue was a mistake. But after a lonely year, coming to the last place that Najwa saw her best friend Trina alive seems fitting somehow.

Trina’s gameplay was stunningly brilliant, her popularity off the charts – why the wealthy girl befriended quiet Najwa when she changed schools was a mystery.

Everyone (else) is here at the Malaysian hotel – Trina’s on-and-off boyfriend Mark, socially inept Josh, fidgety Emily (cheating scandal, yah), Singapore Ben and his hover-mother, Yasmin who knew Trina as a child… plus two annoying young players making a tribute documentary about Trina.

Najwa’s roommate this weekend is Puteri, Mark’s ex-girlfriend before Trina – no happy late-night chatfests with her fellow hijabi this weekend!

When Trina’s dormant Instagram account suddenly posts Scrabble tile photos that spell out clues, Najwa and companions begin wondering if Trina’s death during her final game with Josh was really accidental.

Pushing past grief and panic attacks, Najwa wants to win the tournament in memory of her best friend and find answers, even if asking questions puts her in danger, too.

Trina was “easy to love and easy to hate” – which emotion led to her demise?

Peppered with high-scoring Scrabble words, definitions, and anagrams, Najwa’s journey to win this tournament as she recreates Trina’s last moments makes for a high-stakes mystery!

What’s your favorite word game?
**kmm

Book info: Queen of the Tiles / Hanna Alkaf. Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

F is Florida & friendship for ABBY, TRIED AND TRUE, through so many difficult life changes, by Donna Gephart (MG book review) #A2Z

book cover of Abby, Tried and True, by Donna Gephart. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Best friend moving away,
big brother so sick,
seventh grade ahead…sigh.

Honestly, shy Abby doesn’t know how she’ll get over her lifelong friend Cat moving from Florida all the way to Israel. She does know that she’ll write in the journal that Cat gave her, this summer when she’s turning twelve (Fudge is a very good pet turtle, but their conversations are very one-sided).

Her 16-year-old brother Paul will play Monopoly with her (when he’s not practicing basketball with his buddies), Mom Rachel will keep inviting Abby to make cooking videos with her and Paul (nope, too shy to get in front of the camera), and Mama Dee’s sweet treats from her bakery make everyone feel better (but not Abby, this time).

Hmmm… who’s this boy moving into Cat’s house? Maybe she can be brave and meet him… Conrad, whose mom is renting the house after her divorce. He’s in her grade, good at basketball and board games and listening.

Paul comes back from summer camp so sick. Oh no…. cancer! After the going-away party for his cancerous testicle (boys are so weird), he’ll have surgery and start chemo. That means he’ll miss lots of school; it doesn’t mean his friends should stay away.

Seventh grade begins, and Abby is glad that Conrad is there so she doesn’t have to walk home alone with her worries (will they celebrate the Jewish high holidays in the hospital or at home?).

Many difficult days ahead for Abby’s family – she’s really, really glad to have Conrad by her side… maybe more than glad.

Available in paperback this week – find Abby at your your local library or independent bookstore.

When have your friends supported you through tough times?
**kmm

Book info: Abby, Tried and True / Donna Gephart. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2021, paperback 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

ALEXIS VS SUMMER VACATION – all work & no fun? by Sarah Jamila Stevenson & Veronica Agarwal (MG Graphic novel review)

book cover of Alexis vs Summer Vacation, by Sarah Jamila Stevenson; illustrated by Veronica Agarwal. Published by Avenue A Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

School’s out!
Time for summer fun!
Or not so fun…

Alexis is dreading this summer before high school with BFF Lara gone to adventure camp for six weeks, the others in their G&G gaming group traveling away with family… and she’s stuck here, babysitting her little brother and sister for free!

So many changes since her parents divorced recently that the 14-year-old isn’t sure about what she wants to do with her future anymore, likes guys and gals but can’t summon the courage to talk to the girl she has a crush on… sigh.

Mom gets them pool passes so finally they can hang out with other kids. Alexis sees some classmates there and discovers they’re all going to the same high school… even that bully Mack.

Jason works with his dad in their Japanese fusion food truck, and Luke is in lifeguard training, but they both get time off so Alexis introduces them to Goblins & Gauntlets, her favorite role-playing game.

If only Mack would quit picking on Jason, and Luke’s perfect big brother would quit singling him out during exercises, and Alexis would quit stalling and actually go talk to Hayley…

Can the friends level themselves up, as well as their G&G characters?
Will Lara still be her BFF after all summer away?
What if Hayley won’t even talk to Alexis?

This graphic novel takes us through Alexis’ eventful/boring summer as she discovers more about herself with the help of new friends and her much-loved G&G game.

What’s your favorite game to play with friends?
**kmm

Book info: Alexis vs Summer Vacation / Sarah Jamila Stevenson; illustrated by Veronica Agarwal. Avenue A Books, 2019. [author site] [artist site] [publisher site] Personal collection; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Computer game, deadly peril – what are The Lost Tribes? by C. Taylor-Butler (book review)

book cover of Lost Tribes, by C. Taylor-Butler, published by Move Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comHe dreams of NBA fame,
not math or astronomy,
but suddenly, he must use every skill…to stay alive!

When an explosion hits their neighborhood, young teens must get over old disagreements and pool their talents so they can escape the danger and find their parents, using a new computer game that calls into question everything they ‘know’ about their families and themselves.

Ask for this 2015 release and its sequel, The Lost Tribes: Safe Harbor, at your local library or favorite independent bookstore for Multicultural Children’s Book Day (I’m participating for my fifth year) or any day, as you #readyourworld.

Would you run for safety or stay to find your family?
**kmm

Book info: The Lost Tribes (Lost Tribes, book 1) / C. Taylor-Butler; illustrated by Patrick Arrasmith. Move Books, 2015. [author site]  [illustrator site] [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy from author for MultiCultural Children’s Book Day 2018; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Life on their boring California street explodes into adventure as Ben and his friends work together on an amazing quest computer game, just before all their parents go missing!

Ben and younger sister April seize Uncle Henry’s challenge to solve the game in one week, bringing in neighbors Carlos (great at programming, bad at basketball), Grace (best friend since kindergarten, even if she’s a girl), and Serise (codebreaker deluxe, super snob) as the 3D interactive missions invite them to “find 8 keys” all over the world.

The five encounter puzzles and codes and stinky bird poop (almost as bad as the goopy smoothies Mom makes Ben and April drink) in Egypt, Easter Island, China – it’s so real!

But their parents are acting weirder than usual, a huge satellite dish appears near Carlos’ house then vanishes, and a nighttime attack sends all the families fleeing, kids separated from the adults!

Can the game help the teens get to the “harbor of safety” in reality?
Who would target their easy-going scientist and doctor parents with bombs?
What did Uncle Henry mean about “introducing them to the family business”?

This first book in the Lost Tribes series takes readers on a wide-ranging adventure as the five youths of different cultural backgrounds must use their individual talents together to keep the universe in balance.
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Multicultural Children’s Book Day (27 Jan 2018) is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom.

Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

MCBD 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. View our 2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors here: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/2106-sponsors/mcbd2018-medallion-level-sponsors/ View our 2018 MCBD Author Sponsors here: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/2106-sponsors/2018-author-sponsors/

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/about/co-hosts/

Can they escape The Gauntlet’s deadly game of blood and sand? by Karuna Riazi (book review)

book cover of The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi published by Salaam Reads | recommended on BooksYALove.comAn old board game comes to life,
little brother rushes in and vanishes!
All puzzles must be solved to rescue him…

Although that wooden box looks like an outdated game, the dangers of entering “the Gauntlet of Blood and Sand” are very real – but how else can Farah get Ahmad back?

True friends Alex and Essie go with her – not the birthday party that any of them expected!

How far would you go to help your best friend?
**kmm

Book info: The Gauntlet / Karuna Riazi. Salaam Reads, 2017. [author Twitter]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Escaping her 12th birthday party for just a moment to open her aunt’s gift, Farah and her best friends find themselves transported from New York into an exotic board game that they must win in order to find her little brother Ahmad and to stay alive!

A good Bangladeshi girl would welcome her new classmates to the party, but Farah would rather play games with little brother Ahmad (letting him win keeps his ADHD tantrums to a minimum – a Mirza family rule).

Quietly creeping upstairs with Alex and Essie from her old neighborhood, Farah unwraps “The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand” and the ancient-looking game comes to life. Ahmad vanishes into the gameboard, just as Aunt Zohra says that it ruined her life at age 12!

Of course, Farah, Alex, and Essie must play the game to save him, but if they don’t solve each puzzle in time, none of them will escape the Gauntlet.

Who can they trust in the souk marketplace?
What otherworldly perils will the teammates face next?
How will they find Ahmad in this multi-level city made of sand?

A lifetime of playing board games may help Farah, Essie, and Alex outwit the Architect’s deadly puzzle challenges – if he doesn’t cheat! (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

How is videogame rehab a Cure for the Common Universe? by Christian McKay Heidicker (book review)

book cover of Cure for the Common Universe by Christian McKay Heidicker published by Simon Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.com Plays videogames more hours than any full-time job,
Sees sunlight on alternate Thursdays (maybe),
Why would they send him to game-addiction rehab?

And just minutes after Jaxon meets a real, breathing teen girl who agrees to go out with him! Quick – how can he level up and prove that he’s cured and get to that date?!

Read an excerpt here, courtesy of the publisher, then go find your own Cure for the Common Universe at a local library or independent bookstore – just out in paperback this month!

What’ll they throw you into rehab for??
**kmm

Book info: Cure for the Common Universe / Christian McKay Heidicker. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2016, paperback 2017. [author site] [publisher site] [author video] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Banished to a rehab center for videogame addicts, 16 year old Jaxon is desperate to escape in time for his first-ever date with a girl in the real world, but earning his way out could involve actually talking about being abandoned by Mom – no other way to level up?!

Not his fault that his parents divorced when he was just 8 or that his mom’s addictions always make her forget he’s coming to visit or that he is escaping from his stepmother’s perfectionism by living in the videogames that he so loved playing with Mom…

Hustled away to the desert rehab center, Jaxon meets teens who truly are videogame addicts (he isn’t, just likes playing them 60 hours a week in summer) and tries to figure out how he can get back to Salt Lake City in just four days so he can meet Serena (no cellphone, no FaceBook) for their date (first date, first girl who laughed with him instead of at him).

Doing chores earns points, doing dumb stuff loses points for you and your guild (yep, using different names and being in guilds is not like gaming at all – ha!).

Earn enough points, and you can go home from v-hab (again, not at all like gaming – ha!)

But no one in the whole two-month history of Horizons has earned their way out in just 4 days – and that’s what Jaxon has to do, if he wants to see Serena… (was any gaming reward worth this much??)

Soup, Aurora, Meeki, Zxzord, and Fezzik want to help their guildmate get to that golden date with Serena, but he’ll have to see beyond his own limitations first.

Lois Lane: Fallout, by Gwenda Bond (book review) – Metropolis, new reporter, online dangers

book cover of Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond published by Switch PressStay out of trouble,
don’t get involved…
when a friend is being bullied?
Yeah, right.

Lois Lane is a born investigator, and her Army dad’s latest move puts her into a virtual reality mystery at her newest school – yes, that Lois Lane and the Daily Planet  and an online-only friend who calls himself SmallvilleGuy.

Read the free prequel short stories here (look below the book cover on left), then head to your local library or independent bookstore to get Lois Lane: Fallout.

When have you stood up against bullying?
**kmm

Book info: Lois Lane: Fallout (Lois Lane, book 1) / Gwenda Bond. Switch Press/Capstone, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Unnerved by the tech gang at her newest school, fledgling reporter Lois investigates its hush-hush ‘field trips’ and uncovers dangers that her online pal SmallvilleGuy and her Army general father can’t ignore.

She promised herself to fly under the radar at Metropolis High, but Lois can’t stand bullies. The Warheads move in unison, finish each other’s sentences, and work on a special virtual reality project off-campus. Now, they want to ‘assimilate’ computer whiz Anavi who feels them pressing on her mind.

Recruited by editor Perry White for the Daily Planet’s new teen reporting team, Lois investigates the Warheads, finding weird connections between the principal and a local research lab.

While new friends on the Scoop team back her up during her research, her online friend SmallvilleGuy (who is he, really?) warns Lois about ARL and its virtual reality plans.

Can Lois keep Anavi safe from The Warheads?
Are their minds truly connected?
Will she ever meet SmallvilleGuy outside the virtual reality game worlds?

A smart and subtle prequel to the Superman saga that we all know so well, Lois Lane: Fallout  balances high-tech gone wrong with friendship done right.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)