In Real Life
By Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang
Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role-playing game where she spends most of her free time. 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.
From acclaimed teen author (Little Brother, For the Win) and Boing Boing editor Cory Doctorow and Koko Be Good creator Jen Wang, In Real Life is a perceptive and high-stakes look at adolescence, gaming, poverty, and culture clash.
In Real Life follows Anda as she begins to experience an online game. She is instantly in love with the world and wants to be a part of a guild more than anything. However Guild life may not be everything its cracked up to be as the desire to belong and the desire to do the right thing clash and it begins to get more difficult for Anda within and out of the game.
Anda as a character seemed to embody many of the gamer teens, in that she is expierencing a desire to try somthing new online but has parents that do not quite understand the world of the online game. I liked how she was represented as well as her interactions with her mother who was a bit more clueless about online games but at the heart of it wanted to keep her daughter safe.
I really enjoyed the art style between the game and the real world and how the characters were more vivid in the game.
The overall message of the story was one that I feel is important, especially when the online platform is one that more and more teens and tweens are exposed to.
Ease of reading: 10/10
Character Development: 7/10
World Building: 7/10
Quality of Writing: 7/10