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Author: Rosen, Lev AC
Twelve-year-old Nick gets lost in the multiplayer online game Wellhall to escape from his mother's early Alzheimer's diagnosis, which he believes to be a mistaken diagnosis. As the character Severkin in the game he finds himself fighting alongside an older gray elf who reminds him of someone in real life who he thought he had lost, leading to the collision of both his fantasy world and his real life.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.00
Points: 15.0 Quiz: 185146
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 19.0 Quiz: 71912
Kirkus Reviews (06/15/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (07/16)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 07/01/2016 Twelve-year-old Nick doesn’t believe that his mother really has early-onset Alzheimer’s, and after she moves to an assisted-living facility he seeks refuge in the online role-playing fantasy game that he and his mom used to play together. In the game, he finds himself playing alongside a character who reminds him of his mother, and he becomes convinced that his misdiagnosed mom is playing the character and asking for his help. Meanwhile, at school, a history class project gives him the opportunity to research his family, and biracial Nick chooses his mother’s German heritage over his father’s African-American one. Now with the game and his homework as cover, and a new game-playing friend at his side, Nick takes up the quest to uncover his mom’s secret illness and save his family. Between a devastating illness, an online quest, family history, and school-based drama, there’s a lot going on here, but the novel weaves the various threads into an engrossing whole. The dual narrative, half Nick’s real life, half the fantasy journey of his elven avatar Severkin, offers two equally compelling storylines and broadens reader appeal. The connections between the narratives create space for thoughtful, open discourse on race, family, and identity that give the novel added depth and resonance. Overall, it’s a lovely, heartwarming story of a young man negotiating personal crisis with the help of games, friends, and family, perfect for readers who appreciate a blend of fantasy and realism. AM - Copyright 2016 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.