– Cory Doctorow, Jen Wang
Published: 2014, First Second
Genres: Graphic Novel, YA
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.
This is the first graphic novel that I’ve read, and I think it was definitely a good place to start!
I thought the story was lovely, and as I was reading I forgot that it was made up of just images and very little writing – the story just flowed so well. I was completely immersed into it, and read it in a couple of (split up!) hours. I actually stopped reading at around half way because I wanted it to last longer, but then couldn’t resist and picked it up again a couple of hours later!
Anda was definitely likeable, and I loved to see how she grew into her own person throughout the story. There wasn’t much about her actual life in there, but I guess it worked because it was purely about an online game. I’m not really a gamer (Sims 4?) but I really enjoyed the whole premise behind this book. It made me want to play something like Coarsegold…
I think the one downside for me is that when we got to the big ‘action’ in the story, it just seemed to move so fast. I would have liked to see more on that and what happened – and for the story to just be a little longer!
Finally, the illustrations = perfect. I really enjoyed looking at them whilst reading. I’ve shown a couple of examples just because they’re gorgeous – just look at the colours! I think this style of drawing really fit the story.
My Rating – To see my book review rating guide click here.