Once Upon a Bookshelf – “Warcross”

Warcross (Warcross, #1)Warcross by Marie Lu

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you are a fan of “The Hunger Games” and “Ready Player One,” this book is a dream come true for you. It has espionage, gaming, technology, love, relationships, teamwork, and a little bit of backstabbing.

WARNING: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD!

Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. Struggling to make ends meet after her father died, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the International Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation – something she didn’t even realize she could do.

The next day, Emika is shocked when she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem and he wants Emika for the job. After getting drafted to play in the game for the Phoenix Riders as an architect and finds out she’s actually pretty good at it. Her relationships with her teammates are torn when they find out about her relationship with Hideo (they know the romantic side, not the business side) and her mission is almost a disaster.

What she comes to find out about the creator and her love interest breaks her apart. Does she have the strength to follow through?

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Once Upon a Bookshelf – See You in the Cosmos

See You in the CosmosSee You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

11-year-old Alex Petroski loves space and rockets, his mom, his brother, and his dog Carl Sagan—named for his hero, the real-life astronomer. His current project involves documenting his life on Earth so he can launch his voice recordings into space with the hopes that an alien life form will find it. With his story starting in Colorado and moving to New Mexico, trekking to Los Angeles and finally ending up back home, he meets new friends and learns new things about the world and himself.

WARNING: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD!

What I love about this book is that it is so much more than an adventure story. Sure, Alex travels by himself and builds a super cool rocket with hopes of it making it to space – that’s quite an adventure by itself. But it also showed that an adventure can lead you to so much more. While he doesn’t know it at first, his trip leads him to uncover the truth about his dad that he thought was dead and meeting his half-sister. It started out as an attempt to share his story with people outside of this world and ended with him learning even more about his own story.

All along, I was worried about Alex. With how his mother is described, I knew that she was battling some type of depression and whether or not Alex actually knew that was heartbreaking. With a kids with as much spunk as Alex and such big dreams, it makes it impossible not to root for him and hope that everything turns out. I was so emotionally involved in this story that I couldn’t even think about what would have happened if things didn’t work out like I wanted them to (you know, when you know what needs to happen better than the author does).

Something that drew me to this book was the title, though. As a amateur astronomer myself, there was no way that I could pass this book up. Seeing a kid that is only 11 and with such a deep interest in something so vast and unknown as the universe made me believe that there is hope for the future. If Alex can be so focused on his life on Earth and learning about people outside of it, the world has nowhere to go but up.

I rated this book 5/5

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