Cure for the Common Universe

Christian McKay Heidicker. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4814-5027-0
Heidicker's debut offers a realistic portrayal of the difficulty of overcoming addiction, whether it involves controlled substances or video-game controllers. Jaxon, 16, is addicted to an MMORPG; as his health and social life suffer, his father forces him into video-game rehab, but the timing couldn't be worse: Jaxon has just scored his first date. Desperate to get out of "V-hab" in time to meet Serena in just a few days, Jaxon must work through a series of game-like challenges to earn enough points to be discharged. The snarky, expletive-prone banter between Jaxon and his compatriots is both believable and an easy hook for readers who might typically prefer World of Warcraft to novels. But where the novel really shines is in Jaxon's interactions—as a white, upper-middle-class boy—with campmates who are diverse in terms of both ethnicity and sexuality, and who challenge some of his preexisting assumptions. In confronting Jaxon's privilege and complicated family history, the book eschews easy answers for a more authentic ending that promises that the work of self-improvement is ongoing and difficult. Ages 14–up. Agent: John Cusick, Folio Literary Management. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/30/2016
Release date: 06/14/2016
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-4814-5028-7
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4814-5029-4
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