cover image In Real Life

In Real Life

Cory Doctorow, illus. by Jen Wang. First Second, $17.99 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-1-59643-658-9

In a heartfelt and of-the-moment story, Doctorow draws on his technology acumen and activism to portray the intricacies of 21st-century global citizenry, while also touching on what it means to be a gamer (particularly a female one). After joining the massively multiplayer online game Coarsegold, Arizona high schooler Anda meets Raymond, a boy from China who works as a “gold farmer,” collecting in-game resources to be sold for real-world cash (a concept Doctorow explored in-depth in 2010’s For the Win). Initially, Anda is led to believe that Raymond and his ilk are corrupting the game, but after she discovers their tenuous economic circumstances and poor living conditions, she begins urging Raymond to demand better treatment. It’s a noble cause, but it comes with potential consequences for both Raymond and Anda. Characters come to life through Wang’s (Koko Be Good) fluid forms and emotive faces, and her adroit shift in colors as the story moves between the physical and gaming worlds is subtle and effective. Ages 12–up. Author’s agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency. (Oct.)