Hi guys! Today I have for you an ARC review, and this was one of the first ARCs that I was ever sent! Woo hoo! I hope you enjoy it! Today also marks the start of my first full week at school, so what better to celebrate than a book that explores the reality of life after high school!
About the Book:
Buffy is playing a game. However, the game is her life, and there are no instructions or cheat codes on how to win.
After graduating high school, a voice called “the text parser” emerges in Buffy’s head, narrating her life as a classic text adventure game. Buffy figures this is just a manifestation of her shy, awkward, nerdy nature—until the voice doesn’t go away, and instead begins to dominate her thoughts, telling her how to life her life. Though Buffy tries to beat the game, crash it, and even restart it, it becomes clear that this game is not something she can simply “shut off” or beat without the text parser’s help.
While the text parser tries to give Buffy advice on how “to win the game,” Buffy decides to pursue her own game-plan: start over, make new friends, and win her long-time crush Tristan’s heart. But even when Buffy gets the guy of her dreams, the game doesn’t stop. In fact, it gets worse than she could’ve ever imagined: her crumbling group of friends fall apart, her roommate turns against her, and Buffy finds herself trying to survive in a game built off her greatest nightmares.
Disclaimer: I received a free physical ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I also received some swag outside of the trade agreement. These will not affect my review.
Overall Thoughts: This is probably one of the most creative books I have ever read. From Buffy’s mental illness portrayed as a text adventure to the format itself like a text adventure, it definitely would stick out over other books. Now, I had really high expectations, but this book just didn’t click with me. I did not enjoy it as much as I wanted to or thought I would, unfortunately. I really wanted to love it, but I have to be honest that I didn’t.
Unique Format: Now the format is probably the most interesting and out-of-the-box I have ever read. This is a lot like a text adventure game where the narrator is the “text parser” whose narrating Buffy’s life in a second-person POC. Now I have read one second person book, and this was a lot like it, but you actually get Buffy’s reactions/actions throughout. I’d say, I loved this format. This is a big characteristic of the book that defines what it is! I enjoyed it a lot!
Mental Illness: This book tackles the deep subject of mental illness, and you can see why in a second. The reason why Buffy is in a “text adventure game” is because she has schizophrenia, so she views the world as if someone, the text parser, is controlling her thoughts and actions and letting her “restart” at times. It takes a while to figure out since the restarts are a bit confusing. Sometimes she “dies” and you have to think about what actually happened. I think this is a great book that helps you learn more about schizophrenia and how those who suffer from it go through (which is usually very different).
Did Not Click With Me: This book just didn’t capture my attention as much as I wished. I was confused at many points especially with the “restarting” in the book. Were they dreams? Were they imaginings? Also, I viewed the events more as a “loose string of events” since it felt so much like “Wait how did go to this?” It had so much potential, but I personally didn’t like it. But I think others will enjoy it more than me! This was not exactly what I expected, but I think that if you’re interested in gaming, unorthodox narrations/POVs, and the such, you’ll like it!
Concluding Thoughts: Even though I did not enjoy it as much as I wanted, I think it is a clever and interesting read one should try! It is definitely one of the most unique books I have read, and the format is very enjoyable to read! I recommend it to those who want to read something that is unlike its contemporaries because it is. Just like all books, I know there’s people who will love this book, so I ask you to try it out! Just like I said, gamers would definitely like this book, and if you love books that are just “different,” then pick up PHSRQ!
All quotes are quoted from an ARC copy, so they could have changed during publication.
Do you have any thoughts or questions?
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