In Real Life
Overview - Fifteen-year-old math prodigy Seth Gordon knows exactly what he wants to do with his life--play video games. Every spare minute is devoted to honing his skills at Starfare, the world's most popular computer game. His goal: South Korea, where the top pros are rich and famous. Read more...
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More About In Real Life by Lawrence Tabak
Fifteen-year-old math prodigy Seth Gordon knows exactly what he wants to do with his life--play video games. Every spare minute is devoted to honing his skills at Starfare, the world's most popular computer game. His goal: South Korea, where the top pros are rich and famous. But the best players train all day, while Seth has school and a job and divorced parents who agree on only one thing: "Get off that damn computer." Plus there's a new distraction named Hannah, an aspiring photographer who actually seems to understand his obsession.
While Seth mopes about his tournament results and mixed signals from Hannah, Team Anaconda, one of the leading Korean pro squads, sees something special. Before he knows it, it's goodbye Kansas, goodbye Hannah, and hello to the strange new world of Korea. But the reality is more complicated than the fantasy, as he faces cultural shock, disgruntled teammates, and giant pots of sour-smelling kimchi.
What happens next surprises Seth. Slowly, he comes to make new friends, and discovers what might be a breakthrough, mathematical solution to the challenges of Starcraft. Delving deeper into the formulas takes him in an unexpected direction, one that might just give him a new focus--and reunite him with Hannah.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
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Fifteen-year-old Seth aims to be the first American player to break into the professional online gaming circuit, and readers will be swept into his struggle to find his niche in whatever “real life” may be. It’s murky turf for the math whiz, who has made his mark in the gaming world but questions his ability to measure up to the pros. Seth is even less assured in the offline world, where he feels overshadowed by his popular and athletic brother. His self-esteem gets a boost from Hannah—an artistic, intuitive classmate and coworker—and Tabak subtly and affectingly portrays the romance that develops between them. Seth’s decision to join a prestigious Korean gaming team jeopardizes their relationship, as well as Seth’s confidence. His candid and self-effacing narrative humorously exposes his seesawing emotions and sense of self: while he becomes an instant celebrity in Korea, he’s resented and shunned by his teammates, and Hannah’s long-distance aloofness compounds his loneliness. Tabak credibly navigates self-doubt, alienation, and resilience in his debut novel, which ends on a tantalizingly open-ended note. Ages 12–15. (Nov.)