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Gamer Girl Hardcover – November 13, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7–10—Maddy feels as though her life just keeps getting worse and worse. Because her parents have divorced, she has had to leave her friends in Boston and move with her mother and younger sister to live with Grandma in New Hampshire. She has developed a mad crush on handsome, unattainable Chad, whose friends refer to her as Freak Girl. Maddy's only consolations are her beloved manga drawings and the online game Fields of Fantasy, which her father gave her for her birthday. As Maddy becomes more involved with the game, she creates a new identity for herself as a magical Elfin maiden named Allora, and meets the handsome knight Sir Leo online. Eventually Maddy realizes that she cannot continue to use gaming as a refuge from her real-life problems, and she finds the courage to confront both the clique at her school and her neglectful father. And even more importantly, she begins reaching out to potential friends by starting a manga club and entering Gamer Girl in a prestigious writing contest. This is a fun, quick but predictable story. Readers will guess the identity of Sir Leo long before Maddy does, and her grandmother is stereotypically fussy and interfering. However, the manga and gaming themes will appeal to many teen girls, including reluctant readers.—Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

After her parents’ divorce, Maddy has to leave her ultra-hip Boston life for a New Hampshire suburb, where she, her mother, and her sister stay with Grandma. Not only does Maddy have to deal with missing her friends and father, but Grandma ruins her first day at school by insisting she wear a unicorn sweatshirt and then by embarrassing a popular boy with stories of his childhood bed-wetting. Bullied by the in-crowd (“the Haters”), crushing on the wrong guy, and stuck with the nickname Freak Girl, Maddy escapes into her drawing and the online game Fields of Fantasy, where she can vanquish enemies and make friends far easier than at school. After encouragement from a sympathetic teacher, Maddy makes friends by starting a manga club. But just when things are improving, the Haters strike again. Mancusi believably captures the hopes, disappointments, and awkwardness of high school life. While the trendy elements may eventually become dated, the story of a girl finding her inner strength will always resonate. Grades 6-10. --Krista Hutley
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 660L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (November 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525479953
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525479956
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,098,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mari Mancusi always wanted a dragon as a pet. Unfortunately the fire insurance premiums proved a bit too large and her house a bit too small--so she chose to write about them instead. Today she works as an award-winning young adult author and freelance television producer, for which she has won two Emmys. When not writing about fanciful creatures of myth and legend, Mari enjoys goth clubbing, cosplay, watching cheesy (and scary) horror movies, and her favorite guilty pleasure--playing videogames. A graduate of Boston University, she lives in Austin, Texas with her husband Jacob, daughter Avalon, and their dog Mesquite.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

158 of 159 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 28, 2015
Format: Paperback
I got this because I’ve read other books by Mancusi and I love her writing style. I jumped at the chance to pick it up when I found it at a library to buy. It’s about a high school girl named Maddy who writes manga to escape reality. Then she receives a game called Fields of Fantasy for her birthday. She turns into Allora a strong elfin princess and everything she wants to be in the gaming world. It shows how immersive video games can be, and how they can take over and collide with real life. They can be used to escape reality just like books, and drawing manga which allows her to escape the real world and live in a fantasy world. I loved how it included online chatting in the book too. I enjoyed seeing her get lost in the gaming world. The book realistically portrays what it’s like going through a divorce when the relationships between parents don’t work out. It showed the harsh reality of going to a new school and making friends. It shows the struggle of how a bad first day can make a lasting impression and the struggle of fitting in. I love how Maddy calls the gang of bullies Haters since it reminded me of when I went to high school. I like how it turns around for her after she forms her own manga club, and then finds a group of friends with common interest. It showed how a crush not turning out the way she wanted to was the end of the world. It is a young adult book, and the writing is simple which is good for a book like this. I loved the twist and turns the story took. It showed the consequences of bullying . It was a good read and I kept turning the pages to see what happened next. It showed what friendships and relationships are all about since it made me laugh and cry at times when she went through certain experiences in the book. It made the story relatable. I loved the mix of manga and video games in the story. I definitely recommend this to friends since it is a good story to get into. I enjoyed reading it, and it’s definitely a reread for me.
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131 of 131 people found the following review helpful By KrazyKittyKat on December 31, 2014
Format: Paperback
This book is amazing. I read a lot and I have to say that this is one of my favourite books. Sure, it's a little cliched, but it's simplistic means helped me relate to Maddy Starr. She was a city girl that had a lot of friends that moved to a small town with a bunch of jocks. That happened to me! I got picked on and the only people that would talk to me were those that made a bet with their friends. Maddy stayed strong. *SPOILER!*
Even in that moment of weakness when she was in bed for a week, she got back up to fight back! She was the definition of a teenage life of someone that wasn't like the rest (at least in her own town). And then she eventually meets people that are like her! She found a place in that town and even created a club of her own.
Maddy is strong and talented. She amplifies being tough, but still being herself.
And when people say that Chad was way too cliched and "he just happened to be Sir Leo." Well tell ya what, there is a thing called fate and it happens everyday!

So I thank you Mari Mancusi for actually getting it!

I recommend this book to anyone that likes to read!!!
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134 of 136 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on April 19, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought it showed the heart of a true girl and that's something that I love in books. It shows the confidence of a normal gamer girl truly
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104 of 105 people found the following review helpful By Maddie on March 8, 2015
Format: Paperback
This book is a quick read, it's one of those books you read if your in the mood for something cute and light. It's always nice to see a main character with a nerdy side, whether it be reading manga or watching anime, writing fan fiction, playing video games, or being obsessed with books and movies. There needs to be more books with these type of characters in them, in my opinion. I liked the writing style of this book, as well as the characters. At some points, the plot was predictable, but all and all I enjoyed this book. I've never read a book that involves video games and virtual reality before, so it was a nice change. The book had it's cute romantic moments, which I enjoyed. It wasn't forced, or over the top, like a few other books I've read. The world building was really neat, and I wish the game existed in real life, I can totally see myself playing it.
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92 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Michael Loring on February 18, 2015
Format: Paperback
Gamer Girl is a young adult novel by Author Mari Mancusi with video game/virtual reality themes interwoven with the intricacies and drama of high school life.

Maddy has just moved in with her grandmother after her parents divorce. She misses her friends, her old school, her old life. Depressed and angry at the world, things are only made worse on her first day of school when her grandmother manages to embarrass her in front of the entire school - the popular kids in school, the "Haters" as she calls them, painting a target on her back.

Labeled as Freak Girl, Maddy attempts to escape her horrible new life by submerging herself into the online MMO Fields of Fantasy. Reminiscent of World of Warcraft, the game is the perfect place for Maddy to become something else - Allora, an elfin princess with magical powers. While playing online, she meets another player named SirLeo. She and SirLeo quickly become close, even closer than she could have ever expected. When the online crush starts to affect her real life, Maddy scrambles to keep things from falling apart around her.

As a male gamer, it was interesting to read a novel that details what it's like from the other perspective. To see through this girl's eyes was a fascinating experience for me. I greatly enjoyed the humor throughout the novel, and the various references to comic and manga books - of which I am a huge fan of.

The only downside of this novel is that I felt Maddy's character was, at times, very selfish and shallow. When she thinks she's figured out who SirLeo really is, she gets sad that he isn't some handsome knight. It's a little vain, in my opinion. Especially since it was based solely on how he looked rather than his personality.
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