An Amazon Best Book of the Month, April 2013
: In Austin Grossman's You
, Russell joins Black Arts, a mid-tier developer at risk of closing its doors if their next title isn't a hit. At the center of the company is WAFFLE, a brilliant game engine designed by Russell's late childhood friend Simon, whose mysterious death haunts Russell and his friends. When an unsquashable, game-breaking bug is discovered in WAFFLE, Russell quickly learns that it may be a deliberate feature programmed in by Simon. Or better put, there is literally
a ghost in the machine.
You draws upon Grossman's experience as a game developer in the '90s, providing a frank and often funny portrait of a maturing video game industry (the depiction of E3, a large trade conference, is particularly delightful). But You isn't just for nostalgic gamers: beneath the techno-mystery is a story about friendship imbued with heart and compassion, a soul that surfaces like a secret glitch from the depths of its code. --Kevin Nguyen
*Starred Review* Grossman, author of the delightful Soon I Will Be Invincible (2007), here draws on his own experience as a video-game designer to take us behind the scenes at Black Arts Games, a (fictional) video-game company poised to release a new version of one of its biggest hits. Russell, a new hire at the company (but an old friend of the company’s founders), is thrown in at the deep end when a software bug is discovered that threatens to sink the new game. To find the source of the bug, Russell explores the history of the company, its founders, and his complicated relationships with them. Although it’s structured as a mystery—Russell tries to track down the source of the bug the way a detective might pursue an unknown perp—the book is really a celebration of video games and their creators. It’s full of terminology and dialogue that might seem like another language to the uninitiated reader (we do pick it up as we go along), but, mostly, due to his boundless enthusiasm for his story, Grossman never makes readers feel uninformed or left out in the cold. He invites us into the world of video games, introduces us to the people whose lives revolve around them, and makes us feel right at home. This is only Grossman’s second novel, but, given the strength of this and his first book, we can only await his next offering with keen anticipation. --David Pitt