- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books (August 24, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 068985532X
- ISBN-13: 978-0689855320
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,039,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Head Games Hardcover – August 24, 2004
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From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up–The author of The True Meaning of Cleavage (Atheneum, 2003) again perceptively explores the psyche of teenagers. Judith, 15, believes it's safest to "be invisible." The previous year she was attacked as she walked alone at night and still feels powerless to tell anyone about the incident. Her former best friend refuses to acknowledge her existence and her divorced father lives 3000 miles away. The only place where she feels free to be anyone she wants to be is in the online role-playing game she's addicted to, in which her character is always male. After Irgan, her Internet enemy, forfeits the right to kill her off, Judith drops out of the Game and becomes determined to learn his identity. She's surprised and intrigued to discover that he's a teenager with a reputation as a druggie and screw-up who lives in her apartment building. Despite her mother's misgivings, Judith and Jonathan become close as they act out a live role-playing game where there are no rules. Jonathan helps her deal with the attack and shows her that it's OK to be a girl. Judith also finds real friendship with Katie, an insecure girl she tutors in math. This novel realistically portrays young adults trying to find themselves, fit in, and resist the labels put on them. Judith is a strong character who will appeal to readers who like books by Sarah Dessen, Ann Brashares, Megan McCafferty, and Jaclyn Moriarty. Teens will also like the gaming and role-playing aspects.–Sharon Rawlins, Piscataway Public Library, NJ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr. 7-10. Alienated from her best friend, Judith finds her current existence so frustrating and unsatisfactory that she joins an online game, taking on the persona of Gareth, a self-confident teenage boy who can intimidate even the most aggressive characters. Little does she know, one of her opponents is actually her across-the-hall, bad-boy neighbor, Jonathan Heitman. Fredericks, author of The True Meaning of Cleavage (2003), uses the contemporary online gaming environment to reveal age-old truths about friendship, parents, and the struggles of growing up in an unforgiving high-school environment. Judith, Jonathan, and new friend Katie are real teens, each saddled with shallow, unfair reputations: Judith, possibly gay; Jonathan, a troubled druggie; Katie, fat, stupid, and rich. Their attempts at friendship and survival in a hostile high school and, for Jonathan and Katie, in troubled family environments will ring true to all teens who see themselves as outsiders. Frances Bradburn
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
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I'd recommend this for any book-loving teen, and it's an enjoyable read for adults too.
Faced with the loss of her best friend, the gradually widening distance with her father, an overprotective mother, and a traumatic experience she cannot bring herself to share with anyone, Judith retreats into the world of online gaming, where she can be anyone but herself. Cue Jonathan, the cute but troubled boy from down the hall, with whom Judith finds an unexpected connection.
Many fictional portrayals of teens tend to feel either stereotypically shallow or artificially dark or "angsty." Fredericks' characters have so much more dimension to them and by the end of the book I felt like I had known them for years. Finishing the last page and closing the cover felt exactly like it should - I was satisfied, and yet starving for more.
So New York City does not hold her interest like her fantasy game does. She's good at it, and she thinks about the Game constantly. It occupies her head when she has no one to eat with at lunch, when she is trying to avoid speaking in her math class, and when she has no one to hang with after school. That is, until one player seems to go after her particularly.
Real life holds some surprises too, especially in her neighbor-with-the-bad-reputation Jonathan. Their budding friendship veers from confusing to comforting to intriguing, but never dull. Judith's long-distance father begins to connect with her through the phone lines. Tutoring ditz Katie then teaches Judith that her assumptions are often wrong and that everyone lives in their own version of a fantasy world.
Mariah Fredericks creates engaging and surprising characters, much like the Sim characters beloved by Katie. Judith wants neat, easy answers like everyone, but they are not available even in fantasy games. HEAD GAMES offers no easy endings, but a reality that is interesting and hopeful.
--- Reviewed by Amy Alessio
my teacher was bugging me to pick up a book to just read, so i just grabbed a random one off the shelf (also i loved the cover) but im so glad that i got this book. its one of the few books that i actually read, that i actually related to, and that actually made me think about my own life.
i would recomend head games to any person who can relate to someone trying to find his/her self.
it is a fantastic novel.