Monday, May 25, 2015

Mini Reviews: In Real Life and Rebel

Today I’m doing my first “mini-reviews” post.  I had a super fun time doing these and I’m definitely going to be doing more in the future!  Although, I'm not even really sure if these could actually be considered "mini".  Compared to my usual reviews, I guess they are. 

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang 

Published: 2014

Genres: Graphic Novel
Format: Paperback

What is In Real Life about?
Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role-playing game where she spends most of her free time. It's a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It's a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends. 

But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer--a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn. This behavior is strictly against the rules in Coarsegold, but Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person's real livelihood is at stake. 

From acclaimed teen author (Little Brother, For the Win) and Boing Boing editor Cory Doctorow and Koko Be Good creator Jen Wang, In Real Life is a perceptive and high-stakes look at adolescence, gaming, poverty, and culture clash.

Artwork: A+
If I had to rate this book based solely on the artwork, it would definitely get 5 stars.  I really loved the style.  I feel like it was the perfect mix between realistic and cartoony.    I also liked how there was a clear distinction between the art when we were seeing Anda, and when we were inside the game.  That was probably my favorite part, actually.  I LOVED how it literally took you inside the was just wonderful.  I loved how colorful the artwork became once we were inside the game.  Overall, I loved the art SO MUCH and think it was really well done. 

Characters: B
The main character, Anda was sweet and I did like her.  I thought it was cute how innocent she was and how she wanted to help a boy whom she didn’t know.  I also thought it was nice how she was very open minded towards other people and their cultures.  However, I wasn’t really able to connect to the characters in this book.  I’m not sure if that was because it was a graphic novel instead of a regular novel or if I just wasn’t crazy about the characters.

Plot: B
I found the plot of this book to be confusing at times.    I think that the whole situation and everything that happened in this book was pretty far-fetched.  However, like I said above, I did really enjoy how immersive it was in really making me feel like I was IN the game. 


Overall, I really did enjoy In Real Life and thought it was a cute graphic novel with such beautiful artwork.  I definitely recommend it if you are a graphic novel reader or if you (like me) are fairly new to the whole graphic novel scene.

Rebel (Reboot #2) by Amy Tintera 

Published: 2014

Genres: Sci-Fi/Dystopian
Format: Paperback               

What is Rebel about?
This is the second book in the Reboot duology, so I’m not going to give you the synopsis because of spoilers.  Here is the synopsis for the first book:
Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders. 

Characters/Character Development: B+
This was the second book in a series, so I had already grown attached to these characters.  Wren was still just as kick butt, and as always, proved that she doesn’t need help from anyone.  Callum was still just as adorable and gosh, I just wanted to hug him.
In the first book, they both did a lot of growing and changing and it was wonderful to watch them learn things about themselves and each other.  However, I feel like in this book they had already settled into a routine.  They reminded me of an old, married couple.  They would wake up, and set off on their separate ways to do their own thing with a kiss, then they’d see each other at the end of the day and eat dinner, kiss goodnight, go to bed.  I just feel like I didn’t get to see their relationship grow very much,  They were both so preoccupied with doing their own separate things within the compound, that it just felt like you never got to see them together. 
That being said, I really liked the introduction of some new characters, such as Riley.  I was skeptical at first, but I really came around.  It was nice for Wren to have someone from her past who she knew and could trust.  I also really liked how much more of Addie’s personality we were able to see in this one.  She was sassy and snarky and always causing trouble.  I loved it! 

Plot: A-
I didn’t have any problems with the plot except for the fact that it seemed a little unfocused sometimes.  I feel like they spent way too much time just hanging out at the compound and playing along that it seemed like they forgot they had their own agenda.  I really liked how they were able to team up at the end to accomplish their goal.  However, I do feel like a certain someone’s death at the hands of Wren was very anti-climactic.


Overall, I did really enjoy the final installment of the Reboot duology.  Ultimately, I am pleased with how this series ended and am definitely glad that I picked it up.  I definitely would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys sci-fi or dystopian and kick butt female characters.


What do you think of the mini reviews?  Have you read either of these books?  Let me know!


  1. I completely agree with your review of Rebel!! I LOVED THAT BOOK. Wren and Callum were oh-so-cute...but yes, they were totally apart too much and that was weird because they fought so hard to be together in the first book. :( I think the first book will always be my favourite, but I like how this wrapped up!

    1. Yeah, the first book will still always be the best one. I think it did wrap up nicely, but I agree- I wanted to see them together more.
      All in all, still a great series and so underrated.