About the Book
Title: Post-High School Reality Quest
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Date Published: June 13, 2017
Publisher: Rare Bird Books
Source: Ya Reads Debut Author Bash
Buffy is playing a game. However, the game is her life, and there are no instructions or cheat codes on how to win.
After graduating high school, a voice called “the text parser” emerges in Buffy’s head, narrating her life as a classic text adventure game. Buffy figures this is just a manifestation of her shy, awkward, nerdy nature—until the voice doesn’t go away, and instead begins to dominate her thoughts, telling her how to life her life. Though Buffy tries to beat the game, crash it, and even restart it, it becomes clear that this game is not something she can simply “shut off” or beat without the text parser’s help.
While the text parser tries to give Buffy advice on how “to win the game,” Buffy decides to pursue her own game-plan: start over, make new friends, and win her long-time crush Tristan’s heart. But even when Buffy gets the guy of her dreams, the game doesn’t stop. In fact, it gets worse than she could’ve ever imagined: her crumbling group of friends fall apart, her roommate turns against her, and Buffy finds herself trying to survive in a game built off her greatest nightmares.
When I first started reading it my mind registered something was weird, I had to reread the first few pages a couple of times, but it wasn't until I was a few pages in that I realized what was going on. The book is in second person. As someone who regularly games, that pleased me. I ended up immediately messaging a few of my other gamer friends and told them they should check it out... and this was before I'd actually gotten into the book.
This is not a book that can be just read once. I mean, I know what happens... but I seriously doubt I grasped enough of what was going on to fully comprehend what I read. And I say that in a good way. I think this is perhaps the most uniquely written book I've read in a while.
I don't want to give spoilers... but there are some shifts in tense that kept messing with my mind. And after rereading certain parts a number of times I acknowledged that's how it's supposed to be. But it was so hard to grasp. And I actually really liked that. Because this book made me question things, a lot. And I never knew what was going to happen next. I mean, I'd try to guess... but it was just nothing I expected.
So, this is a young adult contemporary novel in many aspects. Buffy is recently graduated from high school and she's trying to figure out what the heck she's supposed to do after high school... and she happens to have something in her head that makes everything she does into a text-based game.
The thing is... even after finishing it, I'm not exactly sure what happened with the ending. I really don't want to go into spoilers... but holy gawd damn. The day I finished reading it I honestly couldn't sleep because I was up all night thinking about it.
A quick warning... there's a lot of heavy topics in here, including a number of mental health issues. If things happened the way I think they did, then wow. I think I'm just going to decide I'm right anyway.