The Book Club is keeping it rolling with our Nerd Girl Books Tour entering its second week! We’re honored to present a series of books of speculative fiction by female authors recognized for their portrayal of female characters in new and familiar worlds. For this second batch, we have a trio of page turners with three unique interpretations on how to tell a story, and for our first installment of the week, we get to start out with a bang! Join us as we embark on our first true blog tour and hopefully expose the greatest Book Club readers on the planet to some exciting fiction literature. And don’t forget about that GIVEAWAY! (7/8-7/31 2019) Roll with us!
Post-High School Reality Quest by Meg Eden has a unique feel that right out of the gate cannot be ignored. The cover alone is covered in 80s/90s nostalgia approved text graphics with the formatting of a video game from an age before 3D graphics and MMOs. This isn’t just for show either, as a single turn of the page deals us another wild card. The story’s main character, Elizabeth, or Beth, or Buffy as she’s referred to is sitting in a psychiatrist’s office after what is seemingly the mother of all nervous breakdowns. I say seemingly, as the novel’s main exchange is Buffy interacting with an indistinguishable other party that communicates like a text based adventure video game. If you’ve ever played The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy text game, you’re already on board with the presentation. Buffy’s text parser is cheeky, cryptic, but appears to be on Buffy’s side as she navigates the horrors of graduating high school, starting college, and the dynamic that these events unleash on friendship and love.
Of course, the format of this novel will take a chapter or two to get used to, but it actually ends up being more inviting than you might think. Buffy’s story can be frightening due to the level of identifiability to any reader that’s struggled to make friends, find love, or simply get to what it feels like to be “normal.” Sometimes I want to give Buffy a hug, sometimes I want to shake her silly, but the true conflict comes from her self-realization after various traumatic events. What begins as a humorous way to interpret your problems, the video game stylization soon makes it clear that this is a desperate coping mechanism as things escalate towards the climax.
Buffy is obsessed with a particular boy she’s known for years named Tristan. Due to her lack of experience with matters of the heart, the interplay with not only Tristan but the other friends of this nerd circle are tragically cringeworthy…if only because we’ve all been there before. As she attends a (I think) Maryland university relatively close to home, the ping back and forth between her college life and the vestiges of high school are in a constant conflict as are secondary extracurricular activities like alcohol, dating, and condoms that are introduced into Buffy’s life of video games and platonic relationships. The story provides a long slow crescendo where the true colors are exposed of not only her old and new friends, but of Buffy herself. This isn’t the sort of novel that’s settles down once Buffy starts kissing the right boy as the encounters become more heated leading to a climax that was genuinely rattling. In fact, I had to put the book down for minute and think about what just transpired. Once things get heavy it’s not only easy but frankly understandable why the “game” exists in the first place to the main character. In a world without control, it would surely be nice to be able to save your progress every now and then.
Verdict: Post-High School Reality Quest by Meg Eden is a brilliantly interesting novel that provides a welcome nostalgic element on top of a great coming of age story with some razor sharp humor. While benefited by a familiar plot, the lack of a “hollywood” treatment keeps everything grounded, and can be a punch in the gut as the gritty climax is finally made known. For once a unique format is not only an interesting way to tell a story, but it’s also a story worth being told. For any astray nerd that’s struggled with feeling normal: keep close track of your inventory, and don’t forget to save. Thank you for playing POST HIGH SCHOOL REALITY QUEST! Would you like to load a saved game?
Special thanks to Meg Eden for allowing us to be a part of their Nerd Girl Books Tour. All thoughts and opinions are solely that of TehBen.com
Author’s Twitter: @confusednarwhal
Purchase Link: Amazon
Meg Eden’s Nerd Girl Books and @NGB_Books
ENTER THE GIVEAWAY CONTEST HERE!