Welcome to “Oh, the Humanity!”, the column that reviews videogame-based movies and books. Today’s book is Gamer Girl by Mari Macusi. Gamer Girl? Sounds like someone’s trying to capitalize on the wild success of Vangie Rich’s column, “Gamer Girlfriend!”
Gamer Girl is a teen romance novel, along the lines of those written by Meg Cabot or Ellen Conford or Katherine Applegate before she wrote Animorphs. If you haven’t read any teen romances, just pretend it’s a Disney Channel “Original” Movie when you read the description.
Our heroine, Maddy, has the worst life ever. Her parents got divorced, she’s been forced to move away from Boston, and worst of all, Grandma forced her to wear a pink unicorn sweater on her first day of school. Of course, the popular kids all hate Maddy the moment they meet her, and they embark on a crusade to make her life a living hell. That is, all of them except for…*sigh*…Chad….
“He had curly blond hair and piercing blue eyes, framed with long sooty lashes. A chiseled face with perfectly sculpted cheekbones and a full mouth that looked perfectly kissable.
I shivered. Utterly delicious.” (14)
Despite occasional sightings of Chad the Super Hottie, Maddy’s life continues to be horrible. She has no friends except Matt the Insta-Buddy. Mom doesn’t understand the pain she’s going through. Even drawing manga doesn’t help cheer her up. No, there’s only one thing that can make her life worth living: videogames.
Specifically, Maddy plays World of Warcraft Fields of Fantasy. Dad bought her a copy for her birthday! In the game world, she can be the cool elf princess Allora, and she hangs out with this really nice guy named SirLeo, and she can forget how horrible her life is.
It’s not long before she starts falling for SirLeo, the online hottie. But it’s so tragic, because there’s no way someone cool like him would ever fall for a girl like her. Besides, they could never meet in real life because they’re on opposite ends of the country. Wait…what? They live in the same state? They go to the same school? ZOMG, SirLeo the online hottie is *sigh* Chad the Super Hottie!!!
Was that a total surprise ending? Because I figured it out after reading Chapter One. It’s really obvious.
Actually, pretty much everything in this book is glaringly obvious. It’s all stuff you’ve seen before in movies or TV. The cast is comprised of familiar characters such as The Nice Teacher, The Annoying/Spoiled Younger Sister, and The Mean Popular Kid. You know the answers to the plot questions—Will the club she starts be a success? Will she win the big art competition?—before they’re even asked.
However, I couldn’t help but find something…comfortable about the extreme predictability of this book. My sister and I actually turned it into a game: see who can predict the most stuff first. My sister won bonus points for predicting that Mom divorced Dad because he’s a deadbeat who spends all his time playing Warcraft, and I won bonus points for predicting that Matt the Insta-Buddy was gay. The rest of the time, we made fun of the extremely overdone emo moments, where our heroine reminds the readers that her life sucks every two sentences.
“I threw myself on my bed, tears coming to my eyes and sobs racking my body. It was so unfair. Life used to be great. I had friends, I had a real family that wasn’t split apart. Now what was I left with? Nothing but a broken home and a broken life. I didn’t even have anything to look forward to. It wouldn’t be until college that I’d have even the remotest chance of bonding with another human being.
If only Mom would forgive Dad for whatever it was he did and get back together with him. We could move back to our old neighborhood. I could return to my old school and be with my friends again.
Yeah, right. So not going to happen. Needed to give up on that fantasy, pronto.” (52)
In conclusion, this book is:
- full of whining
- only vaguely related to gaming
Yes, there’s not much to commend this book, other than the fact that it is an easy target for all you MST3Kers out there. I would definitely not recommend this book as a present for the special gamer girl in your life, unless you want her to develop a mega-crush on *sigh* Chad the Super Hottie.