Friday, January 30, 2015

The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

From the publisher: 
Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?

But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And one gamer has been doing exactly that, with murderous results.

The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker. And they’ve been watching Michael. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid to the back alleys and corners of the system human eyes have never seen—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.

The Eye of Minds was chosen as the first book for Galesburg Public Library's Chapter Chompers Teen Book Club.  Overall, the six teens who attended our discussion of the book really enjoyed the story of Michael's quest through the VirtNet, although they found it difficult to follow at times. Group members agreed that they would LOVE the chance to enter a VirtNet of their own (preferably without having to enter via creepy coffin), particularly if the VirtNet could be made up of a combination of worlds from their favorite books.  Think Harry Potter + The Lost Hero + a little bit of Dork Diaries thrown in...

Another element of The Eye of Minds that book club members really enjoyed was the ambiguity between which characters were "good" and which were "bad."  Nothing was what it seemed on the surface, which kept our teen readers on their toes... and sometimes had them yelling at the book.  For instance, when Michael and his friends encountered Master Slake in the woods and, lured by his promise of food, followed him even though he seemed kind of shady, group member Kiaya's response was: "Yeah, I'm hungry... but after we eat, RUN!!"

Group members came up with a 5-point rating system for books read in Chapter Chompers:
1 (lowest ranking) = 1 pizza
2 = 2 pizzas
3 = 3 pizzas
4 = breadsticks (teens really like breadsticks, apparently)
5 = unitado (half unicorn/half potato. don't ask.)

The Eye of Minds achieved a rating of Breadsticks.  It is available in libraries and bookstores now.

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