Head Games

crunch time
head games
true meaning of cleavage
in the cards
the smart girls guide to tarot
fatal distraction

Head Games
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Reality? I'd give it a C-.

That's what fifteen-year-old Judith Ellis thinks, anyway. Reality is her former best friend not talking to her this year. Reality is her dad living three thousand miles away. Reality is what happened outside 158 West Seventy-first Street, New York City.

To Judith, fantasy rules. Particularly in the Game, which she plays online with a bunch of strangers she knows only as the Witch, the Drunken Warrior, and Irgan the Head Case. In the gaming world it's strictly alternative identities. No one knows who you are, no one gets too close.

But one player in the Game is coming after her -- and he's a lot closer than Judith guesses.

Close enough to see her, close enough to talk with her.

Close enough to like her.

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What they're saying about Head Games

"Judith is an engaging narrator who finds unique ways of coping. Fans of gaming will especially enjoy this book, and the high school scenes are wonderfully realistic."

--VOYA 4Q, 4P

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"Fredericks has a gift for replicating teen vernacular; the end of her story leaves readers with the same wistful feeling as 'Game Over.'"

--Kirkus Reviews

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...As she did in The True Meaning of Cleavage (BCCB 3/03), Fredericks displays an admirable gift for significant perception expressed in accessible and often witty terms ("What happens if you try not to be the doof everyone says you are, but you find out, whoops, you really are a doof?"), which makes her subtle understanding look easy. The book tackles head-on the notion of the pleasures of gaming and its contrast to the unruliness of real life (Judith is still haunted by an attempted sexual assault from a year ago, and as a consequence she's particularly drawn to the power she sees in male game characters), but it's believable in its depiction of Judith's growing interest in the rewards of reality. While a few inconsistencies remain in the portrayal of bad-boy-turned-friend-and-possible-boyfriend Jonathan, his prickly relationship with Judith effectively conveys his complexity as well as her ambivalence; there's also a smoothly executed subplot about Judith's grudging friendship with Katie, the ditzy, work-shy rich girl out of step with her overachieving classmates. The humor is welcome and the intelligence penetrating, while Judith's growing connection to her fellow humans may encourage uncertain teens to strengthen their own relationships.

--Deborah Stevenson (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, November 2004 (Vol. 58, No. 3))

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Fatal Distraction

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