Author: Vivian Vande Velde
Publication: Harcourt Children's Books (July 10, 2012)
Description: Grace Pizzelli is the average one, nothing like her brilliant older sister, Emily, who works for Rasmussem, creators of the world’s best virtual reality games. The games aren’t real, though—or at least they weren’t. Now Emily has hidden herself inside a pink and sparkly game meant for little girls. No one knows why, or how to convince her to come back out, and the technology can’t keep her safe for much longer. Grace may consider herself average, but she’s the only one who can save Emily. So Grace enters the game, hoping to talk her sister out of virtual suicide before time runs out. Otherwise Emily will die—for real.
My Thoughts: I really liked this story about a young girl who has to step up and do something she is not confident about. Ninth grader Grace Pizella feels like she has always lived in the shadow of her smarter, prettier, more popular older sister Emily but when Emily disappears into a virtual reality game it is up to Grace to go in and convince her to come out.
This story is told in the first person. So we get to see Grace who is pessimistic, full of self-doubts and very cautious. However, we also see Grace's love for her sister Emily and we see her determination to save her. Her dad says that she is level-headed which Grace thinks is a sort of back-handed compliment but she comes to realize that her level-headedness is just the trait she needs to help her sister.
Emily is a summer intern at Rasmussem, creators of the world's best reality games, when she decides to move into a pink, purple, butterflies, and unicorns sort of game designed for younger kids and never come out. The problem is that people can't stay in the game forever. Trying to stay is just a way to commit suicide. Grace, her mother, and the people at Rasmussem have to learn about the real Emily that the bright, shiny Emily has been hiding. And Grace has to work her way through the game outwitting both her sister and some very spiteful sprites. There is a dragon too!
I liked Grace's voice in this one and thought she was a very realistic younger sister. I really liked the ending too. I think that it adds quite a note of reality to the story. I haven't read any books by Vivian Vande Velde before but this will certainly not be my last. I understand that there are two other books the also include the Rasmussem company that need to go on my wishlist.
This one is for both boys and girls who are interested in video games and who want to meet an interesting character. I recommend it.
She didn't say what she could have: Emily has always been the popular sister. Mom's good about no labeling. for which I can only be thankful, because Emily is the popular one, the smart one, the pretty one -- which either leaves me with negatives or with nothing. Dad call me levelheaded. That's pretty much a last-ditch-effort-to-say-something kind of compliment, if you ask me: Grace, her personality is such an inoffensive shade of beige.I chose this one from the Amazon Vine program. You can buy your copy here.