Glitch by Sarah Graley, 192 pp, Reading Level 4

Glitch by Sarah Graley
Purchased at Strand Book Store 
Izzy and her Eric, who uses the pronouns she and her, are best friends and gamers eagerly awaiting the release of the new game Dungeon City and have agreed to wait to play it until they can unbox it together and stay up all night on the weekend. Unfortunately, the call of this new game overrides all parental rules and the rules of friendship and Izzy gives in. Even more unfortunate, Izzy is sucked into the game itself! There, she is befriended by a robot named Rae, who uses the pronouns they and them, and told she is the one gamer who can save the world of the game ("you are our only hope, Izzy.") from an undefeatable final boss buried in deep within the code by the developers once they realized their mistake. Going in and out of the game, staying up all night to play and lying to Eric, her teachers and parents about why she is so tired every day. But, she's fueled at night every time she levels up, believing she is working toward something good. When she realizes the error of her thinking, she also realizes that she can't keep going on alone. To save the world inside the game of Dungeon City, Izzy ultimately has to save her friendship with Eric.

Graley's illustrations and story are filled with humor, from the huge, expressive eyes of the characters (especially Jasper, the cat) to the vegetal terms of endearment Izzy's dad uses for her (Parsnip, Sweet Potato, Pumpkin). When Izzy is in the world of the game, the borders of the pages are black, helping readers keep track. I am not a gamer, but I have peered over the shoulders of my kids as they play. Even without this experience, Graley made it easy to become immersed in the world she created in Glitch. Having read other reviews of this graphic novel, I do recognize that there are some subtle elements of Graley's story that I missed, like the addictive nature of games and the internal commerce and I look forward to getting this book on the shelves of my library and hearing what the kids have to say about it!

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