Gamer by Chris Bradford. Published by Barrington Stoke Teen, 2012.
High interest fiction for struggling readers.
From the publisher:
Scott is selected as a games tester for Virtual Kombat, the most realistic fighting video game ever invented – so real it hurts! Once a Gamer enters the fighting world, it becomes hard to distinguish between what is real and what is not. Scott must work his way up the ranks to make it out alive, but when friend and rival Kate fails to return from the Virtual Arena,Scott begins to wonder if it’s more than just a game…
“An action-packed dystopian adventure from the bestselling author of the Young Samurai series”
Hear the author read the first chapter:
What do I think about this book?
I was impressed firstly by the cover – because so many of my readers judge a book by the cover and first impressions really count. This title has a stunning lenticular cover and the image on the front will be instantly appealing to some of my most reluctant boy readers. Secondly, the thickness – it’s just the right size for the same boys. Thirdly text size and layout – it’s promoted by the publisher as dyslexia friendly and looks it, plus the chapters are short. There isn’t anything off-putting about this book – so we are off to a brilliant start.
I am really impressed because so many books published for high interest but low ability readers look unappealing and just don’t look like regular books. The kids that will want to read this aren’t dumb and don’t want to be made to feel that way. This book is so “cool” looking I know higher level readers will want to read it too. Other publishers should take note.
As for the story it rocks along at an exciting pace very much like a mini ‘Hunger games’. I enjoyed it and I am sure my students will too. This has really made me aware of how desperate I am to fill this gap in my collection, I need more books like this – because one won’t be enough! As a result, I have just made up a list of other books from this publisher that I will be adding to my wish list for my library. Chris Bradford has another title available through Barrington Stoke “Ninja : first mission“…and it’s at the top of my list as well as two by Tommy Donbavand who wrote the very popular (at least in my library)…’Scream Street’.
If you are interested in books like these, check out the Barrington Stoke website here: http://www.barringtonstoke.co.uk
One of my favourite ‘go-to’ websites for books categorised by age and reading ability “Love reading for Kids” has previews and reviews of many of these titles and is a good source for information on suitable titles for reluctant, struggling and dyslexic readers: