Saturday, 31 August 2013

Playing Tyler by T.L.Costa

I was sent this to read by a friend in exchange for a review and here it is.  I read this in June this year.

 Playing Tyler

Book Description from Amazon

Publication Date: 2 July 2013
When is a game not a game?

Tyler MacCandless can’t focus, even when he takes his medication. He can’t focus on school, on his future, on a book, on much of anything other than taking care of his older brother, Brandon, who’s in rehab for heroin abuse… again.

Tyler’s dad is dead and his mom has mentally checked out. The only person he can really count on is his Civilian Air Patrol Mentor, Rick. The one thing in life it seems he doesn’t suck at is playing video games and, well, that’s probably not going to get him into college.

Just when it seems like his future is on a collision course with a life sentence at McDonald’s, Rick asks him to test a video game. If his score’s high enough, it could earn him a place in flight school and win him the future he was certain that he could never have. And when he falls in love with the game’s designer, the legendary gamer Ani, Tyler thinks his life might finally be turning around.

That is, until Brandon goes MIA from rehab and Tyler and Ani discover that the game is more than it seems. Now Tyler will have to figure out what’s really going on in time to save his brother… and prevent his own future from going down in flames.

My review.

Firstly, I’d like to say I was drawn to this book by its cover.  I love Poppies especially red ones at that.   Sadly, the link with the Poppies isn’t an innocent one as it’s the link to drugs that entitles them to be on the cover.

Tyler has problems, he’s got a lack of concentration for his school work and is hyperactive at times due to suffering with ADHD but he finds he can channel the negative side of his problem to play his games.  He’s on Meds for his ADHD but doesn’t like to take them as he’s seen what drugs can do to his brother Brandon who’s an addict.   The writing style in some ways mirrored Tyler’s ADHD at times which might or might not be intentional.  I found it jumped around at times but in a good way.

Tyler has a love of Computer Games as do a lot of teenage young men and women.  It’s his interest in Gaming and flying that introduce him to Rick who becomes his mentor in the Civilian Air Patrol.  Tyler has a passion for flying and Rick asks Tyler to test out a new game for him with the promise of a place at flight school if he does really well.  It’s not long before the game becomes an all consuming pastime and he finds himself playing it more and more.  Is the game as innocent as Tyler thinks and with shades reminiscent to me of a 1983 film called War Games, this becomes a heck of a ride in more ways than one for Tyler.

Ani, the games designer is a legendary gamer and when Tyler finds this out he soon becomes besotted with her and it’s not long before he’s falling for her.  However, Rick isn’t keen for Tyler and Ani to develop a friendship/relationship and does all he can to encourage them to be apart, saying that any friendship/relationship could jeopardise the game and also the chances of Tyler joining flying school.

Brandon is in rehab for his addiction and Tyler regularly visits him, it’s only when Brandon goes MIA that things start to take a more sinister turn.  Is his disappearance in any way connected to Rick and the game?  Ani and Tyler become more suspicious as time goes on and when Tyler sees a news report he begins to wonder is all as it seems in the world of gaming.

To say any more would spoil the book for other readers, so pick it up have a read and find out what is at the root of it all.

I thoroughly enjoyed this debut YA book, it’s an easy read and I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.  I will look for more books by this Author.  I enjoyed the relationship between Ani and Tyler, he was definitely in awe of her at the start.  

What we must ask ourselves now, is could this happen? 

I gave this an 8/10.

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