Book Review: The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak

January 30, 2017 Advanced Readers Copy, Book Reviews 1

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: The Impossible Fortress by Jason RekulakThe Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak
Published by Simon & Schuster on February 7th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

A dazzling debut novel—at once a charming romance and a moving coming-of-age story—about what happens when a fourteen-year old boy pretends to seduce a girl to steal a copy of Playboy but then discovers she is his computer-loving soulmate.
Billy Marvin’s first love was a computer. Then he met Mary Zelinsky.
Do you remember your first love?
The Impossible Fortress begins with a magazine…The year is 1987 and Playboy has just published scandalous photographs of Vanna White, from the popular TV game show Wheel of Fortune. For three teenage boys—Billy, Alf, and Clark—who are desperately uneducated in the ways of women, the magazine is somewhat of a Holy Grail: priceless beyond measure and impossible to attain. So, they hatch a plan to steal it.
The heist will be fraught with peril: a locked building, intrepid police officers, rusty fire escapes, leaps across rooftops, electronic alarm systems, and a hyperactive Shih Tzu named Arnold Schwarzenegger. Failed attempt after failed attempt leads them to a genius master plan—they’ll swipe the security code to Zelinsky’s convenience store by seducing the owner’s daughter, Mary Zelinsky. It becomes Billy’s mission to befriend her and get the information by any means necessary. But Mary isn’t your average teenage girl. She’s a computer loving, expert coder, already strides ahead of Billy in ability, with a wry sense of humor and a hidden, big heart. But what starts as a game to win Mary’s affection leaves Billy with a gut-wrenching choice: deceive the girl who may well be his first love or break a promise to his best friends.
At its heart, The Impossible Fortress is a tender exploration of young love, true friends, and the confusing realities of male adolescence—with a dash of old school computer programming.
Bonus content: Play the "The Impossible Fortress" video game at http://www.jasonrekulak.com/game/

 

My thoughts

As a fan of the 80’s and a fan of computers this synopsis hit home. This is a story of some young boys that are just turning into their teenage years and are excited that Vanna White is on the cover of Playboy. Even in the 80’s though buying a playboy while under age was forbidden. Thus they started to invent a plan to get them to their coveted Playboy…

This. Was. Great! I enjoyed every second. These boys had me laughing uproariously multiple times. Jason Rekulak either did a lot of research or remembers how great the 80’s were. I had  Commandore 64 so I understand the feeling of the first games that were played and the coding that it took to make things work on these monsters. He also talks about the songs of those days but weaves all of this into the story in such a way that does not feel like he is just trying to placate those that remember these times but in a way that matches the story line.

When Billy starts to spend time with Mary it is originally because he wants to get to the Playboy but then he learns that she can type code better than he can!

Girls practically invented programming,” she said. “Jean Bartik, Marlyn Wescoff, Fran Bilas – they all programmed the ENIAC.”

Of course he can’t tell his friends that he likes Mary because she’s smart all they see is a girl that is overweight and they want to know which base he got to with her! This is a story of learning how to maneuver between what your friends think is best for you and what you want out of life but is in a fabulously written package of 80’s trivia and fun!

In short: Although YA this is fun for all ages. Definitely an 80’s lover delight.

This is also Jason Rekulak’s debut novel. I will be standing in the queue waiting for his next!

 

Rating Report
Plot
5 / 5
Character Development
5 / 5
Writing Style
5 / 5
Personal enjoyment
5 / 5
Cover
5 / 5
Overall: 5 / 5

 

 

By day I am Publisher of Quirk Books, where I edit a variety of fiction and nonfiction. (This role should help to explain some of the more curious “bylines” on this Goodreads page — for ex, my credit for adapting HOME ALONE into a storybook!) Some of my all-time favorite Quirk projects include PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, MISS PEREGRINE”S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN by Ransom Riggs, and the Edgar Award winning LAST POLICEMAN trilogy by Ben H. Winters. After years of working with so many brilliant and creative people I finally took the plunge and wrote my own novel — THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS — coming from Simon & Schuster in Feb 2017.

 

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One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

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