There's a fine line between real life and video games in this engrossing novel that's part Kathryn Erskine's Mockingbird, part Patrick Ness' A Monster Calls. Severkin is an elf who slinks through the shadows of Wellhall's spiraling stone towers, plundering ancient ruins and slaying mystical monstrosities with ease. He's also a character in a video game-a character that twelve-year-old Nick Reeves plays when he needs a break from the real world. And lately Nick has really needed a break. His mother had an "incident" at school last year, and her health has taken a turn for the worse. Nick is convinced his mother's illness has been misdiagnosed, but no one believes him. His only escape is the online world of Wellhall, where, as the elf character Severkin, he can face any problem. But when Nick finds himself fighting alongside another elf who reminds him of someone he knows in real life, his worlds begin to collide.
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by Lev AC Rosen
by Larry D. Rosen, Ph.D., Adam Gazzaley
by Nancy Springer
by Diana Wynne Jones
by Coleen Salley
by Barbara Knutson
by Kathleen Duey
by Christopher Pike
by Tracey Baptiste
"Prentice Onayemi's subtle character creations intensify the complex life of biracial middle schooler Nick Reeves, whose mother has moved to a memory care facility due to early-onset Alzheimer's. Denying the reality of his mother's illness, Nick takes refuge in a video game, playing the role of Severkin, a gray elf adventurer. Differentiating characters through accent and vocal pitch, Onayemi transitions between Nick's dual worlds. This choice works very well for the boys and men, easily delineating young Nick's speech from that of his richly voiced alter ego in the gaming world. However, the high pitches of several women and girls are somewhat less successful. Still, Onayemi is an able interpreter of this emotionally charged novel. S.G. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine"
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