Summary: Buffy is playing a game. However, the game is her life, and there are no instructions or cheat codes on how to win. After graduating high school, a voice called “the text parser” emerges in Buffy’s head, narrating her life as a classic text adventure game. Buffy figures this is just a manifestation of her shy, awkward, nerdy nature—until the voice doesn’t go away, and instead begins to dominate her thoughts, telling her how to life her life. Though Buffy tries to beat the game, crash it, and even restart it, it becomes clear that this game is not something she can simply “shut off” or beat without the text parser’s help. While the text parser tries to give Buffy advice on how “to win the game,” Buffy decides to pursue her own game-plan: start over, make new friends, and win her long-time crush Tristan’s heart. But even when Buffy gets the guy of her dreams, the game doesn’t stop. In fact, it gets worse than she could’ve ever imagined: her crumbling group of friends fall apart, her roommate turns against her, and Buffy finds herself trying to survive in a game built off her greatest nightmares.
What a unique, wild ride of a book! Buffy’s story of trying to find her way after graduation lends itself perfectly to the format of a text adventure game. Buffy must navigate a barrage of choices about who she is and who she wants be, examine and reexamine relationships with friends and family, and somehow keep remembering to save. The book is full of witty touches that will make geeky readers laugh out loud; my favorite is the fact that Buffy has nicknamed her backpack “inventory”, so whenever she puts an item “in her inventory”, that’s where it goes. Buffy’s quest is not without disappointment and heartbreak, and the reader will be rooting for her to fight her way through.
POST-HIGH SCHOOL REALITY QUEST is out now.