Ready Player One – Comprehensive Review

Transfiguring Adoption’s Overview:

 The target audience for this book would be readers that are 14 and up, as long as they are able to handle some brief instances of crass language and mild violence. The book tackles topics and situations around friendships, trust, loyalty, and teamwork while all from the scope of an online only universe. Readers that have a basic understanding of geek culture will get an extra kick out of this book for the multiple references that are shared by the author and woven into the story.

Readers and Caregivers alike can appreciate the way this author writes if you have an appreciation for and 1980’s media references. The book is set in the near future, but the core story revolves around music, television, movie, and video game references from the late 70s and 80s. This alone can help readers and caregivers bond over the common love for these classic titles. The book also dives into the complicated topics of friendship and romance in the purely virtual world while reminding the reader that connection is one of the most important things in life and we shouldn’t take it for granted. Caregivers can use this material to talk about loss, depression, adversity, and loneliness as well as many other topics that are brought up in our discussion guide.

** Spoilers Could Be Ahead **

How Is This Relevant To Adoption & Foster Care?

Our world is becoming more and more virtual as we sit and watch things become automated and working virtually from home is becoming a normal practice. This book brings that up a notch and brings up the pitfalls that a purely online environment can bring to our society. The main characters have all experienced loss and pain in their lives and are easily relatable to most if not all teenage foster/adopted readers. Feelings of self doubt and loneliness as well as the high experienced with triumphing over an adversary.

Discussion Points:

  • Isolationism vs Community
    The world our characters live in is dominated by living in an augmented reality world with little in person interaction. Nearly everything that is virtual and online leading to an isolated society. After living through the pandemic of 2020 and 2021 our readers can relate to the lack of human interaction and the problems it can cause. Ask your readers if they prefer life being virtual or did they miss the in person interactions we all took for granted in 2019.
  • Instant Fame and Wealth
    Our characters experience instant fame when they start moving up the leaderboard in the competition for Halladay’s egg. For teenagers in the world of being insta-famous or an influencer this may be a dream for them. While others may have anxiety just thinking about the pressure that this would bring with it. Many of our readers have come from nothing and I’m sure have dreamed about their situations changing for the better instantly. It is a common dream for most people and teens are no different.

  • Overcoming Insurmountable odds
    Wade and his friends are on their last chance and everything is stacked against them. The choice they have is to turn and run or stay and fight for what they want. Foster/adopt readers have all dealt with insurmountable odds in their lives and statistics say that this will be an uphill struggle for years to come, but still many have achieved great things. Our readers are resilient, adaptable, and brave when thrown into the worst possible situations. As you work through this book with your teen, consider what is the biggest obstacle your reader has had to face and how they got past it.

    Cautionary Points:

    • Language
      At times the characters use crass language with each other or to emphasize and point. I don’t believe it is not used frequently enough to be problematic, but is something that you may want to consider before letting younger readers read or listen to this book. 
    • Sole dependence on technology
      The characters in this book are solely dependent on technology to live their lives. They spend nearly every waking moment logged in to the OASIS and find themselves lost in the make believe world. Parents of readers with technology addiction issues may want to consider this theme before letting you reader check out this topic.

    • Loss of parents or caregivers
      Nearly every main character in this book has dealt with significant loss of family and caregivers. Some have lost parents to illness or accidents, while another was disowned by a caregiver due to sexual identity. While many of our readers can relate to these feelings of loss, it can still trigger different emotions in each of them as they still continue to process their feelings about their own personal loss.

About the Reviewer: Steve Madole

I am an adoptive dad of three boys living near Grand Rapids, MI with my wife, our cats and dog. We also fostered many other children in the last 5 years! I have done many trainings with the Dr. Karen Purvis Institute and try to keep up on different trauma training’s monthly. My whole family nerds out on comic books, video games, movies and regular books! We often read a lot of the same comics and books which can lead to some awesome conversations!

Transfiguring Adoption is a nonprofit organization seeking to nurture growth in foster and adoptive families by giving a HOOT about their families. Transfiguring Adoption does not intend for its reviewers nor its reviews nor this discussion packet to be professional, medical or legal advice. These reviews and discussion guides are intended to help parents to better be able to connect and understand their children who come from traumatic backgrounds.

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