Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Head Games, by Mariah Fredericks

Judith has been engrossed in the Game for months now. It's an online game and in it Judith can be a stronger person than she ever feels able to do in real life. But when she discovers that one of the people she plays with is actually a next door neighbor, the Game becomes real in ways that she never imagined possible. And she learns to find some strength in the real world that she had only tapped before in her fantasy world.

An engaging story with a realistic voice. Judith isn't an anybody, but her shy resolve will resonate with young book readers. Fredericks knows how to tap into that psyche, but moreover how to spin a good combination of teenage cynicism with some hope thrown in. The story does begin to drift off tangent at the end (almost as if Fredericks got worried when she passed the 250 page mark and wanted to wrap things up quickly), but her characters are such winners that you'll forgive the sloppy ending.

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