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Living in a Virtual World: Some Reading Material for Your Cyber Monday

For years, the United States has obsessively participated in a shopping ritual known as Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving has become synonymous with bargain basement deals and bleary eyed families standing together in line at obscenely early hours. It has only been in the last few years that this “holiday” has gained an online counterpart, Cyber Monday, another day of ridiculously low prices — but only for online shoppers. 

The emergence of a “holiday” devoted entirely to online shopping reflects just how technology-based our society has now become. And on this Cyber Monday (now that I’ve completed my own online bargain hunting), I thought it would be fun to take a peek at some books that have gone even one step further into the technological void. These are books that have taken their characters deep into cyberspace. Books set in worlds where virtual reality is the only reality…

Epic by Conor Kostick
In Erik’s world, your real life status is fully dependent upon your success in the government run-game Epic. Winners gain money, status, prestige. Losers may lose the farm, literally. So when Erik decides to buck the system and break the rules, he finds himself up against the very Committee that decides his family’s livelihood. 

Erebos by Ursula Poznanski and Judith Pattinson
When Nick receives a secret video game, he quickly becomes addicted — until the day that Erebos asks him to complete a deadly assignment and he refuses. Nick, now kicked out of the game, begins to investigate its origins and soon finds that the lines between the game and reality are beginning to blur.

Feyland: The Dark Realm by Anthea Sharp
When Jennet begins to secretly play the prototype of Feyland, the most immersive computer game created to date, she soon finds that winning is more important than she’d ever dreamed, for Feyland is the interface that allows her access to the Faerie Realm, and the Dark Queen has no intention of letting Jennet leave to warn the humans of her evil plans.

Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde
When Giannine receives a gift certificate for her birthday to the local gaming store, she is stoked! As she is playing Heir Apparent, though, the equipment is damaged and she can no longer exit the game without winning for fear of brain damage. Now time is running out. Can Giannine win, or will she die still hooked up to the game?

Feed by M.T. Anderson
My final contribution to this book selection is a book that truly embraces the fullest extent that online shopping could achieve in the future. Feed tells the story of a boy living in a society where the feed is all that you need. With the little computer chip implanted in your brain, you can get your news, talk virtually to your friends, and yes, even shop in your head … no computer necessary. 

So whether you participate in the online frenzy that is Cyber Monday or you choose to hold off, here are some books that would be a perfect match for the mood of the day.

— Jessica Miller, currently reading Iced by Karen Marie Moning

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Jessica Miller


  1. Don’t forget Ready Player One by Ernst Cline! I loved this book last year (Alex Award title) It’s filled with video game references and although the physical world exists it’s a pretty lousy one and most of life is lived in an online realm.

  2. Jessica M Jessica M

    Yes! I haven’t read that one yet, but its going on my list.

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