Escape from a Video Game: The Secret of Phantom Island by Dustin Brady, Illustrations by Jesse Brady

Escape from a Video Game: The Secret of Phantom Island by Dustin Brady, illustrations by Jesse Brady, Published by Andrews McMeel, 9781524858803, 2020

Format: Soft cover, 174 pages

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Genre:  Adventure Fiction

What did you like about the book?  Although not the first book in the series, these titles can be read out of order as their plots are independent of one another.  The author does a thorough job bringing readers up to speed with back-story events and characters.  As the reader, you are Cooper Hawke, grenade launcher and all, and are pitted against his nemesis, Declan Redgrave.  The end of each chapter will give you options to choose your course; these dictate where your next adventure lies or will kill you.  With numerous choices and adventures, this title could be read multiple times with multiple plots.  “Chapters” are short and will be a hit with struggling readers.  Settings change rapidly as the story progresses and add vitality to the ever-changing storyline.  The book begins with information on how to read the text and gives the readers hints.  Solutions  are provided at the end of the work.  A website is given that will help readers decode the clues given throughout the text.  A must have for fans and lovers of puzzles.

Anything you didn’t like about it? Not a negative, the plot could seem erratic and disjointed depending on reader input; this could be confusing for some readers.  Corny humor and working out puzzles may not be alluring to some readers.  Characters are cookie cutter with little dimension.

To whom would you recommend this book? Readers, in grades 3 and up who enjoy adventure books with puzzles, or enjoyed other titles in the series, would like this title.  

Who should buy this book? This would be a good purchase for upper elementary and middle schools or public libraries that cannot get enough Choose-Your-Own-Adventure titles.  

Where would you shelve it? Adventure Fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  I feel that this title would reside near the top of the “to read” pile.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Elena Schuck, Nathaniel H. Wixon School Library, Dennis, Massachusetts

Date of review: December 17, 2020

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