I saw this book recommended highly by Kurt Busiek, and decided to try it. I’m glad I did.
As a child, Sadie Green is spending time in a Los Angeles hospital visiting her sister, who is being treated for cancer. She encounters a boy, Sam Masur, who is in the same hospital with a badly damaged foot from a car accident, and undergoing many painful surgeries. He speaks to no one, and loses his pain by playing video games. Sadie joins him and they gradually become friends. Later, they have a falling out and don’t see each other for years.
Later, while both are attending college in Boston, they meet accidentally and the friendship is rekindled. They both still love video games, and each is thinking about a career making them. Sam and Sadie decide to work together to create a new game, and after much labor, they succeed with the help of Sam’s friend Marx, who has the business acumen to sell their game and help them create a company to make more. While they share much while working together, Sam and Sadie still have a lot of barriers between them, and this book explores their journey, not only as game makers, but as people trying to understand each other and the unspoken bonds between them.
This is not the kind of book I usually read, but it’s well written, and perhaps I enjoyed it all the more as a change of pace. Then too, the creation of video games and the fantasy worlds in them, is not far from topics I usually read about, and it was interesting to learn more about that. The human stories are really the core of the book, and beautifully handled, with no easy answers but realistic ones instead. Recommended.