Published by Random House Children's Books in February 2012
It's just another lunch time on the Chairs of Doom outside Mr Trench's office. I'm sort of a permanent fixture here. If the chairs weren't so wobbly, I 'd probably have grown roots by now. Maybe when I finally leave school, once I've scraped GCSE's and limped through enough sixth form to make Mum (and my boffin friend Jess) happy, they'll put a plaque against the exposed bricks where my head is resting now.
What if you could change your friends' lives and loves through the settings of a computer game...?
Lex Murphy's group of friends have all dated, hated, ignored and lusted after each other for the last few years. If only there was a way of matching people perfectly to avoid all the unrequited love, dumping and drama! Then Lex's friend George is given a mysterious Sims-like game by his software-testing dad which involves building character profiles in the categories of Life, Looks and Love. Lex and George populate the game with avatars for all their mates, making a few 'wishful thinking' adjustments to the settings - and find that the next day these tinkerings have come true! But how long can this new calm, loved-up atmosphere continue?
I really do love the way Luisa writes.She is funny, warm and extremely entertaining whilst behind the scenes she is juggling real issues that affect teenagers at the same time. She sugar coats the morals until you have unknowingly swallowed them and only when you have had time to digest them do you begin to analyse what you have read. I am actually convinced that Luisa is a bit of a fibber - she has tried to convince me she is the same age as me; but she writes with such an authentic teenage voice, I am absolutely positive she is a 16 year old girl with attitude! I swear I haven't come across a more authentic teenage voice and I should know (living with teen wannabees!)
Lex the main character of the story, is just brilliant. She is seen as having issues which her friends feel she plays on a bit. To me, she is a fighter, who just wants to be accepted for who she is and to be treated just like everyone else. She is happy to label herself, but I felt that this was just to cover her feelings. She wants the past forgotten, so that the future can begin.
Within the story, Lex and George discover they can change the relationships between their friends through a game! Imagine if you could really do that! Lex has fun altering her appearance through it too and I found myself wishing I had access to such a game, becoming disgruntled at only having a slimming app on my camera.
The ending of the book, came as quite a surprise. I am actually having to gag myself in order to not reveal the revelations at the end of the book. Luisa is a master of disguise and I had no idea it would end the way it did.
Luisa makes you think about what being normal really is. Society has so many labels for every different aspect of a person, that it makes you wonder who can actually call themselves normal. We all have aspects about us that make us different from each other, so should we be labelled because of them?
If you enjoyed The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, you will love this one too.
I discovered something whilst reading the book; something really daft which I didn't realise I had a problem with until I read this book. Absolutely nothing to do with Luisa's writing at all really; I just discovered I struggle with stories without chapters. How anal is that? I just like the structure of chapters so that I can break it down into sections to read. I wonder if I am alone in my bizarreness! But like I said, it has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of this book. Buy it, it is fabulous!