Guest Writer Devin McLaughlin Recommends Warcross by Marie Lu
Every locked door has a key. These words have stayed with Emika Chen since the moment her father said them. Ever since his death, she has been dealing with debt and struggling to make ends meet. The story begins with Emika, bounty hunter and hacker, mere days before eviction, hunting down petty criminals in the hopes of scoring some extra cash.
When she is not hunting criminals, Emika, along with the rest of the world, spends her time escaping reality and living in Warcross – a virtual world created by 21-year-old tech mogul, Hideo Tanaka. On the opening night of the annual Warcross Tournament, Emika decides to hack into the game and attempt to steal a power-up in an effort to one day sell it for real cash. This starts her on an exciting adventure, beyond her wildest dreams.
In the notes about the author, it mentions that Marie Lu was previously an artist in the video game industry and this comes across in every paragraph of Warcross. Her ability to paint a colourful dystopian future is matched by few other authors and the opportunities to apply this to lessons on descriptive writing are endless. Despite many claiming this is Ready Player One meets The Hunger Games, Marie Lu has managed to create something both unique and like Warcross itself, addictive.
I am already using this book as a read-aloud to grade 7’s and 8’s and they are begging for me to keep reading every single day. Whether you are a fan of action/adventure, video games, or incredible world-building, there is something in Warcross for just about everyone. Many students in middle and high school will be pleased to have this on the class bookshelf or used as a read-aloud but, of course, you know your students best.
My name is Devin McLaughlin and I am a middle school Language Arts teacher at Harold Peterson Middle School in Oromocto, NB. I love reading and my favourite aspect of teaching is introducing students to new and exciting books and seeing their reactions as they make their way through them.