Thursday, July 18, 2013

Review: Playing Tyler by T.L. Costa

Playing Tyler by T.L. Costa
304 pages, paperback
Published July 2013, Strange Chemistry
Source: Sent for review from publisher/publicist

"When is a game not a game?"

Some of you may remember the 80's movie, War Games, where a teen played by Matthew Broderick, hacks into a NORAD computer and almost starts WWIII while playing a game with "Joshua" the supercomputer. Well, Playing Tyler is a kind of modern day War  Games. At least, that is what it reminded me of. 

Tyler, a seventeen year old high school student, is provided with a flight simulator for training drone operators by his mentor.  Tyler is a gamer and very interested in becoming a pilot. He seems the perfect person to beta test it. At first it is boring and basic but then the missions he is given seem more and more real. He begins to suspect it is not a simulator when the "mission" he just completed is talked about on the news. 

Ani is a also a gamer, programmer and genius who is a student at Yale at the age of 16, and the one behind the development of the simulator. Tyler's mentor is her boss, Mr. Anderson. She meets Tyler when she goes over to install and train him on the unit. Well,  a YA book is not a YA book without a little romance, right? Tyler and Ani seem perfect for each other, but they are not supposed to have any contact with each other. 

There is a lot going on in this one, what with the teen romance, the family problems of both characters, Tyler dealing with ADHD and Ani dealing with college at 16 and, of course, the fact that they may be involved in actual drone attacks in Afghanisan. Despite all of this, the book never feels weighed down. It reads quick and the pacing of the story works. I enjoyed it and think others will as well. It's a good balance of teen angst and drama with the intrigue and suspense of a thriller. 
Happy Reading!

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