Power Up is the first book in a new series about two friends who play video games together before meeting IRL. Even though I’m not a huge gamer myself, I was immediately pulled into Rhys and Grypon’s story and I am sure the next installment will be just as fun.

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The summary, from Amazon:

This inventive graphic novel that unfolds online and IRL takes readers from the halls of middle school, to epic robot video game battles, and back again.

Miles and Rhys know each other only as Gryphon and Backslash, and in the video game Mecha Melee they’re an unstoppable team. They’re the best friends they’ve got, online or in the real world, and they don’t even realize they go to the same middle school.

But real-life wrongdoing blasts their duo into a crater the size of Arcticon. With life online and off a complete mess and BattleCon—and the Every Game Ever tournament—just weeks away, can the boys play their way back to each other?

Buy Power Up here.

Gryphon and Backslash are best friends when they play Mecha Melee together, but they’ve never met in real life. Little do they know, they go to the same school. Miles plays as Gryphon. His parents want him to explore a hobby other than video games, and when his old friend who is now popular invites him to go dirt biking, Miles is torn between doing the right thing and trying to fit in. Rhys plays as Backslash. He’s the new kid and dealing with some bullying in the aftermath of something that happened at his old school.

When Rhys finds out Miles is Gryphon while eavesdropping on him, he’s broken-hearted that Miles participates in the bullying Rhys suffers from. As Backslash, Rhys terminates their friendship. But when the two boys attend a gaming convention, a tournament there has them reuniting and becoming best friends not just on the screen but IRL.

This story has huge kid appeal and a lot of heart. I’m not a “serious” gamer but I loved the storyline and I adored the references to classic arcade games from the 1970’s through the 1990’s. Miles and Rhys both develop as characters. This is a quick read and so much fun. I rate it 5 stars.

Power UpPower Up by Sam Nisson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a fun read!!

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Book Club Questions

  1. Why does Miles participate in bullying Rhys?
  2. Is the way Rhys handles the situation acceptable?
  3. Have you ever made a friend through a video game or online?
  4. What are safe practices for interacting with strangers online. Is it ever okay?

Interested? Buy Power Up.
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