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The Impossible Fortress: Book summary and reviews of The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak

The Impossible Fortress

by Jason Rekulak

The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak X
The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2017
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

A dazzling debut novel - at once a charming romance and a moving coming-of-age story - about what happens when a fourteen-year old boy pretends to seduce a girl to steal a copy of Playboy but then discovers she is his computer-loving soulmate.

Billy Marvin's first love was a computer. Then he met Mary Zelinsky.

Do you remember your first love?

The Impossible Fortress begins with a magazine…The year is 1987 and Playboy has just published scandalous photographs of Vanna White, from the popular TV game show Wheel of Fortune. For three teenage boys - Billy, Alf, and Clark - who are desperately uneducated in the ways of women, the magazine is somewhat of a Holy Grail: priceless beyond measure and impossible to attain. So, they hatch a plan to steal it.

The heist will be fraught with peril: a locked building, intrepid police officers, rusty fire escapes, leaps across rooftops, electronic alarm systems, and a hyperactive Shih Tzu named Arnold Schwarzenegger. Failed attempt after failed attempt leads them to a genius master plan - they'll swipe the security code to Zelinsky's convenience store by seducing the owner's daughter, Mary Zelinsky. It becomes Billy's mission to befriend her and get the information by any means necessary. But Mary isn't your average teenage girl. She's a computer loving, expert coder, already strides ahead of Billy in ability, with a wry sense of humor and a hidden, big heart. But what starts as a game to win Mary's affection leaves Billy with a gut-wrenching choice: deceive the girl who may well be his first love or break a promise to his best friends.

At its heart, The Impossible Fortress is a tender exploration of young love, true friends, and the confusing realities of male adolescence - with a dash of old school computer programming.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

BookBrowse Review
Jason Rekulak's debut novel, The Impossible Fortress, is a fun, retro-80s computer nerd gaming romp that ultimately falls flat. The story of a young computer programmer's first love, the book suffers from a stolid first-person narration and an improbable final twist that undoes a lot of good work Rekulak builds up until that point. It's not a complete miss, as it does have some 80s nostalgia and a tender love story, but you can find many of the same elements in Ready Player One. Only three stars for this one." - Matt Grant

Other Reviews
"Starred Review. Rekulak layers in nostalgic 80s references, like a mixtape created by Mary's recently deceased mother, an oblique nod to Beetlejuice, and the wacky group of misfit friends with a "really good" plan. Despite all that, in the end the plot manages to magically subvert the time period while also paying homage to it. An unexpected retro delight." - Booklist

"Rekulak's novel will have readers of a certain age waxing nostalgic about Space Invaders and humming Hall and Oates, but it's still a fun ride that will appeal to all." - Publishers Weekly

"Unfortunately, the criminal caper and the big reveal that follows it aren't believable. Joyfully evoked with period details and pop-culture references, 1980s nostalgia is the only excuse for marketing this book to adults; otherwise, Rekulak's debut is a middle-grade novel all the way. A good one!" - Kirkus

"A love letter to the 1980s, adolescence, technology, nerd-dom, and Vanna White, The Impossible Fortress will make you laugh and remind you of how much is possible when you're fourteen." - David Ebershoff, bestselling author of The Danish Girl

"The Impossible Fortress reads like a newly-unearthed Amblin movie - a sweet, funny and moving tribute to nerds and misfits everywhere, set in a magical time when cassettes were king, phones had cords and Playboy was the pinnacle of smut. Fans of Ernie Cline and Chuck Klosterman - this is your next favorite book." - Seth Grahame-Smith, New York Times bestselling author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

"The Impossible Fortress is hilarious, compulsively readable and surprisingly poignant, a teenage caper novel set in a time where U2 could still be considered a one-hit wonder and pornography was as close and as unobtainable to a 14-year-old boy as a Playboy magazine kept behind the counter at an office supply store. I absolutely loved it." - Carolyn Parkhurst, New York Times bestselling author of The Dogs of Babel and Harmony

"Part love story, part coming-of-age tale, and part heist picture, The Impossible Fortress is an endlessly clever novel about friendship, heartache and computers - all rendered with the bright colors and buoyant spirit of Q*bert for the Commodore 64." - Ben H. Winters, author of the Edgar-award winning Last Policeman trilogy, and Underground Airlines

"A tenderly crafted and charmingly spot-on debut novel...surprising and nostalgic in the best possible way." - Denise Kiernan, New York Times bestselling author of The Girls of Atomic City

The information about The Impossible Fortress shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Jason Rekulak

Jason Rekulak is the publisher of Quirk Books, where he has acquired a dozen New York Times bestsellers. Some of his most notable acquisitions at Quirk include Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and the YA fantasy novel series Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, which has spent five years on the New York Times bestseller list. Jason lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two children.

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