*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Title: The Impossible Fortress
Author: Jason Rekulak
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
The Impossible Fortress was a bit of a silly but also a really heartfelt book that showcases the youthful divide between loyalty to friends and devotion to one’s first love. I quite enjoyed this book in all it’s silliness: adolescent boys and their obsession with a Playboy magazine, a mega heist that could very easily go wrong, and the connection of two young people over a love for coding video games in the ’80s. For anyone who loves vintage video games, this book will find a soft spot in your heart.
I thought that this book did a great job of portraying the dopiness of innocent teen romance. The boys are more than a little lost when it comes to the realities of the female sex to a comical effect. The boys’ shenanigans are balanced by the down-to-earth, no-nonsense Mary who is incredibly skilled at coding games. Billy manages to crack through her rough outer shell to get to know the fun and interesting person that she really is. I would have loved to see even more of her throughout the book, although I’m quite satisfied with how her story line played out.
The one word I see a lot surrounding this book is “nostalgia.” I’m a big sucker for any nostalgic books that reference early video games or 1980s/90s pop culture. I think that’s why I enjoyed this book so much. It seems like across the board, anyone with similar interests read and enjoyed this book. If this sounds like you, then I’d say give this one a shot. It’s not a life-changing novel by any means, but it’s fun, entertaining, lighthearted, and heartfelt.