Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Game Changer by Neal Shusterman Book Review

 Ok I'm going to say it, Game Changer by Neal Shusterman is an ambitious book that blends the genres of YA and dystopia oh so well.

I have to be honest, what first drew me to the book was the front cover. It instantly made me think of the Matrix,  is that everything falling into place as everything changes? Along with the story itself it is extremely original. 



All it takes is one hit on the football field, and suddenly Ash’s life doesn’t look quite the way he remembers it.

Impossible though it seems, he’s been hit into another dimension—and keeps on bouncing through worlds that are almost-but-not-really his own.

The changes start small, but they quickly spiral out of control as Ash slides into universes where he has everything he’s ever wanted, universes where society is stuck in the past…universes where he finds himself looking at life through entirely different eyes.

This novel follows protagonist Ash, a white high school student, American football player, all round good teenager - or so he likes to think. But with one (quite significant) bump to the head during a match, everything changes, well at least for him they do.

I didn't even remember the time between hitting the lineman and getting to the quarterback. It was like I teleported here.

Ash appears to have been propelled into an alternate reality, where for others everything seems to be the same, but for Ash there are some subtle changes.

Stops signs are no longer red, they are now blue. His friends aren't all living the life they were before he got hit, some aren't living at all.

I guess the question now is what is normal?

And if he isn’t careful, the world he’s learning to see more clearly could blink out of existence…

This is a book which has elements of typical coming of age themes, you know the idea of self discovery, growing up. But this cleverly mixed in with ideas of sci-fi and fantasy all whilst following a thread of social etiquettes and criticisms that we all face within this modern world that we live in.

There's this thing called "nature versus nurture". How much of us is inborn and how much comes from the environment?

With themes of racism, sexuality, gender, class and essentially looking at our own morals, Game Changer might not just be changing Ash's world but it could also alter our own perspectives on how we live our lives too.

I don't think Neal is setting out to make Ash a big hero, saving the world from all that I mentioned above. If anything it highlights not that he can change the world but he can at least change himself.

A magnetic novel from the New York Times bestselling Neal Shusterman.

There was a lot of discussion about Black Lives Matter last year and I think what has been highlighted in this book is that we as a singular people can't know everything but we can at least be less ignorant to other people's lives and circumstances. 

You're trying to bring the world back to the way it was, but you have to admit, that world wasn't all that great. What if you could do better?

The concept of this book was intriguing, thought provoking and the execution of that idea was interesting, imaginative and immersive. 

Game Changer is a novel not to be missed.

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