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In Real Life - Cory Doctorow, Jen Wang
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

I absolutely love Jen Wang's artwork. That was my main reason for picking this book up. I recently read The Prince and the Dressmaker and adored it. So I was excited to read this book.

This one started off well enough. I liked how it called out some of the difficulties female gamers face and playing with actual female avatars.

But then it shifted to the unfair working conditions for people in China and while the goal was good, the execution of it was a bit messy. The message gets kind of murky along the way. It vaguely touches on issues of Americans thinking they can solve everyone's problems without fully understanding their situations, but then abandons that by pretty much allowing that exact thing to happen and calling it a happy ending. For me, the book just took on too much and didn't present its material in the best way.

However, the artwork was still amazing and some scenes were reminiscent of The Prince and the Dressmaker, which made me giddy. There were aspects of the story that I liked, such as Anda's relationship with her mother and her overall learning from her experiences. The book obviously brings up some really important issues of real-world ramifications, global economics, and the shortening of distances through technology. However, some of the more serious issues weren't necessarily given the weight they deserved and the use of actual mistreatment of people as a plot point muddied the whole message I think the book was going for.

A good read overall, but it had some problems.