ECKLEBURG BOOK CLUB | Post-High School Reality Quest by Meg Eden

Buffy is playing a game. However, the game is her life, and there are no instructions or cheat codes on how to win.

After graduating high school, a voice called “the text parser” emerges in Buffy’s head, narrating her life as a classic text adventure game. Buffy figures this is just a manifestation of her shy, awkward, nerdy nature—until the voice doesn’t go away, and instead begins to dominate her thoughts, telling her how to live her life. Though Buffy tries to beat the game, crash it, and even restart it, it becomes clear that this game is not something she can simply “shut off” or beat without the text parser’s help.

While the text parser tries to give Buffy advice on how “to win the game,” Buffy decides to pursue her own game-plan: start over, make new friends, and win her long-time crush Tristan’s heart. But even when Buffy gets the guy of her dreams, the game doesn’t stop. In fact, it gets worse than she could’ve ever imagined: her crumbling group of friends fall apart, her roommate turns against her, and Buffy finds herself trying to survive in a game built off her greatest nightmares.

What People Are Saying about Post-High School Reality Quest

This may be one of the most wildly original YA entries for 2017 – the only book I can think to compare it to (for sheer originality, outrageous & clever humor, and sly irreverence) is THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY (it’s that good – it’s worthy of the comparison). Our MC, Buffy, finds herself navigating post-high school life & love while stuck inside a text-adventure video game. I am not a gamer, but you don’t have to be to quickly catch on to the format (with saved lives/do-overs, etc.) – and to rapidly become hooked and thoroughly strapped into this roller-coaster of a novel. I found myself laughing out loud many, many times while reading this (while shaking my head in awe “Meg Eden did NOT just pull that off…”). READ THIS BOOK. #TeamNarwhal
-Laurie Forest, Author of The Black Witch

There’s so much emotion in these pages and, amazingly, none of it overwhelms the reader. Pain is countered by joy, grief with understanding, the loss of innocence with the mixed gift of knowledge. Meg Eden has written a novel that’s both captivating and funny, one that follows a beautifully-flawed young woman and her friends as they try to understand the complexities of a confusing age. But POST HIGH SCHOOL REALITY QUEST is more than a lovely and unsentimental coming-of-age story; it’s the kind of book that’s destined to stand out in your memory, one you quietly, lovingly, think about long after it’s finished.
-E.A. Aymar, Author of You’re As Good As Dead

You pick up this book.

> Read book.

You start reading the book. It’s about a girl who, upon high school graduation, starts having her life dictated by a text parser, making life into a text adventure game. It’s strange and disorienting and so incredibly cool. The girl can’t seem to figure out life, which you get because most of the time, neither can you.

>Keep reading.

As if you had a choice about that. Of course you keep reading. You can’t stop reading. You need to know whether she’s actually respawning when she dies or whether she’s schizophrenic like the book’s doctors think or whether she has an overactive imagination like yours. You need to know whether she’ll win over her crush and why he has a gun under his bed and if she’ll ever be happy with any choices she makes and whether anyone in the book will ever make a good decision or whether they’re all too flawed and hurting and real for that.

>Keep reading.
>Keep reading.
>Keep reading.

Are you sure? It’s not too dark and depressing?

>KEEP READING!

You keep reading. You can’t turn the pages fast enough. You need to know what happens. You read read read until the end, and then you stare into the void, thinking about life and choices and regrets and no going back and how you just want to hug every terrible, flawed character in the book.

>Rate five stars.

You rate the book five stars. Obviously.

-Anna Priemaza, author of “Kat and Meg Conquer the World “

Publisher’s Information

 

  • PUBLISHER: California Coldblood / Rare Bird Lit
  • ISBN: 978-1945572234
  • DIMENSIONS: 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • PAGES: 320]
  • PRICE: $10.63
  • RELEASE DATE: 06/13/2017
  • PURCHASE HERE

 

Recommended Works by Meg Eden

Favorite Eckleburg Work: http://eckleburg.org/works/books/issues/no-18/eckleburg-no-18-paperback/

A Psalm for Lost Girls by Katie Bayerl

Tess da Costa is a saint—a hand-to-god, miracle-producing saint. At least that’s what the people in her hometown of New Avon, Massachusetts, seem to believe. And when Tess suddenly and tragically passes away, her small city begins feverishly petitioning the Pope to make Tess’s sainthood official. Tess’s mother is ecstatic over the fervor, while her sister Callie, the one who knew Tess best, is disgusted—overcome with the feeling that her sister is being stolen from her all over again.

The fervor for Tess’s sainthood only grows when Ana Langone, a local girl who’s been missing for six months, is found alive at the foot of one of Tess’s shrines. It’s the final straw for Callie. With the help of Tess’s secret boyfriend Danny, Callie’s determined to prove that Tess was something far more important than a saint; she was her sister, her best friend and a girl in love with a boy. But Callie’s investigation uncovers much more than she bargained for—a hidden diary, old family secrets, and even the disturbing truth behind Ana’s kidnapping. Told in alternating perspectives, A Psalm for Lost Girls is at once funny, creepy and soulful—an impressive debut from a rising literary star. READ MORE

Pull Me Under by Kelly Luce by https://www.amazon.com/Pull-Me-Under-Kelly-Luce/dp/0374238588/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488145118&sr=8-1&keywords=pull+me+under

Kelly Luce’s Pull Me Under tells the story of Rio Silvestri, who, when she was twelve years old, fatally stabbed a school bully. Rio, born Chizuru Akitani, is the Japanese American daughter of the revered violinist Hiro Akitani–a Living National Treasure in Japan and a man Rio hasn’t spoken to since she left her home country for the United States (and a new identity) after her violent crime. Her father’s death, along with a mysterious package that arrives on her doorstep in Boulder, Colorado, spurs her to return to Japan for the first time in twenty years. There she is forced to confront her past in ways she never imagined, pushing herself, her relationships with her husband and daughter, and her own sense of who she is to the brink.

The novel’s illuminating and palpably atmospheric descriptions of Japan and its culture, as well its elegantly dynamic structure, call to mind both Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being and David Guterson’s Snow Falling on Cedars. Pull Me Under is gripping, psychologically complex fiction–at the heart of which is an affecting exploration of home, self-acceptance, and the limits of forgiveness. READ MORE

Discussion Questions for Post-High School Reality Quest

1. How do you think the second person structure works in this novel? How would it be different if it was told from first or third person?

2. What do you take from the ending? What is Buffy “beginning to understand”? Has Buffy changed, and if so, how?

3. What do you think the text parser is (real? imagined?) and how do you feel about the text parser’s role in Buffy’s story?

About Meg Eden

Meg Eden’s work has been published in various magazines, including Rattle, Drunken Boat, Poet Lore, RHINO and Gargoyle. She teaches at the University of Maryland. She has four poetry chapbooks, and her novel “Post-High School Reality Quest” is forthcoming June 2017 from California Coldblood, an imprint of Rare Bird Books. Find her online at www.megedenbooks.com or on Twitter at @ConfusedNarwhal.

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Buffy is playing a game. However, the game is her life, and there are no instructions or cheat codes on how to win.

After graduating high school, a voice called “the text parser” emerges in Buffy’s head, narrating her life as a classic text adventure game. Buffy figures this is just a manifestation of her shy, awkward, nerdy nature—until the voice doesn’t go away, and instead begins to dominate her thoughts, telling her how to live her life. Though Buffy tries to beat the game, crash it, and even restart it, it becomes clear that this game is not something she can simply “shut off” or beat without the text parser’s help.

While the text parser tries to give Buffy advice on how “to win the game,” Buffy decides to pursue her own game-plan: start over, make new friends, and win her long-time crush Tristan’s heart. But even when Buffy gets the guy of her dreams, the game doesn’t stop. In fact, it gets worse than she could’ve ever imagined: her crumbling group of friends fall apart, her roommate turns against her, and Buffy finds herself trying to survive in a game built off her greatest nightmares.

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The Editors
The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review was founded in 2010 as an online and print literary and arts journal. We take our title from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and include the full archives of our predecessor Moon Milk Review. Our aesthetic is eclectic, literary mainstream to experimental. We appreciate fusion forms including magical realist, surrealist, meta- realist and realist works with an offbeat spin. We value character-focused storytelling and language and welcome both edge and mainstream with punch aesthetics. We like humor that explores the gritty realities of world and human experiences. Our issues include original content from both emerging and established writers, poets, artists and comedians such as authors, Rick Moody, Cris Mazza, Steve Almond, Stephen Dixon, poets, Moira Egan and David Wagoner and actor/comedian, Zach Galifianakis.

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