Playing Tyler - T. L. Costa
When is a game not a game?
Tyler MacCandless can’t focus, even when he takes his medication. He can’t focus on school, on his future, on a book, on much of anything other than taking care of his older brother, Brandon, who’s in rehab for heroin abuse… again.
Tyler’s dad is dead and his mom has mentally checked out. The only person he can really count on is his Civilian Air Patrol Mentor, Rick. The one thing in life it seems he doesn’t suck at is playing video games, and, well, that’s probably not going to get him into college.
Just when it seems like his future is on a collision course with a life sentence at McDonald’s, Rick asks him to test a video game. If his score’s high enough, it could earn him a place in flight school and win him the future he was certain that he could never have. And when he falls in love with the game’s designer, the legendary gamer Ani, Tyler thinks his life might finally be turning around.
That is, until Brandon goes MIA from rehab and Tyler and Ani discover that the game is more than it seems. Now Tyler will have to figure out what’s really going on in time to save his brother… and prevent his own future from going down in flames.
*Received in exchange for an honest review*
*Thank you Strange Chemistry*
The characters developed within the book were amazing. I loved Taylor and felt genuine sadness and pain when he suffered during the book. He is a well developed character and someone that it is impossible not to sympathise with. His sufferings are so very real and Costa deals with issues which plague many families across the world. He has lost his father and his eldest brother is battling a drug addiction. His mother is mentally absent more often than not and Taylor is left to pick up the pieces. The game sent to him in which he will be acting as a military pilot seems like the perfect thing to distract him from what is happening in his day to day life.
I also absolutely loved Ani. She is a strong, feisty and very intelligent teenager who is currently studying at Yale university way ahead of her time. She is the creator of the program that Taylor is now testing. Contact between the pair is forbidden by her boss, Rick. Ani is an interesting and exciting figure. Similarly to Taylor, she has essentially lost her father to war as he came back with PTSD and is now in prison for assault. Despite this, she continues with her life although he misses her father each and every day. Not only does she protect herself, but she ensures that her programs are easily accessible to her at all times despite the threat of prison looming over her head thanks to Rick. I loved seeing her break the rules as her and Taylor get closer and many secrets are unveiled.
A book filled with so many twists and turns and excitement in every chapter, this is not a book to be missed. It features military action, blackmail, love and plenty of excitement to keep you turning the pages. I highly recommend this book to everyone!