The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak – Book Review

Title: The Impossible Fortress

Author: Jason Rekulak

Genre: Coming of Age, Historical Fiction, YA meets Adult

Blurb from Goodreads

It’s 1987. Billy Marvin, the tallest boy in ninth grade, has just witnessed history.

Wheel of Fortune presenter Vanna White is on the cover of Playboy.

Billy and his friends, Alf and Clark, know that if they can get hold of the magazine, their world will change. For ever.

But as Billy says, ‘No shopkeeper in America was going to sell Playboy to a fourteen-year-old boy.’

As they set out on their mission to find the most wanted images in America, they’re blissfully unaware of the dangers, dramas and garbage dumpsters that lie ahead. And of how a girl called Mary might just change one of their lives. For ever.

My Review

Initially, ‘The Impossible Fortress’ sounded like just my cup of tea. A book drowning in late 1980s nostalgia….

The events of the story took place in 1987. The main character was a 14 year old boy named Billy who had an unabashed love of all things computing, coding and gaming.

Billy and his two best friends were in love with a game show host named Vanna White (from the American version of ‘Wheel of Fortune’) and when her photos appeared in Playboy magazine the three boys dreamt up a scheme to procure themselves a copy from a local store run by a grumpy sort of man named Zelinsky. The plan involved his teenage daughter Mary…

And teenage drama and hi-jinx ensued!

I was really enjoying this book. It had a sweet storyline and the character of Billy was incredibly likeable…

Until he suddenly wasn’t.

The story was sweet and funny…

And then it just wasn’t anymore.

It became uncomfortable to read. There was a lot of fat shaming of the teenage girl. So as not to spoil the plot I will not name character names but there was ‘a twist’ which made me uneasy because of the aspersion of blame towards a certain character and how this action somehow justified very unsavoury behaviour by another.

It really is such a shame because I was enjoying the story. I was so fond of Billy as a main character and really did enjoy the 80s nostalgia. But the latter part of the book just left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

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