Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
In this YA dystopia, set about a generation into the future, environmental and economic catastrophes have devastated the world, and people have retreated into immersive virtual reality video games. Within the game, there is a famous, but mysterious contest set up by its founder in his will. It’s a quest that builds on his extensive knowledge of 80’s trivia. The villain is a massive company spending all its resources to try to win the contest and win control of the virtual reality game, even going so far as to murder players and their families. It’s a very engrossing story, full of action and suspense, the kind you don’t want to put down.
I do have some experience with MMORPGs, and without that I might have been a little lost at a few points in the story. But at its core, the story is more about a quest and a conspiracy than about video games in themselves. I thought the environmental and economic aspects of this dystopia were depressingly realistic. The ending, with the triumph of the nerdy underdog heroes and a hint of romance, was very satisfying. I really had fun reading it. I’d especially recommend it to anyone who likes video games and this YA genre.