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Save the virtual girl. Save the IRL world.

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American Library Association

Eleanor Cameron Notable Middle Grade

Books List for Excellence in Science Fiction


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YALSA 2024 Quick Picks for

Reluctant Readers


From Jessica Khoury comes a high-action sci-fi adventure about a video game AI come to life. Warcross meets Ready Player One in this thriller set in a high-tech near future.

Bullied at school and home, Ash finds respite from his unhappy life in virtual reality games. One night, he spends his meager savings to help a homeless man, who thanks him with a copy of an old fantasy RPG called The Glass Realm.

While exploring inside the game, Ash meets a seemingly humble NPC named Ruby. From the start, she seems different than most game characters, though—especially when they stumble across an in-game quest designed not for the player, but for Ruby to solve. But when Ruby develops powerful abilities that can rewrite the very code of the game, they realize she is far more than a pre-programmed side character—she’s a sentient artificial intelligence who’s been hidden inside the game itself.

Following the quest left for her in The Glass Realm, Ruby and Ash discover she was originally made to power high-tech military equipment. When her developer realized she was a living, feeling being, however, he stole her from his employers and hid her away, hoping to keep her safe.

That safety vanishes when Ash and Ruby are targeted by the Symposium, the powerful shadow organization who funded Ruby’s development, and who would use her to spark a world war to rack up huge profits. Caught in a deadly game that blurs the line between real and virtual, Ash and Ruby must uncover and expose the Symposium’s plans before they're caught. If they lose this game—they might just doom the world.


on sale June 6, 2023

"Readers will be enticed by this sci-fi thriller, which is action-packed and full of interesting, diverse characters. Khoury's intuitive gamer sense permeates these pages. VERDICT Video game fans will love this book."

—  School Library Journal

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