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C.J. Farley
Black Sheep/Akashic Books
281 pages
Reviewed by Sydni Williams

TAGS:  C.J. Farley, Akashic Books, Xamaica, gaming

C.J Farley, author of the national bestselling biography Aaliyah: More Than a Woman and senior editorial director at the Wall Street Journal, explores a video game come to life in his debut young reader’s novel, Gameworld. Set in the fictional game world of Xamaica, Gameworld tests its young characters as they are launched in a battle that could change Xamaica forever.

When Dylan and Eli are chosen as game changers, they thought they would win the game, get the prize money, and change their lives. What they didn’t think was that Ines Mee, the daughter of Xamaica’s creator, would take them on an extraordinary journey to Xamaica--the real Xamaica. When they all arrive in Xamaica ,they slowly adjust to their surroundings until a tsunami of water comes and whisks away Emma Rudee, another friend on their journey. As they travel further into Xamaica to find Emma, they meet a story-telling spider named Nestuh, a bird king named Baron, and the evil enchantress Nanni.

The beginning of the book was uninteresting, but it became more entertaining as the story progressed. In terms of characters, Ines Mee was too stereotypical. as the privileged, rich girl who had a bad life because she wasn’t given enough positive attention by her parents.  Emma Rudee’s character was much more likeable because she was cool, intelligent, and had an edge to her. Her character twist at the end was amazing!

Overall, Gameworld was interesting and had some unexpectedly good twists and turns. Even though it doesn’t start out as well as it could have, readers should give it a chance and keep reading.


Sydni Williams is a middle-school student in the Atlanta, Georgia area. She enjoys reading a variety of books. 

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