Up Late with Genius The Game
When a student stays after class in the second week of school, talking about a book she thinks I need to read, and then hands me that book in the third week, I take some extra time over the weekend to read it.
Genius: The Game, by Leopoldo Gout, tells the story of three young geniuses with different skill sets, competing in The Game, held by a successful young entrepreneur. Painted Wolf is essentially a spy, filming secret business deals and exposing them online. Rex, a computer programmer and hacker, has a missing brother, which pushes him to create people-finding software. Finally, Tunde is an engineer who creates workable devices from recycled goods. Because he’s being blackmailed by a dictator in his country, he must win the competition and build a device that will meet the needs of the dictator while simultaneously undermining the evil ruler.
The book tells the story of each of these players, how they find their way to Boston, and why they want to compete. What makes this young adult book a little different than others is the way it incorporates images, designs, and art on the page and the page borders. There are schematics for inventions, screen shots from spy cameras, and bits and pieces of code. While illustrations are not new for books, this particular text seems infused with the graphic elements, so they do not feel separate from the narrative.
While this is a fairly archetypal hero quest, the characters offer diversity for the reader’s interest. Additionally, there were some interesting statements about creativity and power in the book. At one point, a character says, “we can’t remove ignorance but we can repress it.” Another portion I found particularly interesting arrive in the form of a rebellious group’s credo, called the Terminal Manifesto:
So if you have a student interested in programming, engineering, espionage, or film, this might be a good book to hand off to them. If you’re looking for a fun adventure story with strong-willed protagonists, this might be the perfect read for you.