Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The "Did Not Finish" Chronicles: Insignia by S.J. Kincaid

From Goodreads:
More than anything, Tom Raines wants to be important, though his shadowy life is anything but that. For years, Tom's drifted from casino to casino with his unlucky gambler of a dad, gaming for their survival. Keeping a roof over their heads depends on a careful combination of skill, luck, con artistry, and staying invisible.

Then one day, Tom stops being invisible. Someone's been watching his virtual-reality prowess, and he's offered the incredible--a place at the Pentagonal Spire, an elite military academy. There, Tom's instincts for combat will be put to the test and if he passes, he'll become a member of the Intrasolar Forces, helping to lead his country to victory in World War III. Finally, he'll be someone important: a superhuman war machine with the tech skills that every virtual-reality warrior dreams of. Life at the Spire holds everything that Tom's always wanted--friends, the possibility of a girlfriend, and a life where his every action matters--but what will it cost him?

Yes, once again I'm going to be THAT person. The one who couldn't get through a book that everyone else loved. I just couldn't get behind Tom as a protagonist and given how little I enjoy video games and war stories, the only "in" this book had for me was that everyone else was saying how amazing it was. I was counting on the main character to propel me through the parts of the plot that didn't interest me but alas, he could not do it.  

Despite my inability to get behind the main character, I am glad I still made the attempt to read this book. It is a book I know I can recommend to boys because, well duh, what boy doesn't like war and video games? Okay, okay. I know that is a totally stereotypical comment but as a teacher, I can't deny that preferences tend to align with gender. Does that mean I don't try to get kids to go beyond gender preferences? Definitely not. But I also know I will do whatever I can to get a kid to pick up a book so if I have to pander to gender preferences, I will.

Insignia by SJ Kincaid
Published: July 10, 2012
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 444
Genre: Science Fiction
Audience: Young Adult
Disclosure: Advance Reader Copy

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