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Head Games


Head Games

Judith Ellis lives in a fantasy world --- after school on her computer, that is. Reality isn't so great, with her former best friend not speaking to her and trying to deal with a traumatic incident from a few months ago.

So New York City does not hold her interest like her fantasy game does. She's good at it, and she thinks about the Game constantly. It occupies her head when she has no one to eat with at lunch, when she is trying to avoid speaking in her math class, and when she has no one to hang with after school. That is, until one player seems to go after her particularly.

Real life holds some surprises too, especially in her neighbor-with-the-bad-reputation Jonathan. Their budding friendship veers from confusing to comforting to intriguing, but never dull. Judith's long-distance father begins to connect with her through the phone lines. Tutoring ditz Katie then teaches Judith that her assumptions are often wrong and that everyone lives in their own version of a fantasy world.

Mariah Fredericks creates engaging and surprising characters, much like the Sim characters beloved by Katie. Judith wants neat, easy answers like everyone, but they are not available even in fantasy games. HEAD GAMES offers no easy endings, but a reality that is interesting and hopeful.


Reviewed by Amy Alessio on October 18, 2011

Head Games
by Mariah Fredericks

  • Publication Date: August 24, 2004
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books
  • ISBN-10: 068985532X
  • ISBN-13: 9780689855320