Review: In Real Life


Title: In Real Life
Author: Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang
Genre: Graphic Novel, Young Adult
Publisher: First Second
Source: Library
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role-playing game where she spends most of her free time. It’s a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It’s a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends.

But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer–a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn. This behavior is strictly against the rules in Coarsegold, but Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person’s real livelihood is at stake.

From acclaimed teen author (Little Brother, For the Win) and Boing Boing editor Cory Doctorow and Koko Be Good creator Jen Wang, In Real Life is a perceptive and high-stakes look at adolescence, gaming, poverty, and culture clash.


I’ve always loved video games. One of my favourites, World of Warcraft, is similar to the game Coarsegold that Anda plays  in this book. This book shows both the positive and negative parts of gaming.

Anda’s mother was worried about Anda playing games online. She didn’t want her to speak to strangers. She told her to only speak to kids her age, but you can’t tell how old someone is online. Her suspicions were validated when she sees strange deposits into her PayPal account, which was from the gold farmers that Anda had stopped in the game.

There are also good sides of gaming. Anda made a good friend from another part of the world, which wouldn’t have been possible without the game. She even helped organize a protest for the gold farmers to get health care provided in their jobs.

The game taught Anda how to be a better person, much to her mother’s surprise. I really enjoyed this book, and I recommend it for kids and adults!

What to read next:

  • Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes


  • Tournament Trouble by Sylv Chiang and Connie Choi


Have you read In Real Life? What did you think of it?


3 thoughts on “Review: In Real Life”

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