It’s 1987 and Wheel of Fortune’s Vanna White is featured as Playboy’s centerfold. Three misfit teenage boys, desperate to get their hands on a copy, hatch a wild scheme involving a local convenience store. If you loved Ready Player One, don’t miss The Impossible Fortress. Recommended By Mary Jo S., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A dazzling debut novel — at once a charming romance and a moving coming-of-age story — about what happens when a fourteen-year-old boy pretends to seduce a girl to steal a copy of Playboy but then discovers she is his computer-loving soulmate.
Billy Marvin’s first love was a computer. Then he met Mary Zelinsky.
Do you remember your first love?
The Impossible Fortress begins with a magazine…The year is 1987 and Playboy has just published scandalous photographs of Vanna White, from the popular TV game show Wheel of Fortune. For three teenage boys — Billy, Alf, and Clark — who are desperately uneducated in the ways of women, the magazine is somewhat of a Holy Grail: priceless beyond measure and impossible to attain. So, they hatch a plan to steal it.
The heist will be fraught with peril: a locked building, intrepid police officers, rusty fire escapes, leaps across rooftops, electronic alarm systems, and a hyperactive Shih Tzu named Arnold Schwarzenegger. Failed attempt after failed attempt leads them to a genius master plan — they’ll swipe the security code to Zelinsky’s convenience store by seducing the owner’s daughter, Mary Zelinsky. It becomes Billy’s mission to befriend her and get the information by any means necessary. But Mary isn’t your average teenage girl. She’s a computer loving, expert coder, already strides ahead of Billy in ability, with a wry sense of humor and a hidden, big heart. But what starts as a game to win Mary’s affection leaves Billy with a gut-wrenching choice: deceive the girl who may well be his first love or break a promise to his best friends.
At its heart, The Impossible Fortress is a tender exploration of young love, true friends, and the confusing realities of male adolescence — with a dash of old-school computer programming.
"Part love story, part coming-of-age tale, and part heist picture, The Impossible Fortress is an endlessly clever novel about friendship, heartache and computers — all rendered with the bright colors and buoyant spirit of Q*bert for the Commodore 64." Ben H. Winters, author of the Edgar-award winning Last Policeman trilogy, and Underground Airlines
"The Impossible Fortress is hilarious, compulsively readable and surprisingly poignant, a teenage caper novel set in a time where U2 could still be considered a one-hit wonder and pornography was as close and as unobtainable to a 14-year-old boy as a Playboy magazine kept behind the counter at an office supply store. I absolutely loved it." Carolyn Parkhurst, New York Times bestselling author of The Dogs of Babel and Harmony
"The Impossible Fortress reads like a newly-unearthed Amblin movie — a sweet, funny and moving tribute to nerds and misfits everywhere, set in a magical time when cassettes were king, phones had cords and Playboy was the pinnacle of smut. Fans of Ernie Cline and Chuck Klosterman — this is your next favorite book." Seth Grahame-Smith, New York Times bestselling author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
"A love letter to the 1980s, adolescence, technology, nerd-dom, and Vanna White, The Impossible Fortress will make you laugh and remind you of how much is possible when you're fourteen." David Ebershoff, bestselling author of The Danish Girl
About the Author
Jason Rekulak is the publisher of Quirk Books, where he has acquired a dozen New York Times bestsellers. Some of his most notable acquisitions at Quirk include Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and the YA fantasy novel series Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which has spent five years on the New York Times bestseller list. Jason lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two children.
Jason Rekulak on PowellsBooks.Blog
One day in 1984, my father and I were walking through a Kmart, and we stopped to look at the video games. At the time, Kmart carried all the arcade hits that a 13-year-old boy might want — Pac-Man
, Donkey Kong
— but the salesman at the counter asked if we’d seen Ray Bradbury’s new game....