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Vande Velde, Vivian.
San Diego : Harcourt, 2002.
IL 5-8
ISBN 0152045600

(4 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

"Don't panic!" Mr. Rasmussen said again. "All you have to do is play the game as well and as quickly as you can." With these words Giannine Bellisaro was left in the medieval virtual reality world alone and helpless. Her quest? .....To gain the favor of the royal court and those who remained loyal to the crown in order to become Princess Janine. It was her only way out of the game. Luckily, the game will give her as many "lives" as she needs, but who likes having to restart a game from the very beginning over and over again? What began as an innocent adventure using a birthday game certificate she was given from her father, turned into a nightmare. This nightmare began when the people from the Society to Prevent Cruelty to Children broke into the game shop and began damaging equipment causing a malfunction in her virtual game. Now, if she can only make the best choices to help her finish the game or be lost forever! (Angela Alberty,, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC)

Booktalk #2

In the last thirty minutes, Giannine has died at least twenty times, and it is starting to get annoying! After all, each time she dies, she has to start the game over! It is really her father’s fault – for her birthday, he got her a gift certificate good for thirty minutes in a total immersion virtual reality video game. Thanks to the great graphics and cute prince in the advertisement, she chose Heir Apparent, a medieval game where she has to solve various political intrigues and other dangers in order to take the throne. She is just starting to get the hang of staying alive when someone from outside the game contacts her to tell her that protestors have damaged the equipment, and now her only safe way out is to win the game. As if that was not pressure enough, he also tells her that she only has about an hour before the broken equipment damages her mind and makes death in the game a permanent experience.

Prepared by: Amanda LeBlanc for South Carolina Junior Book Award 2005

Booktalk #3

                     Do you like to play video games, maybe even virtual reality games?  Well, I'm going to tell you about a character that also likes to play those kinds of games. 
                    Giannine Bellisario has received a $50 gift certificate to Rasmussen Enterprises, a gaming center (like an arcade), for her 14th birthday.  She decides to spend that certificate on a total immersion game called “Heir Apparent.”  A total immersion game is a game where the player actually experiences the adventures because a computer stimulates the player’s brain.  In other words, the player smells the smells, feels different textures as well as heat and cold, and the player can experience pain.  After Giannine has begun playing “Heir Apparent,” where the player tries to be the next ruler of a kingdom, a technical difficulty or glitch arises.  There are protesters outside the gaming center, and they cause some problems.  Because of this problem, Giannine is in big trouble.  Usually, if a player in a total immersion game lost, the game would be over and the player could decide whether to play again.  However, because of the technical difficulty, if Giannine loses, she could be brain damaged or even worse.  Read Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde to see if Giannine can make the right choices not only to win the game but also to survive.  (Karen Williamson.,  Pickens High School, Pickens, South Carolina)

Booktalk #4

What if a virtual reality game could go all too wrong and become a real life survival game for the player? Well, that’s exactly what happens in this book, with the help of demonstrators for virtual reality censorship, who vandalize the computer gaming center while players are already immersed in their games. Giannine is celebrating her fourteenth birthday alone in a total immersion game, “Heir Apparent”, just as this happens. “Heir Apparent” is set in medieval times, with all kinds of fairy tale characters and twists: a head-chopping statue, an army of ghosts, a human-eating dragon, a riddling dwarf (a la Rumpelstiltskin), a magic ring, and more. Giannine discovers that this is no longer a game; she must fight for her life. This tale is “Matrix” meets “Dungeons and Dragons” meets Bruce Coville’s The Monsters of Morley Manor meets Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted: a funny, suspenseful story with Vivian Vande Velde’s trademark originality.  (Jean B. Bellavance for Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Awards, 2004-2005)

SUBJECTS:     Virtual reality -- Fiction.
                       Science fiction.


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