Reviewed by Nina Longfield

Ralph Stevens dreams of working for the software giant MonoMyth and designing adventure games. The problem is that Ralph is only fourteen years old and, according to MonoMyth, lacks life experience. How can this be for a boy who has spiral notebooks full of game concepts? Ralph is incensed by the rejection letter to his employment application. Then Ralph receives an invitation to visit unknown relatives in England and set up their wireless network. It isn’t MonoMyth, but Ralph sees the invitation as a chance to do some real world adventure research as his relatives live in a small countryside palace.

Thus begins E. Archer’s Geek Fantasy Novel. Ralph is an unlikely hero. He is less than ordinary, living in a non-descript, suburban New Jersey home with his ordinary, possibly boring, parents. Ralph is a boy who does not misbehave. The one rule of the house is “no wishing”. So how does a well behaved, non-wishing boy react when he is given the opportunity of a wish? Ralph soon becomes aware of his parents’ warnings that wishing can be dangerous.

In the ever increasing genre of the young-adult fantasy novel, Archer has created a unique path where wishes come true in unexpected ways. Geek Fantasy Novel is an amusing story and a good summer read full of adventure. Ralph is the anti-hero almost anyone can relate to. He is awkward, oftentimes feels alone, and doesn’t understand those around him; in other words, Ralph is a teenager. He is also funny in his seriousness and he is very likeable.

Together with his three English cousins, Ralph leads the charge through several entertaining quests. An interesting twist to Archer’s novel is the interrupting narrator. At time the narrator’s voiced opinions are amusing, but is sometimes irritating as the voice-over happens at a point of action. Despite the sporadic breaks in the story’s flow, Geek Fantasy Novel is a fun and worthwhile adventure.

Rating: 3/5

Nina Longfield is a writer living in Oregon’s fertile wine country. When she is not reading or writing in her spare time, Nina enjoys hiking in the hills surrounding her cabin.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Scholastic Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.