The Impossible Fortress: A Novel by Jason Rekulak

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“A sweet, funny, and moving tribute to nerds and misfits everywhere.” —Seth Grahame-Smith, New York Times bestselling author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Until May 1987, fourteen-year-old Billy Marvin of Wetbridge, New Jersey, is a nerd, but a decidedly happy nerd.

Afternoons are spent with his buddies, watching copious amounts of television, gorging on Pop-Tarts, debating who would win in a brawl (Rocky Balboa or Freddy Krueger? Bruce Springsteen or Billy Joel? Magnum P.I. Or T.J. Hooker?), and programming video games on his Commodore 64 late into the night. Then Playboy magazine publishes photos of Wheel of Fortune hostess Vanna White, Billy meets expert programmer Mary Zelinsky, and everything changes.

A love letter to the 1980s, to the dawn of the computer age, and to adolescence, a time when anything feels possible, The Impossible Fortress will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you remember in exquisite detail what it feels like to love something—or someone—for the very first time.

Review by Amazon.

“Need a sanctuary book right about now? Maybe a retro escapist read about simpler times that lets you laugh out loud, not overthink, indulge in nostalgia? Well, here you go. The Impossible Fortress is a quirky, endearing, full embrace of the late ‘80s. Set in those promise-filled, early years of the Computer Age. Its clever plot is driven by surging teen hormones and fumbling first love, by bad adolescent choices and a struggle for redemption.” —USA Today

“Full of clueless boys, consequence-free adventures and generous helpings of adolescent humor, all served up with a kind smile…you relish the book’s countless callbacks to the 1980s.” Washington Post

“Infused with 1980s music, pop culture and plenty of the BASIC computer programming language. Rekulak’s debut offers a charmingly vintage take on geek love, circa 1987 in New Jersey… Rekulak’s novel will have readers of a certain age waxing nostalgic about Space Invaders and humming Hall and Oates, but it’s still a fun ride that will appeal to all.”  Publishers Weekly

“Rekulak layers in nostalgic eighties references, like a mixtape created by Mary’s recently deceased mother, an oblique nod to Beetlejuice, and the wacky group of misfit friends with a ‘really good’ plan. Despite all that, in the end the plot manages to magically subvert the time period while also paying homage to it. An unexpected retro delight.” Booklist (starred review)

“Set against the backdrop of 1980s New Jersey. Jason Rekulak’s charming coming-of-age debut about a 14-year-old computer nerd who schemes to steal an issue of Playboy from a local store and meets a girl who can code in the process will invoke pangs of nostalgia.” InStyle

“A sweet and surprising story about young love.” —A.V. Club

“There are few things in this life more satisfying than a book that truly grasps what it’s like to be a nerd—and what makes it so much damn fun. The Impossible Fortress is about video games, first crushes, idols and adolescence. It’s a thoroughly escapist joy in its most pure form.” Newsweek

“Fans of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One — or anyone who grew up as a nerd in the ‘80s. Will be sure to find something to love in Philadelphia-based author Rekulak’s debut novel. About a 14-year old Commodore 64 aficionado whose life changes when he encounters a Playboy photo spread and meets a computer programmer.” Men’s Journal

“This debut novel by the publisher of Quirk Books feels like a sort of spiritual prequel to Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One. With a young protagonist adrift in a sea of pop culture and new technology, trying to figure out his future.”Library Journal

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