Parents' Guide to

For the Win

By Debra Bogart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Teen gamers vs. corporations; absorbing but violent sci-fi.

For the Win Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 15+

Learning the Economy through video games

Ever wanted to have your child understand why there is a labor movement? How about how the value of a product can be artificially inflated? Or even how a child in India or China lives? This book explores all of these but sets it in a relatable world of playing video games. The story follows an American gamer and kids his own age in Asia as they try to game the system and make it work. It is set in a near future where video games have become an economy to themselves. Corporations like Nentendo and Coca-Cola don't like it, they want to shut down these black market players because they are affecting the economy of the game, and the game players themselves are trying to unionize, so they don't have to play for hours just for pennies. This book is so smart it will blow the minds of the adults reading it, and give children an understanding how the economy works.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much swearing
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
age 17+

This title has:

Too much consumerism
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (8):

Fast-paced with brilliant and likable characters from all over the globe, even non-gamers will fall into this idealistic and multilayered tale of a brave new world. Readers who enjoyed Little Brother will enjoy this new geek revolution, if they don't find it overly long. Doctorow has a tendency to speak directly to the reader in brief lectures to explain Ponzi schemes or economic theories, which may annoy many of his readers who undoubtedly already understand such concepts.

But his strong female characters and sympathetic boys like Leonard and Lu make it all worthwhile for anyone who has ever played a multiuser video game and felt the thrill of being one part of a larger whole, or been inspired by the possibilities offered by the new world technology.

Book Details

  • Author: Cory Doctorow
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Tor Books
  • Publication date: May 11, 2010
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 17
  • Number of pages: 480
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate