Fun premise, but . . .
The premise of this book is promising, and it's easy to see the appeal--a techy twist on the classic quest narrative, 80s nostalgia, an unabashed embrace of all things 'Geek' . . . what' s not to love?
Well, the writing, for one. The book's interesting premise gets bogged down by pages of exposition that makes reference to 80s geek trivia, then spends time explaining that trivia. This gets boring pretty quickly. The writing is pretty clunky in other ways, too, although this has been described in more detail in many other reviews, so if you want to read more about that, head to Google.
The other thing that grated on me while reading the book is Cline's way of writing about women and race. I think this is particularly irritating because Cline seems to think he's a feminist, or at least pro-female. (Google "nerd porn auteur"). This has also been parsed out in many other reviews, and I trust those who want to know more will head to Gizmodo, Vox, the Huffington Post, or wired, among other sources.
As a parent, I'd be fine with my teen reading this. As a teacher, I keep it in my classroom library. I do engage the teens who read it in discussions about how women and race are represented. If you are an adult whose child or student is interested in this book, hand it to them--but also read it yourself and encourage critical discussion. I think an important note here is that it's very possible (and ok!) to both enjoy this book and critique its (significant) weaknesses.
Commonsensemedia, I'm a little surprised at your extremely positive review that doesn't even make note of these issues!