The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak

Five thoughts about The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak –

01. It’s full of glorious eighties details (so beautifully accurate that I’m wondering if it’s a tiny bit autobiographical…?).

We played marathon games of Risk and Monopoly that dragged on for days and always ended with one angry loser flipping the board off the table. We argued about music and movies; we had passionate debates over who would win in a brawl: Rocky Balboa or Freddy Krueger? Bruce Springsteen or Billy Joel? Magnum P.I. or T. J. Hooker or MacGyver?*

02. There’s an innocence to this story which is kinda sweet and funny… Which is odd given that it’s the story of a group of boys trying to get their hands on a copy of Playboy.

“She’s sitting on a windowsill, like this? And she’s leaning outside. Like she’s checking the weather? Only she’s not wearing pants!”
“That’s impossible,” Clark said. The three of us all lived on the same block, and over the years we’d learned that Alf was prone to exaggeration.

03. Because it’s a YA novel set in the eighties, I’m concerned that it won’t reach an appreciative audience (because YA) and it won’t be appreciated by its intended audience (where do Millennials stand on the eighties – daggy? Retro? What’s the eighties?).

04. The dialogue between the boys is well done. Nice to see a YA book about ‘relationships’ (with a male focus), fills a niche.

“How about U2?” Clark suggested. Alf shook his head. “One-hit wonder,” he said dismissively. “I’m thinking Cutting Crew.”

05. There’s a whole bunch of stuff about computer coding in this story (it’s actually a critical part of the plot). Anyhoo, I know nothing about coding but I love the fact that the fictional game the characters talk about, was actually made. Cool beans.

3.5/5 Will be sending this book by the way of my 15-year-old son. Yes, even though it’s about Playboy.

I received my copy of The Impossible Fortress from the publisher, Faber & Faber, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

*Balboa, Springsteen, Magnum

The three friends snack on pop tarts – try these homemade ones.



11 responses

  1. “Because it’s a YA novel set in the eighties, I’m concerned that it won’t reach an appreciative audience (because YA) and it won’t be appreciated by its intended audience”

    Didn’t hurt Ready Player One! That was steeped in DEEP 80’s references and it felt like it was written for 12-year-olds.

  2. I think ‘typical’ 15 year olds would find 1980s Playboys pretty innocent. Can’t imagine Monopoly games going for days, they can’t have been very aggressive property buyers.

    • The story is based on a factual Playboy cover girl (Vanna White) and the pictures are quite innocent. Agree about toddy’s standards versus eighties – I think music video clips today are more pornographic than an eighties Playboy.
      My brother and I had some marathon Monopoly games but they usually ended in a punch-up before the day was out (and yet we kept agreeing to play 😁).

  3. I’ve been toying with whether to pick this up or not. I was an 80’s child, but not into video games or computers at all. But I do like the quotes you shared!

  4. hahaha I’ve been seeing this book around everywhere because it’s a Book of the Month club pick but I had NO Idea it was about Playboy. Too funny.

  5. By a narrow margin, I am technically a millennial. It’s weird, I think of millennials as those at least a decade younger than myself. I remember the ’80s pretty well, and as much as it pains me to admit it, have a deep, nostalgic love for pop tarts (blueberry). The publisher sent me a copy of this book and I never even really gave it a second glance, but it sounds fun.

    Also, I am really loving all the ’80s love I’ve seen around lately, from Stranger Things to the remake of IT.

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