Josh Baxter Levels Up by Gavin Brown Book Review

Josh Baxter Levels Up by Gavin Brown
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: February 23, 2016

Video game fanatic Josh Baxter has moved yet again. Seventh grade is hard enough without having to go to another school and make new friends. Josh is tired of hitting the reset button on his life. This time though, Josh makes a big mistake, one that makes him the enemy of almost the entire school. Not to mention that his grades are plummeting and because of this his mother has taken away all of his video games. Josh knows that it is time to get out of this funk and so he begins his own life video game in which he is Player One and leveling up means making better grades, more friends, and not screwing up.

To say that Josh Baxter is obsessed with video games would be an understatement. This kid thinks in video games, to the point that even his metaphors are video game related. Now, I am a huge geek. There are some things that I can seriously obsess over. The amount of books I read being one of them. But I don't think in book metaphors all the time. That would be strange. And it is strange when Josh does it too. I get that he  loves video games, I just felt like it could have been taken down a notch.

Although this book was evenly paced, I found it a little too predictable and stereotypical. Some of the friends that Josh makes feel a little too archetypal or stereotypical. The Asian kid whose dad insists on him making good grades and freaks out when he wants to date someone of a different ethnicity. There is of course, one absent/dead parent. And a bully who is clearly bullied at home and leaves Josh alone once Josh manages to defeat him via video games. The story is quick, full of pictures and video game references, but on the whole, it failed to impress. That said, it will definitely appeal to the reluctant readers and young video game fanatics.