A love letter to the 1980s and to nerds everywhere—The Impossible Fortress will make you remember what it feels like to love someone—or something—for the first time.
Billy Marvin’s first love was his computer.
Then he met Mary Zelinsky.
Do you remember your first love?
It’s 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 their idol, Wheel of Fortune hostess Vanna White, Billy meets expert computer programmer Mary Zelinsky, and everything changes.
“A sweet and surprising story about young love” (A.V. Club), and a “quirky, endearing, full embrace of the late eighties” (USA TODAY), The Impossible Fortress will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you remember in exquisite detail what it feels like to love for the very first time. Heralded as one of the most anticipated novels of 2017 by Entertainment Weekly, Bustle, and InStyle.com, The Impossible Fortress is a surefire “unexpected retro delight” (Booklist, starred review).
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
This joyous thrill ride of a novel follows three 14-year-old boys in 1987 as they embark on a daring quest to steal a copy of Playboy. And not just any copy: the issue featuring Wheel of Fortune goddess Vanna White. The Impossible Fortress is a giddy coming-of-age tale about teen friendships, coding and crushes—and a love letter to an age just before the Internet changed our lives. There’s plenty to enjoy here no matter when you were a teenager.
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. Fourteen-year-old Billy Marvin's aspiration is to be a premier video game designer. When Billy and his friends' plans to obtain the desirable Vanna White issue of Playboy from a local stationery shop backfire, Billy meets his match in the owner's daughter, Mary, a brilliant computer programmer. She and Billy join forces to improve Billy's flawed game designs in the hopes of winning a contest. Billy's embarrassed to admit his attraction to somewhat chubby Mary, instead allowing his friends to believe he's just using her to get close to Vanna. The interplay between Billy and his loser friends is amusing, and Mary's character quietly excelling at what's viewed as a boy's pastime is sympathetically drawn. A late-in-the-game caper to penetrate an Impossible Fortress ups the ante. 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.