The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak

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The Impossible Fortress is an absolute delight! If you grew up in the 1980s or if you just long for a time when life was simpler and sweeter, this novel is for you. The nostalgia alone had me smiling from beginning to end. Who doesn’t remember perusing the cassette tapes at Musicland or Sam Goody, or watching John Hughes movies? Metal band tee shirts and those one-hit wonders on the radio?

In Rekulak’s debut novel, we meet fourteen-year-old, Billy Marvin. It’s May 1987. When they aren’t in school, Billy and his best friends, Alf and Clark spend their days eating pop-tarts, riding around town on their bikes, and watching Magnum P.I. Billy is also an amateur video game programmer on his Commodore 64. His simple life changes the day Playboy releases its issue featuring Vanna White, and Billy meets fellow programmer, Mary Zelinsky. These two events send life spiraling in directions that Billy did not see coming.

The Impossible Fortress could have easily been published as a Young Adult novel based on its content. I think publishing it for adults was definitely the way to go here. In a time when life and events are so stressful, we need stories like this one to take us back to a time when things were less complicated. I often found myself comparing Billy and his buddies to the boys in Stand by Me and The Goonies.

~ Leslie M.