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Cure for the Common Universe


Cure for the Common Universe

Before I start this review, I'd like to make it clear that I, by no means, am a gamer. Jaxon, the protagonist of Christian McKay Heidicker’s CURE FOR THE COMMON UNIVERSE, absolutely is. We start off the novel with a brief introduction of Jaxon's life; we know Jaxon is the member of a guild through the game "Arcadia" called the Wight Knights, and spends his days playing video games. Until one day he meets a girl at a car wash who actually seems to be interested in him --- something that in his 16 years of living has never happened --- and schedules to meet up with her later that week. However, his dad has a surprise for him when he comes back home: he's going to video game rehab.
The story follows Jaxon as he frantically tries to make it out of video game rehab as fast as possible to make it on time for his date with the girl he met at the car wash, who he calls "Gravity.” How can he make it out? The answer is by amassing one million points playing sports, trying a new instrument, eating healthy and doing just about anything except playing video games. 

“The plotline [of CURE FOR THE COMMON UNIVERSE] was original, well-constructed and went above and beyond what most young adult novels aim to be.”

From beginning to end, this novel was full of twists and turns that always added to the depth of the story. Characters like Soup and Meeki will make you want to laugh and experience their emotions, but sometimes will make you want to rip your hair out in anguish (figuratively, of course). I thought that the actual development of Jaxon trying to get points quickly was really fun to read about. Although if I had one complaint about this book, it's that it would be impossible for Jaxon to accumulate points as fast as he did in the novel. Similarly, while video game rehabilitation centers are real and emerging in America, it was perhaps a little strange for me to first learn about them through a work of fiction where people were released according to points (I can't say it's a bad idea though!).
I did end up forgetting about the whole point system after a while because I became really immersed in Jaxon and his friends. I ended up really wondering if Jaxon would get to one million before his date with Gravity and the huge plot twist that happens afterwards really made up for any problem I had with the book.
In the end, this isn't just a story about a kid going to video game rehab. I think there's actually much more to it --- CURE FOR THE COMMON UNIVERSE teaches that everything happens for a reason, and that sometimes when things go wrong, it really is for the best. The plotline was original, well-constructed and went above and beyond what most young adult novels aim to be. I highly recommend this novel for summer reading that you simply won't forget.

Reviewed by Rachel D., Teen Board Member on June 20, 2016

Cure for the Common Universe
by Christian McKay Heidicker

  • Publication Date: June 13, 2017
  • Genres: Family, Fiction, Social Issues
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 148145028X
  • ISBN-13: 9781481450287