I've never been the most socially adept, or pop-culture savvy. Nor, truthfully, do I ever hope to be. It's simply not who I am, nor will it ever be. I don't get most late 80s and early 90s pop-culture references, in part because outside of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I mostly couldn't be bothered to care, and also in part because the childhood to which most speakers refer when they bring up what they imagine to be a shared collective consciousness of the past wasn't my childhood. The childhood I remember was the Atlantic Ocean and container ships and watching airplanes and listening to storms and learning whatever I could from an old set of the Encyclopedia Brittanica, plus a whole lot of reading, reading, reading, and then later a whole lot of running. I don't have the history I think most readers of this book share, and perhaps lean on as they read. From others' reviews, I expected that shared history (which I lack) would factor into how this book read. As a result, I can't say I had much in the way of expectations for this.
That said, for quite some time Ready Player One failed to meet even those non-expectations. I could not get into the story, and it seemed all the references even I should have enjoyed (Oh, yeah, I remember that!) seemed forced and lost instead.
Eventually, though, the story sucked me in. Weak character development or not, Cline still makes his perfectly impossible plot sail along once it got some steam going, and well, that was fun. I'll even give it a few bonus points for the references I not only understood, but also enjoyed.
[2.5 stars for fun, even if I wasn't in on the joke.]