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3.21  ·  Rating details ·  3,048 ratings  ·  550 reviews
When Russell joins Black Arts games, brainchild of two visionary designers who were once his closest friends, he reunites with an eccentric crew of nerds hacking the frontiers of both technology and entertainment. In part, he's finally given up chasing the conventional path that has always seemed just out of reach. But mostly, he needs to know what happened to Simon, his ...more
Hardcover, 383 pages
Published April 16th 2013 by Mulholland Books (first published 2013)
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Michael I don't think they are. In YOU, the dialogs the hero has with game characters is supposed to be imaginary, like the dialogs the Fischer family have…moreI don't think they are. In YOU, the dialogs the hero has with game characters is supposed to be imaginary, like the dialogs the Fischer family have with dead people in Six Feet Under. It's just a literary device, not something that happens in the book's reality.(less)

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Average rating 3.21  · 
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 ·  3,048 ratings  ·  550 reviews


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Caz (littlebookowl)
This is a DNF for me, unfortunately. It has been a while since I've put down a book before finishing it.

I stopped reading this at a point in the story where we jump back into the MC's past. Whilst at the start of this flashback, I was liking it, it just stretched on for too long and I couldn't make myself read anymore. Even the things I started out liking, ended up becoming less and less enjoyable as things progressed. A real shame!

I can see the appeal for people who understand game design &
...more
Lilian
May 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
After five pages, I already had a bad feeling about You (this title makes anything taken out of context sound rude or ungrammatical.) But because I thought it was impossible to make video games boring and unfinished books haunt me, so I decided to keep reading, hoping for some miracle to make this novel bearable. That didn't happen.

You was SO BORING (thanks to the title, I now sound like a toddler). Not even in a rage inducing way so that I can at least laugh about it, but in an incredibly bland
...more
Myke Cole
Apr 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I doubt Mr. Grossman is thrilled to be constantly compared to Ernie Cline's READY PLAYER ONE. Well, he can rest easy here. The two books are night and day, matched only in their root: the cultural debt we owe to video games. YOU is partly a history of game design, partly a crash course in game mechanics, partly a coming of age story, partly a piece of sprawling magical realism. Grossman has done something truly unique here: he has captured the experience of growing up in the 70's-80's in as much ...more
Kris
Apr 27, 2013 rated it liked it
I've seen this compared to Ready Player One in quite a few places, but having read both of them, I ask...why? Because they both deal with video games in some way? It's really wrong-headed, because the two books don't really have a lot in common. One is a science fiction action/adventure, the other is more a contemporary bildungsroman. I suppose if you read Ready Player One hoping for some kind of treatise on the experience of playing a video game and the connection formed between game and player ...more
Louise
Mar 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: video-games
An account of making video games at a fictional video game company. This sounds right up my alley, right? Unfortunately, it fell short of my high expectations. The writing is noticeably sloppy at times, like when the narrator somehow knows everything another character is thinking, feeling, and seeing. Then it jumps to second person perspective for no good reason. Then there's a whole lot of telling, not showing.

This isn't the 80s face-explosion that Ready Player One is, but it does have numerous
...more
B Schrodinger
Apr 17, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
The one star rating is an average for the whole novel as it started at 4 stars and ended at -1 star. Well ended might be going to far as I reached a point where I could no longer stomach the tripe that this author was spooning out.

Firstly this novel was hyped as the new "Ready Player One". No.

I liken this novel more to Coupland's "Microserfs" in that it is the story of nerdy professionals working in thetechnological industry. Microserfs was innovative for it's time and quite enetertaining and
...more
Ben Babcock
I missed my Xbox while I was in England. I had access to one for the first half the year, during which time I managed to be completely disappointed by Assassin’s Creed 3. Then I moved, and Xbox-playing became a faded memory for a while. So when I came back home for the summer, one of the first things I sat down to do was play Xbox—and specifically, to play Mass Effect through from the beginning. I love this game series beyond all reason. Getting to be Commander Shepard—and not just anyone’s ...more
Nayad Monroe
Aug 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mike Etzkorn
Jul 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adventure
You surprised me.

I don't mean that it surprised me in that it was better or worse than I expected; I loved Soon I Will Be Invincible and the buzz around the book gave me the impression that it would be a good read. Austin Grossman's You surprised me because it didn't take the easy roads, the handy exits, the convenient turns that you would expect. It asked hard questions of its characters, and I like to think that the protagonist Russell, faced with an ugly truth about the sort of man he had
...more
Mike
May 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Austin Grossman’s You has drawn some comparisons to Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One from many venues but is a very different beast in many respects. While both lean on the nostalgia factor of readers You trades the frenetic action and bright palate for a more subdued story that occasionally stumbles but manages on the whole to be an engaging and entertaining read. Where Ready Player One is an open love letter to the 80s, You is a paen to a lost age an exploration on how the heart of an industry ...more
Sarah
Aug 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Very readable, but I'm not the target audience. If you are in your thirties or forties and spent a whole lot more time than I did playing video games, I'm pretty sure this will speak to you. I did play a fair number of games, but I got frustrated and didn't finish them. I liked puzzles but not fighting. (My sister, on the other hand, played through Bard's Tale on our Apple IIGS without any regard to plot. She battled and battled until her character was so powerful she could just look at a horde ...more
Mark Hebwood
Sep 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
What a shame. I soooo wanted to like this, and for a while I even did.

I was never part of the gaming community, and I have never played an RPG on-line. But I wasted a lot of my life away playing Doom, Dark Forces, Tomb Raider, Dragon Age and countless other video games. I also regularly spent up to three hours in the arcade after school (p 12), just like Russell, the protagonist in Austin's story. And I remember loving every minute!

So I expected to like this. I expected this to speak to me. I
...more
Michael Scott
Jul 02, 2013 rated it liked it
You is a coming-of-age book, described from the eyes of a boy in his thirties. However, this book is much more about the gaming industry: how games are produced, designed, developed, demoed, and advertised to millions. Overall, it was long and childish, but well-documented and interesting. Your choice, but there's also Ready Player One, Microserfs (but not other Douglas Coupland books), Gamers at Work, Reality is Broken, and Richard Bartle.

I don't think this book is about its story. This is why,
...more
Zac
May 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
+ 2 well done sequences that were very engaging.(E3 and a video game tournament)
+ Some interesting ideas and use of structure(jumping back in time in conjunction with the present narrative)
+ Page turner in the good way when at its best(Probably around 40-60% through)

- About 80% through had lost all steam. There are parts where the author is just popping off pages and pages of history of a video game that does not exist. I was doing the Kindle equivalent of fast forwarding through these
...more
Stefan
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
In the end, I’m going to sum it up this way: You is a good novel, but its subject matter, and the way it approaches its subject matter, may turn it from “good” to “great” or even “life-changing” for you. Conversely, those aspects may also flip it into the “bad” or even “unreadable” columns for you.

Personally, I loved it. I have a list of friends who will probably get annoyed at my vigorous recommendations to read it. With some of them, I’ll keep sending those recommendations their way until they
...more
Nickolas
Apr 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
REVIEW SUMMARY: Provides an interesting look behind the scenes of video game development, not such a strong story.

MY RATING: 2 stars

SYNOPSIS: After years of drifting through post-college life Russell joins Black Arts, a video game developer founded by friends of his from high school. He is unexpectedly thrust into a leadership role and forced to solve the mystery behind a bug that could ruin the new game and have more far-reaching consequences besides...

PROS: Written by someone with experience
...more
Michael
Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
Russell was a nerd in high school but he seems to have left that part of his life behind. That is until he is employed by a games company called Black Arts. This company was the brainchild of two visionary game designers who once were Russell’s closest friends. Reunited with his former nerd crew, Russell soon finds himself in a race to save his job and the Black Arts legacy.

This book rang my nerd bells and I was excited to read this one; Austin Grossman has been working in the video gaming
...more
Kaila
May 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: io9-book-club, 2013
So, I haven't read Ready Player One, which just about everybody seems to compare this to. Austin Grossman has a really interesting Wikipedia page, where I learned he has been involved in such industry gems as Deus Ex, Thief: Deadly Shadows, and Dishonored. He's also been involved in the amazingly bad Jurassic Park: Trespasser (highly recommend the Let's Play) and the game that killed the Tomb Raider franchise, Tomb Raider: Legend. AND it told me that not only does he share a last name with Lev ...more
Ryandake
Jul 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
a fun and idiosyncratic ride through the videogame world.

let me say upfront that i think non-gamers will probably find this dull as dust. but if you've found yourself clutching your controller (or hammering your keypad) at 2am when you really should be doing something else, this book might be for you.

the author writes with a clear fan-boy love of videogames, of their development history, of the stories they sort-of tell. he takes us on a ride through the lives of four game developers who've
...more
Matt
Apr 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a hard one to rate. 4 seems too much, but 3 seems too little. 3.5 sounds about right, but since i can't rate with half stars i gave it a 4 (because I liked it enough to round up).

The story was interesting to read, but the author tended to go off on nostalgic tangents (a lot toward the beginning of the book) and sometimes would stop in the story to describe computer game stuff not really relevant to the story itself though i guess it was just giving some background information on what
...more
Cheryl Hall
Jul 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
Well, I've finally finished.

I'm been staggering through this for over a month now and only my reluctance to give up on books made me finish it.

I should have liked this book as I'm interested in video games but sadly I couldn't.

I didn't out right hate You or else I would have given it one star, there were a few lines that made me smile or chuckle and I appreciated some references to gaming, however it was still a chore to read.

In my opinion, Ready Player One is a superior choice in the same
...more
Ashley
I really, really wanted to love this book. Like, I sat and stared lovingly at it for an embarassing amount of time, letting my hopes and dreams and fears wash over it in imaginary caresses. I mean, just look at that cover. It's a cover that just begs for you to love it. In fact, I partially blame that cover for what came next (the rest of the blame goes to Austin Grossman and his publisher). Ever since I read Ready Player One last year, my desire for what I'm going to call 'nerd fiction' has ...more
Julie
I was a huge fan of Austin Grossman's first novel, Soon I Will Be Invincible, and have been jittering around waiting for some sort of followup in the 4 years since -- so all I can say is finally, and that he doesn't disappoint with this. What he did for superheroes then, he does for video games now.

Basic premise: the main character, Russell, is a former nerd who tried to abandon his geeky origins, only to end up a general failure at life -- he then comes trudging back to his high school friends'
...more
Anthony
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2018
It felt more like a chore to read the book at times than it did an enjoyable experience. I do wish I could play Realms now though
Nicholas Karpuk
From the other reviews I've read, I've noticed that a lot of people instantly compare this book to Ready Player One, which is a bit knee-jerk in my opinion. They're really only similar in a few ways:

1. Both are very deeply associated with video games.

2. Both involve a quest for a secret easter-egg-type object. (One basically gives the finder a fortune, the other use a super-malicious game bug.)

3. Both with bore/annoy/confuse you if you don't care about video games at least a little.

The
...more
John B.
Sep 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
The novel You taps into the nostalgia of vintage computer games to drive an engaging and thought provoking story of an ultimate game engine, how stories shape our lives, and the actions that bring value into our lives.

The (main) cast of characters:

Darren - "was cool because he was tall and bitter and had learned how to smoke and was confident."

Simon - eccentric genius on par with Bill Gates and Steve Jobs -(whatever that means...) It helps that he was killed in a "ridiculous accident" and he
...more
Shaun
Apr 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
You by Austin Grossman:

This book is so ridiculously niche, it could never have been published before now. We live in a world of the ridiculously niche, where something as specific as "Frat dudes who love My Little Pony" have their own conventions and documentaries. You by Austin Grossman is my Brony.

You is very vaguely a science fiction book about video games. It's not really science fiction at all, just fictionalized. It follows a failed law student , Russell, returning to his home town to beg
...more
Chris Salzman
Sep 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Any book that can drop a reference to Elric in it with a straight face--in one of the most touching scenes in the book no less--deserves all sorts of praise.

I've been making some small video games in my spare time with a few friends over the past 2-3 months. To say that I identified with the main character is an understatement. There were conversations and thoughts that I'd have earlier in the week that would then get played out in the book a few days later. Or vice versa. In particular a
...more
Claudia Gray
Jul 22, 2013 rated it liked it
My expectations were probably overly high, as SOON I WILL BE INVINCIBLE is one of my absolute favorites. That novel is a superhero adventure that deals deeply with the mythology of comic books, the way the industry has changed over time, etc. Now, I read and enjoy comics but am nothing like an expert -- yet I was totally swept up in SIWBI. The story functioned as such a great superhero adventure in its own right that the meta element was unnecessary (though deeply enjoyable).

However, with YOU,
...more
Wombat
Sep 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This book has me torn.
The first 2/3 of it is fantastic, but the ending seems a let down.

The beginning of the book is a strange mix of pseudo-history of computer games, mixed with a fictional game designer protagonist remembering his childhood growing up with other computer game geeks, mixed with a RPG-saga of 4 archetypes (warrior, thief, mage, princess).

Some of this is scarily spot on (as someone working in the computer-games industry) while other parts are wildly off. I loved how the
...more
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459 followers
Austin Grossman graduated from Harvard University in 1991 with a plan to write the great American novel; instead he became a video game designer at Looking Glass Studios.

He has since contributed as a writer and designer to a number of critically acclaimed video games, such as ULTIMA UNDERWORLD II, SYSTEM SHOCK, DEUS EX, and TOMB RAIDER: LEGEND, and has taught and lectured on narrative in video
...more
“Computers had their origin in military cryptography—in a sense, every computer game represents the commandeering of a military code-breaking apparatus for purposes of human expression.” 8 likes
“The woman was simply leaving us alone with our future, the future she wouldn't be a part of. She didn't know how to do it or what it was, but she was trying to give it to us.” 5 likes
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