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The Impossible Fortress

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  8,793 ratings  ·  1,519 reviews
A dazzling debut novel—at once a charming romance and a moving coming-of-age story—about what happens when a fourteen-year old boy pretends to seduce a girl to steal a copy of Playboy but then discovers she is his computer-loving soulmate.

Billy Marvin’s first love was a computer. Then he met Mary Zelinsky.

Do you remember your first love?

The Impossible Fortress begins with
Hardcover, 285 pages
Published February 7th 2017 by Simon & Schuster
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Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Billy and his two buddies Alf and Clark are desperate. They have learned about the teenage holy grail. Vanna White is in Playboy!

They hatch schemes to get their hands on a copy since it's the late 80's and no one will sell it to them since they are all under the age of eighteen. So they devise a plan to steal that sucker.

Billy's job is to get the security code from the grouchy old man that owns the stores daughter. Mary is a bit on the chubby side but Billy can handle it. (Not my words because m
Larry H
Nov 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
All I need to do is hear that a book takes place in the 1980s and a little alarm in my head goes off that says, "Read this!" Throw in video games and 80s music (even the pop stuff), and I'm totally there!

It's 1987. Billy, Alf, and Clark are all 14, and they're pretty much obsessed with one thing— Playboy has just released pictures of Vanna White. They're determined to do whatever it takes to get their hands on this magazine, which means stealing it from the local office supply/convenience sto
Elyse  Walters
Nov 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was my quick-read 'antidote-book-choice' response to current events today..... (plus hot tea and cat nap).

"The Impossible Fortress", by Jason Rekulak... was a gift a few weeks ago....
......( along with several other books). This book came package with a candy 'Sweet-Tarts'. ( getting in the spirit of a little 80's nostalgia.

If readers enjoyed "Ready Player One", by Ernest Cline.. there's a good chance you'll enjoy this book too.

Billy is 14 years old. He and his two best buddies Cla
Feb 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I would think The Impossible Fortress should be described as YA fiction, although it’s not clear to me that it is being marketed that way – maybe because it’s set in the 1980s and therefore offers nostalgia to those who were coming of age at that time. In any event, the thing about YA fiction is that I rarely voluntarily sign up to read it, although when I do so I am not always disappointed. That sort of sums up my experience with The Impossible Fortress. As I started it and realized that it foc ...more
Suzanne Leopold (Suzy Approved Book Reviews)
Billy, Alf and Clark are fourteen year old boys living in the late ‘80’s. Vanna White from the gameshow “The Wheel of Fortune” has just graced the cover of Playboy magazine. It is now available at the local convenience store and they will do anything to obtain a copy of it.

When their first attempt at buying the magazine fails, they come up with a plan to steal it. They have extra incentive after collecting money from classmates seeking to view Vanna naked. The plan involves breaking into the con
Dan Schwent
Jun 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, 2018-books
In the glorious year of 1987, Vanna White appears in Playboy, sending Billy and his friends in a frenzy to grab that coveted magazine. All Billy has to do is get the alarm code from the stationary store owner's daughter, Mary. Things get complicated when Billy discovers Mary is into computer programming on her Commodore 64, just like he is...

Since my wife comandeered the Kindle to read Anne of Green Gables, I'm chewing through my physical backlog of books. I picked this one up at the Goodreads S
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

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Edit: Just found out that you can play Impossible Fortress, the game from the story, on the author's website! (Click 'play the game' at the top!)

I grew up saturated in 80s pop culture, so I was initially very excited when I saw a copy of THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS available for request on Netgalley. The cover and premise sounded like READY PLAYER ONE, which is one of my favorite books of all time. However, THE IMPOS
Heidi The Reader
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club, fiction
A cute coming-of-age novel about a boy, a computer, a Playboy magazine and first love.

Billy and his awkward friends are in love with Vanna White, the girl-next-door who flips the letters on Wheel of Fortune. When some pictures of Vanna appear in Playboy, they know they have to get that magazine, at any cost.

One problem, none of them are even close to eighteen years old.

This was the moment of truth- the moment I'd rehearsed with Alf and Clark again and again. They'd coached me to keep my pitch ex
"The Impossible Fortress" by Jason Rekulak is so freaking cute!!!

I was smitten on the very first page, and I continued to say that way until the very end. Rekulak's writing is snappy, sharp, hilarious, quirky, and addictive. I love novels that take place in the 1980s (probably because I born in that cool, tacky, and shallow decade). The protagonist, Billy Marvin and his immature friends want a copy of Playboy (circa 1987) which features Vanna White on the cover. Of course the boys are underage
Éimhear (A Little Haze)
Initially, 'The Impossible Fortress' sounded like just my cup of tea. A book drowning in late 1980s nostalgia.... The events of the story took place in 1987. The main character was a 14 year old boy named Billy who had an unabashed love of all things computing, coding and gaming. Billy and his two best friends were in love with a game show host named Vanna White (from the American version of 'Wheel of Fortune') and when her photos appeared in Playboy magazine the three boys dreamt up a scheme to ...more
May 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
2017 F.A.B. Bookclub pick # I.❤️. F.A.B.

Looking for your 80's nostalgia? Here it is! Simpler times, when kids rode bikes with massive boom boxes attached, headed to their local video store to rent their VHS tapes and got their cassette tapes from Sam Goody at the mall. This was a quick read that reminded me of just how stupid 14 year old boys are. Those hormones kick in and all they care about is the ladies and just getting a little peak. Nothing complex going on here, somewhat predictable, but
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those born in the 80's, nerds, anyone feeling nostalgic
This is the short review version. If you want to read about my hiatus and see different cover artwork for this book, keep reading this post here on my blog ♥

★★★★☆       a solid 4 stars.

So, what's special about this one? What do I think you'll like?

★ It's about the late 80's (1987, in partcular)
★ It's nerdy. In a really good way
★ It's about teens, and they are not perfect. Far from it!
★ It's got a fun tone, it's lighthearted, although it deals with tough topics at times
★ And get this, it's got a
Oct 14, 2016 rated it did not like it
Though the concept had potential and the writing was good, I really can't recommend this book. Flat characters, no consequences and more than half of the book was boys being jerks or bullies. It just continues the dangerous rhetorical that "boys will be boys", and "girls are dangerous". I loved Mary's character ... until she just didn't change. Highly important, life changing, things happened with her character and, yet, she remained the same. It just wasn't realistic. At all.

Overall, this book
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Did you grow up in the 80’s? It’s ok if you didn’t because at its core, this is a sweet love story. Doesn’t matter the generation, everyone knows this language - Everyone who loves books and has a pulse. (This is the point where you place two fingers on your wrist). Found pulse? Good. Next question: Were you once a teenager? Thought so. Bonus for the kids of the late 80’s because you’ll remember a few things sprung from that decade. The Commodore 64 and the dawn of the home computer, those earli ...more
Feb 02, 2017 rated it liked it

*Disclaimer: I was provided with an ARC of The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my opinion or rating in any way.

When I had first heard about The Impossible Fortress, it sounded like something that was perfect for me. It took place in the 1980’s, it features a female character who is amazing at programming and creating video games and it seemed like a cute contemporary novel. While The Impossible Fortress did cons
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
In the year 1987 Playboy released a copy with scandalous photos of the famous Vanna White which became somewhat of a Holy Grail to young teenage boys. Fourteen year old Billy Marvin and his friends were no exception and the three boys vowed to do anything to get their hands on a copy of the magazine.

When their first attempts fail miserably Billy comes up with a plan to get close to Mary Zelinsky, the daughter of the owner of the store selling the coveted Playboy that the boys are desperate to g
Lucy Banks
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, in return for an honest review.

Teen angst, computer programming and friendship - all set in the glorious 80s...

To be honest, any book that focuses on the 80s is likely to be a bit of a winner for me. If that same book also features Commodore 64s, then it's a match made in heaven.

The book focuses on Will (or Billy to his friends) - a hapless, gangly teen who is on a mission to secure a copy of Playboy. What happens next is a crazy succession of event
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, arc
It's 1987, and 14-year old Billy Marvin and his two best friends, Alf and Clark, are in over their heads. What started out as a small scheme to snatch (then photocopy) a Playboy from Sal Zelinsky's corner store has suddenly become much more complicated. Now the boys are sitting on a ton of cash (prepayment from their classmates for glossy pics of naked Vanna White) with no working plan in sight--at least not one that doesn't involve serious criminal activity. But Alf and Clark are getting desper ...more
Theresa Alan
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I had so much fun reading this book about three misfit freshman boys. The year is 1987, and Vanessa Williams graces the cover of Playboy magazine. In their small corner of the world, there is only one place in town that sells the magazine, and the protagonist Billy and his friends Alf and Clark devise a multitude of ways to obtain that magazine, despite the fact they are only fourteen years old (they’d need to be eighteen to buy it straight out).

One of their plots is to go to the store pretendin
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved loved loved this book. Yes, I'd read it again. I was completely taken by Billy-Will and his friends Alf, Clark and Mary's world seem so real (and sometimes painful). I knew how some things would end, but I needed to see exactly what path would be taken to get there. There were surprises. There were "Oh, my gosh" moments. There were "no, no, no" don't go there" or "don't do that" moments. I can't wait to meet the author next month. ...more
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Funny, entertaining, refreshing, and very geeky!
You could say it is a mix of many things, but it has its own style.

I am also the current Lord of the Fortress in the game, and I'm ready for a challenge ;)
Karlita | Tale Out Loud
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone born in the 80's and raised in the 90's (even Millenials)
Actual rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

MacGyver, MTV, Wheel of Fortune and Video City; Walkman, cassette tapes, floppy disk and Commodore 64.

The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak was a coming-of-age mixtape story that plays a relationship torn between a crush and your best friends, with a taste of heisty delight, computer geekiness and winsome dreams — taking you in a trip down memory lane while listening to old classical music and waking a vibe of your fourteen year old self living in the 80's
Charlotte May
Being completely honest, when I received an ARC of this book, and admittedly even a few chapters in - I felt that this book wasn't for me.
I wasn't born in the 1980's, I know nothing about video games or computer code, and I just wasn't sure I'd relate.
Despite this, I pushed on, and I am so glad that I did!
This book really surprised me!

It begins with 14 year old Billy or Will, who, along with his two best friends try and get hold of copies of playboy magazine - mainly because the cover girl is Va
Sharon Metcalf
3.5 stars
Initially I got off to a slow start with The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak but the further into the story I got the faster I read. Early on I couldn't work out where the story and its characters were headed and I was kind of put off by the immature antics of the 14 year old characters. These feelings were soon replaced by the pleasure I got from 1980's reminiscences, I became caught up in the storyline which had suddenly become interesting to me, and though I was bothered by some
Book of the Month
What’s More Complicated Than Planning a Heist? Puberty.
By Judge Tyler Coates

Being a 14 year-old, for lack of a better word, sucks. Everything seems to be changing around you and inside you. You have to worry about your future for the first time; suddenly every grade matters (even P.E.!), and everyone seems to have a test for you nearly every day, school-related or not. And then you somehow have to navigate the newly complex social circles of high school, dodging bullies and figuring out how to i
I read this because this was a book of the month choice for last month and I just got around to reading it now, and this was cute. There are some things about this book that I really liked and some things I thought were weird or random or just okay. One thing I just found out thought is that you can play the game The Impossible Fortress on the author's website: when you click "play the game" at the top, so that automatically makes this book way cooler.

The things I liked
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is my 4th Booktopia read for 2017. I am not the target audience for this novel about a 14 year old boy trying to win a new computer/gaming system in 1987 by creating a video game. However, Jason Rekulak writes so well, that I was sucked into the story and was more than willing to keep going until the end. Billy Marvin lives in a small New Jersey commuter town, before the advent of overscheduled kids and he is free to spend times with his friends, riding his bike, playing video games and cre ...more
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
3.5 Stars Video Review:

As a female software programmer with a love of 1980s culture, I was very intrigued when I heard about this novel. Even though the basic synopsis sounded somewhat superficial, I knew needed to read the novel immediately!

Essentially, the story revolves around a group of teenage boys on a quest to acquire a highly desired porno magazine. Yet, the novel manages to hit on a deeper emotional level while still providing a fun reading experience. The p
Monica Kim: Reader in Emerald City
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
“A sweet, funny, and moving tribute to nerds and misfits everywhere.” — Seth Grahame-Smith, New York Times bestselling author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
I had no intentions of reading "The Impossible Fortress" by Jason Rekulak nor thought that I'd love it as much as I did, completely adore this book! The book, set against the backdrop of 1980s New Jersey, reads like a coming-of-age YA book — teen boy, misfit best friends, a coveted copy of Playboy, and a computer-nerd girl. But as the s
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Three and a half stars: A funny, nostalgic love story that takes you back to the eighties.

Billy can't believe his ears when one of his best friend's tells him that Vanna White, America's Sweetheart, is showing her bare bottom on the latest edition of Playboy Magazine. Unfortunately, Zelinsky's convenience store is the only place in town that sells the dirty magazine. Even worse, Mr. Zelinsky is a stickler and refuses to sell the magazine to anyone under eighteen. Desperate, Billy and his two fr
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By day I am Publisher of Quirk Books, where I edit a variety of fiction and nonfiction. (This role should help to explain some of the more curious "bylines" on this Goodreads page -- for ex, my credit for adapting HOME ALONE into a storybook!) Some of my all-time favorite Quirk projects include PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, MISS PEREGRINE"S HOME FOR PECULIA ...more

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