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War Games

by Jacqueline Guest

1 rating
5 of 5
comments: 0
reviews: 2
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death & dying, parents, new experience
list price: $9.95
also available: eBook Hardcover
published: 2008
imprint: Lorimer
Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
14 to 18
9 to 12
Reading age:
7 to 10
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Community Reviews and Comments
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Association of Book Publishers of BC
Librarian review

War Games

This story realistically interweaves the complexities assailing a sixteen-year-old boy and his mother when their soldier father/husband is on a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Incorporating the video gaming subculture, the illicit drug business and life at a Canadian Forces Base high school this young adult novel will attract male readers. Using his father’s absence to gain more freedom the protagonist creates a very difficult scenario for himself and his family. Throughout the story, he begins to transform his thinking about the glory of military encounters with the reality of the actual experience.

Guest was nominated for the Arthur Ellis Award and was a Canadian Children’s Centre Our Choice selection for two other titles.

Caution: Contains some coarse language, descriptions of drug use and very violent video games.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools. 2009-2010.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

War Games (SideStreets)

At the CyberKnights Cafe, Ryan spends his evenings playing his favourite video game, “Desert Death.” There Ryan meets the “Desert Death” ultimate champion and gets enmeshed in a world of deceit and danger that starts to resemble the real conditions his father is facing during his first tour of duty with the Canadian army in Afghanistan.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2010.

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  • Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens Selection 2010
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Ryan Taber's father is about to deploy for his first tour of duty with the Canadian army in Afghanistan. Ryan lives his days on an army base in Alberta, and spends his evenings at the CyberKnights cafe, playing his favourite video game, Desert Death. At CyberKnights, Ryan meets the Desert Death ultimate champion and becomes entangled in a world of danger and deceit that begins to resemble the very real circumstances his father is facing overseas.

[Fry Reading Level - 5.5

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Contributor notes

JACQUELINE GUEST is a Metis writer who lives in Bragg Creek, Alberta. She is the author of 10 previous Lorimer novels, including Hat Trick, Free Throw, Rookie Season, and A Goal in Sight, which are Canadian Children's Book Centre Our Choice selections, and the SideStreets novels Lightening Rider, Racing Fear and At Risk. A Goal in Sight was also nominated for a Golden Eagle Award.

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Editorial Reviews

War Games should appeal to its intended audience of teenaged boys and also provoke them to consider questions about the ethics and motivations of war abroad, as well as the equally important matter of learning to grapple with the complexities of familial relationships at home.


— Canadian Review of Materials - Vol. XV, No. 13


"In her latest book, War Games, Jacqueline Guest has provided us with tremendous insight into some of the unique challenges our military families may face when their CF member deploys to Afghanistan. I was moved by how powerfully and yet realistically the story played out, and I see this novel as an invaluable resource to our teens and the parents of teens, who may be impacted by Canada's mission in Afghanistan."

— Calgary Military Family Resource Centre
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About the Author

Jacqueline Guest

JACQUELINE GUEST is a Metis writer who lives in Bragg Creek, Alberta. Her books are frequently selected as Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids and Teens. A Goal in Sight was nominated for a Golden Eagle Award. In 2012, Free Throw and Triple Threat won the American Indian Youth Literature Award for Best Middle School Book and Jacqueline also won the Indspire Award.
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