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Cure for the Common Universe
Cover of Cure for the Common Universe
Cure for the Common Universe
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Prepare to be cured by this quirky and hilarious debut novel about a sixteen-year-old loner who is sent to rehab for video game addiction—“perfect for teen gamers and readers who are fans of Jesse Andrews and John Green” (School Library Journal).
Sixteen-year-old Jaxon is being committed to video game rehab…ten minutes after meeting a girl. A living, breathing girl named Serena, who not only laughed at his jokes but actually kinda sorta seemed excited when she agreed to go out with him.

Jaxon’s first date. Ever.

In rehab, Jaxon can’t blast his way through galaxies to reach her. He can’t slash through armies to kiss her sweet lips. Instead, he has four days to earn one million points by learning real-life skills. And he’ll do whatever it takes—lie, cheat, steal, even learn how to cross-stitch—in order to make it to his date.

If all else fails, Jaxon will have to bare his soul to the other teens in treatment, confront his mother’s absence, and maybe admit that it’s more than video games that stand in the way of a real connection.

From a bright new voice in young adult literature comes the story of a young man with a serious case of arrested development—and carpal tunnel syndrome—who is about to discover what real life is all about.
Prepare to be cured by this quirky and hilarious debut novel about a sixteen-year-old loner who is sent to rehab for video game addiction—“perfect for teen gamers and readers who are fans of Jesse Andrews and John Green” (School Library Journal).
Sixteen-year-old Jaxon is being committed to video game rehab…ten minutes after meeting a girl. A living, breathing girl named Serena, who not only laughed at his jokes but actually kinda sorta seemed excited when she agreed to go out with him.

Jaxon’s first date. Ever.

In rehab, Jaxon can’t blast his way through galaxies to reach her. He can’t slash through armies to kiss her sweet lips. Instead, he has four days to earn one million points by learning real-life skills. And he’ll do whatever it takes—lie, cheat, steal, even learn how to cross-stitch—in order to make it to his date.

If all else fails, Jaxon will have to bare his soul to the other teens in treatment, confront his mother’s absence, and maybe admit that it’s more than video games that stand in the way of a real connection.

From a bright new voice in young adult literature comes the story of a young man with a serious case of arrested development—and carpal tunnel syndrome—who is about to discover what real life is all about.
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  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    630
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:
    2 - 3

Recommended for you

About the Author-
  • Christian Heidicker is an awfully charming young author from Utah. He is the author of Cure for the Common Universe and Throw Your Arm Across Your Eyes and Scream. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. Learn more at CMHeidicker.com.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 30, 2016
    Heidicker's debut offers a realistic portrayal of the difficulty of overcoming addiction, whether it involves controlled substances or video-game controllers. Jaxon, 16, is addicted to an MMORPG; as his health and social life suffer, his father forces him into video-game rehab, but the timing couldn't be worse: Jaxon has just scored his first date. Desperate to get out of "V-hab" in time to meet Serena in just a few days, Jaxon must work through a series of game-like challenges to earn enough points to be discharged. The snarky, expletive-prone banter between Jaxon and his compatriots is both believable and an easy hook for readers who might typically prefer World of Warcraft to novels. But where the novel really shines is in Jaxon's interactions—as a white, upper-middle-class boy—with campmates who are diverse in terms of both ethnicity and sexuality, and who challenge some of his preexisting assumptions. In confronting Jaxon's privilege and complicated family history, the book eschews easy answers for a more authentic ending that promises that the work of self-improvement is ongoing and difficult. Ages 14–up. Agent: John Cusick, Folio Literary Management.

  • Kirkus

    April 15, 2016
    A 16-year-old is forced to face his shortcomings at a rehab center for video-gaming addicts.Jaxon spends all of his spare time playing "Arcadia," a team-based quest game. Just minutes after securing an unprecedented date with a beautiful, snarky white girl, Jaxon is packed off to Video Horizons to cure him of his compulsion to play. Readers will note the irony of the facility's game-based therapy, in which each patient competes for enough points to complete the program. Jaxon, known at Video Horizons as Miles Prower, resolves to win 1 million points in just four days, which would send him home in time for his date with Serena. He joins a guild of apparent losers with whom--surprise!--he attains his points-winning objective but--surprise, again!--doesn't learn anything substantive about how his overreliance on gaming brings out his worst impulses, until a late-breaking confrontation with his teammate Meeki forces him to rethink his assumptions. Meeki, who identifies as "a fat, queer Vietnamese girl," rightly points out Jaxon's many societal privileges as a straight, white guy. While her sharp, laser-accurate truth bombs are welcome and necessary, they're also so overdue in the formulaic narrative that Jaxon's redemption feels dull and unearned.Teen readers deserve a thought-provoking, complex story about a boy who begins to understand his internalized misogyny; this is not that book. (Fiction. 14-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    May 1, 2016

    Gr 9 Up-A plugged-in young adult comedy about the pain of unplugging. In this debut novel, video game-addicted 16-year-old Jaxon is about to play the most challenging game of his life: escaping from video game rehab. His father and stepmother commit him moments after Jaxon meets the girl of his dreams, Serena, who is the first person he ever gets up the nerve to ask out on a date. In order to make his date, Jaxon must earn enough points during his rehabilitation, one million to be exact. It won't be easy, though, as Jaxon needs to connect with his peers in person instead of through technology. Heidicker aptly conveys the reality of today's groups of teens who may be more present in the virtual world than in the world that is right in front of them. The characters eventually learn to look within themselves and accept the help of others to improve their lives. Heidicker keeps readers informed of how many points Jaxon has earned toward his freedom at the top of the page for each new chapter.

    Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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Cure for the Common Universe
Christian McKay Heidicker
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