Fangirls Unleashed: YA Books Featuring Virtual Reality

Welcome to another Fangirls Unleashed series!

Today we're highlighting the top YA books featuring virtual reality (VR). Virtual reality headsets are so versatile and have endless uses. At TeenHQ, we have a job stimulator in the forms of a mechanic and chef and our teens had a blast learning real-life applications. Plus there are some features where it looks like you're in a cozy cabin as you watch your favorite streaming network's shows.

To keep with the VR theme, I'm going to be highlighting how virtual reality is used in these books and not necessarily focus on the plot.

Are you ready to go virtual?

Let's put on our headsets and dive into the virtual reality worlds of these YA books.

Ready Player One cover.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

First up we're jumping into Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.

Set in the future (because isn't all VR books set in the future?), Wade Watts enters the virtual world of OASIS that comprises of thousands of planets. Virtual Reality is used here as a contest, with the winner winning the ultimate prize of owning OASIS. In order to win, the original creator debuted a video after his death revealing a series of clues for contestants to unlock.

This book is full of challenges that includes josting and TONS of 80s pop culture references. There is definitely not a dull moment in sight in this book.

Warcross book cover.

Warcross by Marie Lu

Next up is Warcross by Marie Lu and my personal favorite book on this entire list.

When teen coder Emika Chan accidentally glitches herself into the biggest virtual reality tournament that is Warcross, she uncovers a major plot that threatens to destroy the entire Warcross empire.

Virtual Reality is used here as both a game tournament and as a rewards system to have people constantly doing things for the greater good. If you water a plant or hold the door open for someone, Warcross gifts you points that leads to multiple benefits as you level up.

Emika is my favorite character in the book, and when she was described as having rainbow hair and tattoos of flowers and oceans, I KNEW that I had to cosplay as her. Scroll down near the end of the blog for my Emika Chan cosplay, rainbow wig and temporary tattoos included.

Otherworld book cover.Otherworld by Jason Segel

Let's explore the world of Otherworld by Jason Segel.

Otherworld is a virtual reality prototype that is used as an escape for people at hospitals recovering from injuries. But when Simon's best friend is taken away when she's injured, he enters Otherworld to find her and to reveal the truth behind this prototype.

The audiobook is fantastic, with Jason Segel himself narrating it and creating multiple voices and effects. This is the first book that I've read where virtual reality transcends from the visual perspective to the actual nervous system. This means that if a person burns themselves in Otherworld, they will feel the burn in real-time.

Bluescreen book cover.

Bluescreen by Dan Wells

Now we enter the world of Bluescreen by Dan Wells.

Bluescreen is an insanely unique concept on the topic of virtual reality. Overworld is where a group of semi-professional friends gather to play with the hopes of going professional. The virtual reality headset is inserted directly into the brain, called djinnis. One of the friends is the wealthy daughter of a company that produces Bluescreen, which is an attachment to your djinnis that becomes a virtual reality drug and affects the person. When Mari, pictured on the cover with her bionic arm, hacks into Bluescreen, she discovers a sinister piece of that world that could threaten their very lives.

Bluescreen is packed full of diverse characters, with characters heralding from Mexico to China to India. With the group's motto being "play crazy", you know that you are in for an exciting read.

Rush book cover.

Rush by Eve Silver

Last on our list is Rush by Eve Silver.

If you like video games, then you'll love Rush. Virtual Reality is used here as a life-or-death game.

Miki Jones gets hit by a truck while pushing a little girl to safety, only to wake up in a virtual reality world. In this world she has to battle real-life aliens and if she dies in the game, she dies in real life. No pressure right?

Sci-fi fans will love this action-packed book filled with alien battles that leads to a shocking reveal at the end.

We've reached the end of our virtual reality journey. Did you have fun? Then let's take off our VR headset and place a hold on one or all of these books.

Keep up the digital theme by placing an electronic holds on any of these books, which are available as both an eBook and eAudiobook. This is basically literary VR in that you can check out books from the comforts of your home.

Until next time, happy readings!

Fun Fact

Did you know that we have 95 languages in our collection? Yes friends, the diversity of San Jose is reflected in our collection. We have books for every ages. I was scrolling through our Children Language collection and I was delighted to see a variety of languages that we offer. We have books in Khmer for our Cambodian patrons and even Amharic which is the language that my Ethiopian patrons have introduced me to during my time at Bascom Branch Library. Yay for our large language collection!

Who am I?

Alyssa is a founding member of Fangirls Unleashed. Our mission is to show our patrons what's trending in the young adult world and local conventions and how to explore those interests through the San Jose Public Library. Her work has included presenting on the Graphic Novel Making Contest at the California Library Association Conference, presenting on SJ Engage at the Young Adult Library Services Association Conference, and as both a Guest and Guest Cosplayer at the Santa Clara City Library Comic Con. When she's not blogging you can find her sipping on an iced coffee, reading the latest YA book, or cosplaying at a local convention. Follow her on her Fangirls Unleashed social media channels down below to see her recommended #What'sNewAtTheLibrary for young adult reads.

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