The Cure for the Common Universe by Christian McKay Heidicker follows 16 year old Jaxon, a video game addict even if he doesn’t admit it. When he meets a girl named Serena at a car wash who agreed to go out with him, he feels as if he has just won the lottery. That is until he is sent to video game rehab. He has four days to earn one million points and he will do anything to get out.
The plot of the novel (not gonna write it out, it’s a bit long) is fairly basic. Main character has to do a nearly inpossible task to get what he wants. But it is done in an effective way with some nice little touches by the end of the book. Hey, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. The writing is nothing amazing, but it is concise and clear. Now where the story does stand out are its setting and unique group of characters that Heidicker creates.
A video game rehab is a unique setting. There are constant video game references and the points system and factions are references as well. Even the boss of the rehab is called G-man ( Half-Life if you didn’t know). I love video games, but I am not addicted to them. In reality, I only play on weekends. But to read about those who are is fascinating. Heidicker creates characters that we have seen before, but there is enough depth in them to make them stand out. Jaxon gets stuck with a group of kids called the Fury Burds who are the outcasts of the rehab. Fezzik is the proud and mighty leader, Meeki, a lesbian asian lady who is in for anger issues involving a Wii, Aurora, a very…..different girl who is in for playing too much games to spend time with her boyfriend, Zxzord, a drugie who doesn’t even like video games, and Soup, a hyperactive kid who becomes Jaxon’s clingy buddy. They each have their own unique quirks tha set them apart from typical YA novels. Now, Jaxon himself. To tell you the truth, I don’t like him. He is pretty whiny throughout the book and constantly manipulates people to do his work. Is he a bad character? No, not even close. I feel that Heidicker made him this way on purpose. It’s a realistic representation of a growing teenage boy. He is the way he is because change doesn’t happen within four days. It’s something that happens organically and four days is a very short amount of time for Jaxon to make a significant difference. And I liked that. By the end of the book, there is some progress and the ending,while abrupt, was nice.
Overall, The Cure for the Common Universe was a very charming book. Its unique characters and setting lift the book past its standard plot.
Rating: 5/5 Stars