In sixth grade, Logan Styles was a game show contestant with all the right answers. Two years later, the move to his grandmother’s suburban L.A. home wasn’t his idea, but his show-business father took a job in New York and didn’t leave him a choice. Logan certainly wouldn’t have chosen Thousand Oaks, where boredom and new-kid obscurity pose a hazard to his health…until he discovers the DVR attached to his television records shows before they air.
Suddenly able to “predict” the scores of ballgames, the outcome of reality shows and even the weather, Logan becomes a breakout hit among Sunset Ridge Middle School’s most popular crowd. But his digital ESP comes with a burden. As he learns the DVR’s downside, Logan will have to answer a question tougher than anything he faced on the game show: Is having all the answers all the time everything it’s cracked up to be?
I think at some point in our lives, we all wish we could predict the future, see what tomorrow holds, and possibly get rich doing it. In Field’s latest novel, Instant Preplay, that’s exactly what Logan Styles gets—a DVR that shows tomorrows news—but with this great insight also comes great responsibility, as Logan soon finds out.
I think this MG novel is great for children and parents alike, with its sound morals and enticing plot, it’s sure to keep kids interest as well as teach them a few important things, like that fact that true friendship is more important than popularity and fame isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. Likewise, parents will enjoy having this clean read as something their child will enjoy—it’s easy to read and I’d say most kids up to age 14 will probably really enjoy this story.
While MG books aren’t necessarily my favorite genre, I always enjoy a clean read that I can recommend to my students, especially when I know they’ll get even more out of it that I do. And the antics of Logan, Patrick, and Ronnie are enticing enough that I really think this is a must read for the younger generations.
Personally, I was really able to connect with one of the instances in the novel regarding report cards. Not the ones you’re thinking of, but ones that rate a girl’s beauty and popularity. I think it’s almost a (terrible) rite of passage in middle school for children. I don’t know why they think it’s such a great idea, but it happens a lot in middle school. When I was in 8th grade, the boys in 7th rated some the girls in 7th and 8th, just like the report cards in Instant Preplay, and while I have no idea if I was even on the list (probably not), I do remember overhearing that the boys rated girls’ butts and faces. And I do remember it being spread around that if a certain girl walked around backwards, she’d have an A on everything, but her “butterface” dropped her score a lot… yeah, not so nice. Because it didn’t deal with me, I didn’t really think anything of it, but I wonder how it affected the girls on that list? And, why didn’t they say anything? Seriously, middle schoolers are mean. The same holds true in this novel and without the possibility of the DVR and Logan realizing he had the potential to do good and really help others, terrible things could have happened. Honestly, I think it’s the perfect fit for a MG reader and I highly suggest putting this on your “to be read” list, especially if you have kids (I also suggest reading Field’s The Odd Job Squad). Though there are a few typos here and there, in the end it really doesn’t take away from the story at heart and I don’t foresee most readers being bothered by it. Three and a half stars.
I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.