The Impossible Fortress
by Jason Rekulak
The Impossible Fortress begins with a magazine…The year is 1987 and Playboy has just published scandalous photographs of Vanna White, from the popular TV game show Wheel of Fortune. For three teenage boys—Billy, Alf, and Clark—who are desperately uneducated in the ways of women, the magazine is somewhat of a Holy Grail: priceless beyond measure and impossible to attain. So, they hatch a plan to steal it.
The heist will be fraught with peril: a locked building, intrepid police officers, rusty fire escapes, leaps across rooftops, electronic alarm systems, and a hyperactive Shih Tzu named Arnold Schwarzenegger. Failed attempt after failed attempt leads them to a genius master plan—they’ll swipe the security code to Zelinsky’s convenience store by seducing the owner’s daughter, Mary Zelinsky. It becomes Billy’s mission to befriend her and get the information by any means necessary. But Mary isn’t your average teenage girl. She’s a computer loving, expert coder, already strides ahead of Billy in ability, with a wry sense of humor and a hidden, big heart. But what starts as a game to win Mary’s affection leaves Billy with a gut-wrenching choice: deceive the girl who may well be his first love or break a promise to his best friends.
At its heart, The Impossible Fortress is a tender exploration of young love, true friends, and the confusing realities of male adolescence—with a dash of old school computer programming.
3.5 of 5 Stars
Part of the charm of this book for me was how much it reminded me of all the classic romantic movies from the 80’s and 90’s. The premise and make structure of the book isn’t really all that unique but I appreciated that this was targeted at a younger audience. Unlike movies like Say Anything, The Breakfast Club, and Sixteen Candles which are targeted at older teens, this book fit the younger crowd. It still deals with some complex issues like peer pressure, sexism, and class. Billy was an adorable main character even though a lot of his decisions drove me crazy.
Billy was an adorable main character even though a lot of his decisions drove me crazy. Unlike some other young adult novels, he’s a very believable fourteen year old. His behavior is often impulsive and driven by his intense emotions. While I connected with Billy and understood his choices, I found Mary to be a much more interesting character. I loved the way her character evolved and the story developed around her.
Overall, this was a charming book that I enjoyed. It’s not something I’d normally pick up and I’m glad I gave it a shot. I think this book would be great for anyone who is a fan of young adult contemporary romance or for a young adult book group. There are a ton of different amazing discussions that could be developed from this book surrounding important issues that we are facing in society currently like bullying and standing up to your friends.
Big thanks to Simon & Schuster and Netgalley for providing me with a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.