The Impossible Fortress

The Impossible Fortress

A Novel

Book - 2017
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Billy Marvin's first love was a computer. Then he met Mary Zelinsky. Do you remember your first love? 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.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2017
ISBN: 9781501144417
Branch Call Number: REKULAK
Characteristics: 285 pages ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

"Strongly recommended for fans of nerd culture and 1980s throwbacks such as Stranger Things, though Billy’s wry narration and the novel’s crazy shenanigans may draw in a broader audience of readers looking for irreverent humor."

Nominated for Young Adult Award

"In 1987, 14-year-old Billy’s obsession with learning computer programming hits a fever pitch when he meets Mary, who’s way above his skill level. Crude humor and misfit characters make this an unexpected delight." --Booklist

From the critics

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Sep 06, 2018

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which is rife with nerdy 80s references and geek humour. I don't know how appealing it would be to someone who didn't live in that era, or who wasn't/isn't a geek, but it definitely spoke to me. Realistic, appealing characters, a fun and unpredictable plot, and pure nostalgia make this a great, fun read.

Jun 01, 2018

I liked this book. As someone who grew up in the computer age described in this book, not to mention wanting to be a computer programmer myself, I could relate to a lot of what the author was writing about. If you've ever had an interest in what it was like to grow up in the 80ies when computers were just starting to take their hold, give this book a read.

JessicaGma Mar 07, 2018

I randomly found this on a cart and thought it sounded intriguing - it was much better than that! Despite this being categorised Adult, any teen can read this book and enjoy it. I didn't see the ending coming which made it a better tale. Billy and Mary are great computer programming nerds, and the story really captured that 80s essence without too much endless name dropping. Read this NOW!

Oct 04, 2017

The first person story telling in this book is well written, which makes it easy to imagine the main character rattling off the happenings of the book. The story is fast paced, and the references to the 1980's aren't over done. Instead of just name drops of information, the descriptive references drew out my feelings and laughter for having been in similar situations.

I did not see the end coming at all, and was left a bit disappointed. But perhaps, that is a great part of the writing because the end was anything but predictable. I am torn on my review score. With that said, If you have found this book in your search I definitely recommend it!

Sep 04, 2017

Great young adult story about two misfits who can code way before being a nerd was cool. Remember when 14-year-old boys tried to catch glimpses of Playboy? Well, three friends take it beyond goofy kid antics when they try to steal a copy from a local store, where their antics create much more than they expected.

May 28, 2017

I really enjoyed this nerdy tale about three misfit high school boys plotting a clandestine convenience store heist to steal a copy of a Playboy magazine featuring Vanna White. Filled with enough geeky 1980's nostalgia to entertain even the most die-hard *Ready Player One* fan, this funny novel is a real treat. I especially loved all of the little details about C64 game programming in BASIC and 6510 Assembly. For bonus points, there's an incredibly awkward geek romance featuring an unlikely pair of anti-social teenagers.

May 09, 2017

A quick read with a sweet love story, appropriate for younger teens to read. For any adults reading it - the book may bring on some 80s nostalgia for you, and you'll breeze through it in a weekend.

multcolib_karene Mar 12, 2017

If you want to immerse yourself in the 1980s in a fast, easy read. Teens would be an even better audience for this book.

Beatricksy Jan 20, 2017

You remember Netflix's Stranger Things, before it got all Men in Blacky? It was a love letter to the 80s, right? With Dungeons & Dragons and kids on bikes and waffles? That's this book. A love letter to a decade. It's about a bunch of 14-year-old boys trying to get their hands on a Playboy magazine so they can drool over Vanna White, so it's not high class literature. But it's light, goofy, and somehow innocent, approaching first love in a charming, if a little bizarre, way. It's sweet. Silly, but sweet. A beach read, something to enjoy as a palate cleanser between your heavy novels.


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May 09, 2017

KatG1983 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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