Dashner, James. The Eye of Minds.
8 Ocotber 2013, Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Michael, Sarah and Bryson don't know each other in real life, but meet frequently on the VirtNet, the method of choice for gaming in the future. Their real bodies lay in "coffins" with wiring to let them experience feelings in the VirtNet. Michael spends much more time there than he should, to the extent where he hasn't seen his busy parents for a long time, and is instead taken care of by a nanny. Odd things have been going on in the VirtNet-- a well-known and successful gamer, Skale, has gone missing, and gamers are being found in a vegetative state in their "coffins" after their virtual selves have difficulties. A villain named Kaine is suspected, and before long, Michael is approached by VirtNet Security to try to hunt him down. Michael and his friends are reluctant, but soon realize they have no choice. They are told they need to find "the Path" and that it will lead them to Kaine. After a long and arduous journey that involves much pain and loss of virtual lives, Michaal alone realizes the solution-- and it's not one he ever would have suspected. The first book in a series.
Strengths: My students are fond of video games, but there are few books out there about them ,mainly because they would be kind of boring if they just talked about kids playing video games. But to get sucked into one... Dashnet does a good job of making this an exciting book with lots of action and twists. I think it will be very popular.
Weaknesses: I found this to be rather violent, starting out with a girl jumping off a bridge to escape being imprisoned by Kaine. It makes me worry about violent video games. The ending didn't seem quite right, but I'm sure the next book will explain more about what's going on.