The Six by Mark Alpert
Muscular dystrophy has taken everything from Adam, and will take his life. So when a rogue AI program threatens all of humanity, he jumps at the chance to shed his body and become a weaponized robot along with five other terminally ill teens.
Guy In Real Life by Steve Brezenoff
Lesh, who wears black, listens to metal, and plays MMOs and Svetlana, who embroiders her skirts, listens to Björk and Berlioz, and dungeon masters her own RPG meet on a bridge in the middle of the night. They should pick themselves up, continue on their way, and never talk to each other again.
But they don’t. They fall in love.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. Wade only really feels alive when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS, studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize.
The Eye of Minds by James Dashner (The Mortality Doctrine, Book One)
Michael spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. When he hears of a gamer holding players hostage in the VirtNet, he doesn’t think it has much to do with him…until the government comes to recruit him to catch the hacker. Along with his friends, Michael will go off the VirtNet grid to a place where game and reality blur together in a way that will change his life forever. Check out The Rule of Thoughts and The Game of Lives also.
In Real Life by Cory Doctorow (Graphic Novel)
Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role playing game that she spends most of her free time on. But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn. Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong get tangled together when a real person’s real livelihood is at stake.
The Leveller by Julia Durango
Nixy Bauer is a teenage bounty hunter who drags kids out of virtual reality and back to the real world. But Wyn isn’t just another teen who’d rather play than face reality. He’s stuck, and Nixy will risk more than ever before, including her heart, to bring him home.
Insignia by S.J. Kincaid (Insignia, Book One)
It’s the middle of WWIII, natural resources are almost gone, and war is being fought to control the assets of the solar system. The enemy is winning. The salvation may be Tom Raines, whose virtual-reality gaming skills make him a phenom behind the controls of the battle drones. As a new member of the Intrasolar Forces, Tom’s life completely changes. Suddenly, he’s someone important. He has new opportunities, friends, and a shot at having a girlfriend. But there’s a price to pay… Check out Vortex and Catalyst also.
Epic by Conor Kostick
There is no violence on New Earth. Instead, conflicts are resolved in the arena of a fantasy computer game, Epic. Everyone plays, and your whole life depends on how whether you win or lose. When Erik, seeking revenge for the unjust treatment of his parents, dares to subvert the rules of Epic, he and his friends find themselves up against with the ultimate masters of the game: the Committee.
Erebos by Ursula Poznanski
When sixteen-year-old Nick Dunmore receives a package with a mysterious computer game called Erebos, he hopes it will explain his classmates’ strange behavior. He is quickly drawn into the cryptic world of the game, where players must obey a strict code. Erebos watches its players and begins to manipulate their lives in frightening ways. It soon becomes clear the game has a deadly agenda. When Nick sets out on a dangerous mission, reality and the virtual world begin to blur.
Rush by Eve Silver (The Game, Book One)
After being left for dead in the street, Miki wakes up fully healed in a place called the lobby – pulled from her life into some kind of game in which she and a team of other teens are sent on missions to eliminate the Drau, terrifying and beautiful alien creatures. Is this just a game? Or Jackson, the leader of the team, right when he says the survival of every other person on the planet depends on them? Check out Push and Crash also.