CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 16 . . . . December 22, 2017
Kat and Meg are two very different teenage girls. Kat has anxiety and suffers from panic attacks, while Meg's ADHD keeps her energetic and maybe sometimes a little too out there. When the two of them end up paired together for their science fair project, Kat feels as though they have nothing in common, but she soon discovers they both have an interest in the online game, Legends of the Stone, and an online gamer named LumberLegs. Over time, the girls become best friends and, through the use of their favorite game, work to develop the best science fair project out there, one with the chance of winning a trip to Ontario. But when Meg doesn't take her end of the project seriously, she and Kat end up in a fight, and the future of their project and their friendship is put in jeopardy.
Priemaza's character-driven novel does an excellent job of showcasing two different personalities within the two main characters and using them to pace the novel. Kat is new to town, shy, organized and punctual with her homework while Meg is outgoing, loud, brazen and has little interest in school. A formula seen in many YA novels, one can assume that over the course of the novel the girls balance each other by teasing out the sides of their personality that weren't there prior to their meeting. While the formula may be recognizable, the story still reads as fresh due to the interesting lives both Kat and Meg lead – family issues, boy troubles, sex, love and friendship are all themes seen in the novel.
Meg, being the social butterfly, develops a relationship with a boy, only to have it end right after her first experience with sex. Kat's granddad has a stroke, and she is the only one able to be there for him at the hospital. These two situations are the pinnacle moments in the novel and ground the story that centers mostly on a video game in everyday experiences and the idea of friends comforting us in times of need.
The online video game, as well as the chat room scenes within Kat and Meg Conquer the World, add a layer of creativity and provide room for most of the comedic relief. Readers who enjoy video games will find this thread appealing.
Lacey Crowie works at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and is currently working on her Masters of Children's Literature at the University of British Columbia.