The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak | REVIEW

reviewsThe Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak
Published by Simon & Schuster on February 7th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 304
Format: ARC

LINKS: Good Reads | Amazon | Indigo | Book Depository

The Impossible FortressBilly 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.


4 Stars

** Received an ARC from Simon & Schuster Canada for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion at all. Thank you!! **

First Line:

My mother was convinced I would die young.


COVER 🌟🌟🌟     PLOT 🌟🌟🌟


WRITING 🌟🌟🌟🌟     FEELS 🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak is a contemporary YA about a boy who loves computer game coding in the late 1980’s and the girl who helps him create an epic game. In an attempt to get their hands on the Playboy that featured America’s sweetheart, Vanna White, Billy and his two friends devise a plan to get close to the girl that could get it for them without her knowing. What proceeds is a wild ride of love, heartbreak, and nostalgic references left and right!

The Good

Major Nostalgic Moments

As I stated above, The Impossible Fortress is filled with nostalgic references from my childhood, and probably many other North Americans. From video game references, prehistoric computers, songs from the 80’s, TV show references, fashion choices, and the care free way of life!

Rekulak doesn’t hold anything back when it comes to diving into the mind of a 14 year old boy in 1987. It was a joy to read and even readers who weren’t born in the 80’s would still enjoy The Impossible Fortress!

Quickly Paced

The Impossible Fortress reads at a brisk pace. There is no room for filler chapters and other road blocks that hinders the reading process like other YA contemporaries. Everything happens for a reason and serves a purpose to the over all storyline. From the initial plan to obtain the Playboy, to the computer game creating, to falling in love and getting their hearts broken. It all just makes sense.

Rekulak’s writing is easy to read and follow along with. Even when he goes into computer language to explain things. For someone who knows absolutely nothing about computer coding, I was still able to keep up with that aspect of the story.


Character Growth

Billy was a fantastic character to have this story revolve around. He wasn’t an academic in school, he had his flaws, but he knew right from wrong. He goes through major character growth as The Impossible Fortress progresses. From a naive teenage boy he slowly begins to grow into a nice young man.

Even when things were going south for him in school, and his love life, he never gave up to achieve his dreams. Rekulak did a good job bringing Billy to life for me. I was able to connect with him and it brought me right back to my teenage problems!


The Bad

Fat Shaming

There was a great deal of fat shaming in The Impossible Fortress. More than there needed to be. Mary, our love interest was overweight. Billy’s friends describe her many times as fat and gross. I get that they are teenage boys, and that is normal teenage boy behavior, as sad as that is. But it proceeds to be a major description of Mary throughout the story. It was becoming rather uncomfortable as it went on.


If you want a light read filled with childhood references, humor, and computer games, then you need to pick this book up. Let me know what you guys thought of The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak! I would love to hear your opinions as well!

Until next time,




Jason RekulakBy day Jason Rekulak is a Publisher of Quirk Books, where I edit a variety of fiction and nonfiction. (This role should help to explain some of the more curious “bylines” on this Goodreads page — for ex, my credit for adapting HOME ALONE into a storybook!) Some of my all-time favorite Quirk projects include PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, MISS PEREGRINE”S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN by Ransom Riggs, and the Edgar Award winning LAST POLICEMAN trilogy by Ben H. Winters. After years of working with so many brilliant and creative people I finally took the plunge and wrote my own novel — THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS — coming from Simon & Schuster in Feb 2017.

Published by


Jesse Nicholas lives in Toronto, Canada. He is an aspiring writer and one day wishes to have a novel published. Along with writing, Jesse enjoys music, travel, trashy TV, and is an avid reader of anything in the Young Adult and Fantasy/Sci-Fi genres. He is currently posts reviews on the novels he reads on his blog, and spends hours upon hours coming up with ideas for a future stories.

5 thoughts on “The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak | REVIEW”

  1. Great review ! This sounds like a fun book , I’ll have to check it out! Mary sounded like she might have fallen into the manic pixie dream girl trope but reading in that doesn’t seem like the case. It’s unfortunate about his friends and hopefully their fat shaming was addressed

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 😮 You completed it already?
    I keep getting distracted by other books. I’ll have to start over when I return to it. Glad to see you like it though, despite all the fat shaming in it.

    Liked by 1 person

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