Cryptogram Chaos has received some wonderful reviews!
5 stars: “The pace is fantastic. I really struggled to put it down.”
Review by Bri Wignall, July 12, 2016
This is an absolutely brilliant read. It is exciting, packed with fun and brain stimulation, and I really struggled to put it down. I believe this is easily a book that is enjoyable for all ages, from teens to adults. Having a love for gaming is a plus, but is definitely not. Must, for you to really submerge yourself into the world the author, and the team, created.
I loved the variety of characters, from the popular to the geek. All of the labels that kids see and experience daily, are in this book. To make it excellent, the author has given a head nod to those labels and then torn down the barriers, showing how people from all backgrounds and hobbies can enjoy doing things together.
I found it very important that the relationship, between the team, didn’t just click straight away. It was real, and took time to manifest, like a real friendship would, especially from an unexpected source. The evolution of their friendship was done very well, as they became closer throughout, ignoring their previous labels, but they still weren’t immune to real life issues.
When the team tagged together to try and fight the chaos, from the cryptograms to the virtual fight, I found it very engaging and entertaining. I liked that you were able to jump in and solve the problems with them, really making you a part of the story.
The pace as fantastic. It kept a very smooth flow, starting off at a normal pace and then really picking up as the problems grew more urgent, which it thought made it mor realistic.
Overall, this was a fantastic read and one I highly recommend.
5 stars: “The characters are just like kids you might know.”
Review by Straight From The Library blog, June 29 2016
What a fun book! The middle-graders and younger YA readers in The Library will really enjoy it. The characters are just like kids you might know– and the relationships ring true. I loved the fact that the main characters, in working together, get to know each other as more than just “nerdy kid” or “most popular girl in school” and get to become friends.
The puzzles that the players need to solve are included in the book, so readers have the chance to solve them as well, if they like. They start off simple, but get progressively more difficult, just like in the game.
The game itself would be awesome in real life! Although designed for kids, it’s not long before even adults are playing it–and I can certainly understand why. It sounds like a wonderful game–and the idea of having adventures in a virtual world without fear of being hurt.
This is the first book I’ve read by Linda Covella, but it won’t be the last. I love the way she makes learning (life lessons AND puzzles) fun along with a story full of adventure and excitement.
“A thrilling fast paced adventure that immediately pulled me into the action.”
Review by Stacie Theis of BeachBoundBooks blog
Cryptogram Chaos is an exciting virtual reality adventure that takes readers on a wild ride through cyberspace to defeat evil and save the world.
Cody is a high school freshman and like a lot of kids his age, Cody is into gaming. With his older brother employed by a video game creator, Cody gets to beta test new games and equipment. Something most teens only dream of. His programming skills are superb and the most popular girl in school takes notice. Nicole and her friend Kerry approach Cody about teaming up to create their own awesome virtually reality game. Reluctant at first, Cody finally agrees and The Cryptogram Connection is born. The game becomes a huge success, but things take a turn for the worse when Cody makes a deal with a money hungry gaming executive. Now, the game is corrupt and it’s taking the game players down with it. Can Cody, Nicole, and Kerry fix the code before it’s too late?
Cryptogram Chaos is a thrilling fast paced adventure that immediately pulled me into the action. As the mother of two teen boys and avid gamers, I found the story to be well researched and eerily accurate. I often wonder if my boys aren’t already under some kind of video game induced coma! I loved all of the vivid detail and how the author included cryptograms for the reader to solve. It made me feel as those I was experiencing everything right along with the characters. The answers for the cryptograms can be found at end of the book, but I like that the author left them out of the story’s text which piques readers’ curiosity to decipher the answers on their own. The book also reminds us that if something seems to good to be true it probably is, as Cody fatefully learns.
Cryptogram Chaos is a suspense filled, action packed book that will appeal to middle grade and young adult readers. I highly recommend picking up a copy.
5 Stars: “An exciting and exhilarating book.”
Review by Literary Classics, June 18, 2016: Cryptogram Chaos is a finalist for the Literary Classics Book Award and was awarded their Seal of Approval.
Cody is a truly gifted 14 year old. He has a natural inclination toward developing and tweaking gaming software. Not the coolest kid in school, he’s really more of a techno-geek. So when two of the most popular girls in school come to him with an idea for a virtual reality game, he thinks at first it might be a joke. But the more he considers their concept, the more he realizes the technology is already in place and the timing is perfect to tap into this dramatically different twist on video games. The concept is really quite fascinating. Gamers can virtually experience all sorts of high energy, dangerous and thrilling adventures like sky diving and such. In order to reach the next level and move on to a new adventure they must solve a puzzle.
After their game becomes wildly successful, Cody and his friends run into troubles which none of them could have ever foreseen. Cryptogram Chaos, by award winning author Linda Covella, is an exciting and exhilarating book which will appeal to a broad tween audience, even those who may not have an interest in gaming. The puzzles which must be solved to reach the next level of the game offer a unique and fun element to this wonderfully imaginative book.
4.75 stars: “An entertaining and educational adventure.”
Review by TheReadingAddict-elf blog, June 14, 2016
Cryptogram Chaos: A Virtual Reality Adventure by Linda Covella is a middle grade contemporary adventure and fantasy story that features a trio of ninth graders who learn to see beyond the cliques that have formed and work together.
Cody Reynolds is a computer whiz but not part of the ‘in’ crowd, which makes it all the more surprising when the very popular Nicole and her sidekick Kerry approach him about an idea for a very different type of game. Their creative idea has wonderful possibilities, but not everyone wants them to succeed, and Cody discovers that there are pitfalls he never considered and the game may end up being the worst idea he’s ever come up with.
This is such a fun story that combines creativity, intellectual stimulation, and a mystery. The concept of a virtual reality game that allows one to experience both thrilling adventures on land, sea, and in the air plus a chance to interact with, and as, various mythical creatures, sounds like something that definitely would enthrall kids and kids at heart everywhere. I like the gradual evolution of the relationship between Cody and the other kids as it seemed an accurate representation of the way each side can view the other one negatively only to discover their perceptions are wrong. The puzzles that have to be solved in order to access the next level in the game start with basic challenges and escalate, and provided a nice depth to the story, and the research and information at the end explained things nicely and gave intriguing glimpses of developments in the field of virtual reality. I am tempted to continue playing with the PigPen/Rosicrucian version of the puzzles, lol, and a little curious to know how one knows to leave out the ‘J’ in the Figure Cipher, but fascinated by all of the cryptograms. What a great book for stimulating a love of learning in a fun way!
5 stars: “This is definitely a book I recommend to everyone.”
Review by Kerry Erickson, June 13, 2016. From the reviewer: This book has been read and Reviewed by Kerry Erickson and posted with consent on Ravenz Reviews. The opinions are my own and do not reflect on Ravenz Reviews in any way.
This book is amazing! I love the interactions between the main characters and how the author really plays on what a person feels inside, whether it’s a nerdy teenager, the Popular Girl in school or the Best Friend role, this story relates to everyone. Cody is a brilliant kid who is trying to be his own person without disappointing those he cares about and ends up getting sucked into a project that has twists he never saw coming. Nicole and Kerry (love that name!) are besties that start with an idea and run with it. The author spins a story of Virtual Reality in such a way that I wish I were there to see it for myself! I surely hope I get to read more about these characters in the future. This is definitely a book I recommend to everyone. I can’t wait to see what other stories this author has come up with!
4 stars: “I cannot wait to read more from this writer.”
Review by DealSharingAunt blog, June 13, 2016
This is a great book for gamers and readers that love that love puzzles. The author really drew me in and I felt like I was in the virtual world as well. Then as I read on I was thrilled with the puzzles and it made the story interactive for me. I felt like I was part of the team trying to stop the bad guys. The answers were included as well, so they did not take away from the experience or frustrate younger readers. There are also great descriptions in the book that made me feel like I was in the author’s world. The ending was good and I really wish that this is a series that can grow with children and get more challenging. I also think that this would be a great choose your own ending adventure. I cannot wait to read more from this writer.
5 stars: “…will keep you glued to the story.”
Review by Darlene Cruz of 2ReadBook blog, June 12, 2016
I enjoyed this middle grade school story, imagine creating computer games, expert in codes to create them. Dream job huh? Cryptogram to solve, can you solve it? Check out the back of the book for the answers, yeah, the answers is there. You are inside a virtual realty adventure that will keep you glued to the story. The pace moved fast and the thrill of it is noticeable, danger? Well you got to read it to find out. All I know I enjoyed the characters and their attitude. Did the adults disappointment me in this story, hmm . . . . sure did!
The protagonist, Cody character, he had me convince this tale is worth the read.
5 stars: “Visual descriptions made me feel like I was in the game.”
Review by Kay LaLone, June 10, 2016
Great book. I loved it. Cody, Nicole, and Kerry didn’t know what danger they would get into when they invented the game Cryptogram Connection. They just wanted to invent a fun game and make some money. The kids end up saving the world. Great, fun characters. Visual descriptions made me feel like I was in the game.
5 stars: “It’s like Big Hero 6 meets Spy Kids 3.”
Review by Christina Dwivedi, June 6, 2016
I thought this book had a lot of cool details!
We meet Cody, an amazing programmer who’s just in 9th grade, as he goes along with his older brother to NuVision, a computer game manufacturer. He helps the company tweek their products and tests them, mostly for the enjoyment of it. I enjoyed the brothers’ relationship through out the story.
We also met “yaya” their part time housekeeper and cook who is really like a sweet grandmother to them, which is why she’s called yaya. And the delicious Greek food described in the book, yum, really brought back memories for me. We have close family friends who are Greek and I love Greek food. Yaya is the emotional support that the boys need, which they lack from their busy sophisticated parents in most of the story.
Cody is approached by two girls from the popular group at school—to create an awesome computer game for virtual reality headsets. He reluctantly agrees and has a crush on one of the girls, who shows how smart she really is and blows away any stereotyped ideas Cody has about her. I loved that. Nicole is a really smart girl who knows what she’s talking about.
When they finally finish creating the game, we get to experience it ourselves, in our own minds. I really enjoyed the descriptions and ideas used in the games, and the challenging cryptograms to figure out. I was impressed by the ideas. First you have adrenaline rush activities and the all you can eat ice cream. But then there is a level with mythical creatures. Also, there’s a level with avatars you can become and do things you never dreamed of. I’m afraid of heights so I would probably freak out at a lot of these. But knowing you can’t really get hurt? Possibly would do it! I think I’d be like Kerry. You’ll have to read the book yourself to see what I mean! There’s humor in the book too.
Their rise to fame comes with a downside, which turns into chaos. Temptations in form of money causes a bad decision that has huge ramifications. No spoilers!
I think this is a good book for older kids, tweens and younger teens. It’s like Big Hero 6 meets Spy Kids 3, and while it’s good for boys and girls, it could be a great book to get a boy interested in reading. My techie husband said he’s interested in reading it. And when my older son (8) is into longer books I think he’d really like it.
4 stars: “Talk about suspense!”
Review by Dawn of Bound4Escape blog, June 2, 2016
What a great read for middle school age readers! And just for added fun, the cryptograms from the game are at the end of the book so that the reader can solve them.
Cody is considered a nerd at school because he’d rather play with computers than be active in sports, etc. He is so good at writing code already that he helps improve games for NuVision, a major company in the gaming industry where his brother works.
When Nicole, one of the cool kids, asks him to help her and a friend develop a game that they have an idea for, he’s skeptical. She’s barely acknowledged his existence before now, so I was skeptical as well. It took me longer to trust these girls than it took Cody.
Once the game is up and running, it’s an instant success until there’s a major, and possibly fatal, glitch that Cody can’t figure out how to fix. Can he figure it out before it’s too late?
Talk about suspense! On top of a good story and cryptograms, there’s also a lesson: one bad decision can change a person’s life and affect the lives of many others.
I definitely recommend Cryptogram Chaos for middle grade readers as well as young adults and adults, especially if you like suspense.
“…perfect for teens, young adults, and adults.”
Review by BooksforBookz blog, May 29, 2016
Cryptogram Chaos written by Linda Covella is a virtual reality adventure that is perfect for teens, young adults, and adults. Cryptogram Chaos written by Linda Covella takes the reader inside a virtual reality game and the dangerous that lurk inside it. I enjoyed how the author included the puzzles in the book in such a way that allows the reader to try solving the puzzles themselves. I found the puzzles to be at a level that would be solvable by middle school students without undue struggling. I also liked that the reader can just as easily skip the puzzles if he or she desires too. The back of the book has answers to all of the puzzles which is very nice as it allows the reader to know if they did it right or not. I found the book to be an interesting read though I feel like I would have enjoyed it more in middle school than I did now as an adult.
5 stars: “Cryptogram Chaos is a fast read, full of imagination, adventure and fully fledged characters.”
Review by Mami Tales, May 25, 2016
To be able to eat as much ice cream and not put on weight… that’s just the type of virtual reality I’d love! But of course, for kids, having the chance to experience the adrenaline rush without real danger is probably the most alluring. Ms. Covella knows this well, as she goes deep into the wants and motives of young teens in this coming of age novel. Cody, a very talented, and very young. computer programmer learns about greed, friendship and loyalty in the span of this story. From being the geeky kid he ends up teaming up with the pop girl in school to develop the best virtual reality game out there: For kids, by kids. The team is conformed by Cody, the computer genius, Kerry, the designer, and finally Nicole, the idea and business part of the project. What these kids have to deal with is greed and jealousy from the adults, who end up hijacking their game and putting an entire community in danger. Cody, Nicole and Kerry need to go back and fix things, even if the stakes are too high and danger becomes real to them.
Cryptogram Chaos is a fast read, full of imagination, adventure and fully fledged characters. The motives and reasons for why Cody does what he does are deep and well thought-out. This is a virtual reality adventure in the vein of Big Hero 6, but even if the game is all fantasy and pretend, the feelings and reasons that move all the characters are real through and through. I think any boy or girl 10 or above, specially those who live day in and day out in their video games, would enjoy this read very much. And now, I’m just waiting for this game to become a reality to try it out!
3 stars: “Cryptogram Chaos should be read by video game enthusiasts of all ages.”
Review by Long and Short Reviews YA, May 23, 2016
Sometimes virtual reality can be more dangerous than anything you’d find in the real world.
Definitely give the puzzles in this tale a try. They were extremely easy in the beginning, but they slowly grew more difficult over time. I had a good time trying to figure all of them out before moving onto the next scene. It made me feel like I was actually playing the game that the main characters had created. The puzzles were a nice addition to the plot because of this.
This book got off to a slow start. The narrator spent a great deal of time setting up the main conflict and explaining how all of the characters knew each other. While I understand why many of these details were necessary, it was hard for me to become interested the plot at first because of how long it took for anything to happen. It would have been really helpful to have some kind of small conflict or misunderstanding in the beginning to catch my attention before the pacing sped up.
The game that Cody and his friends developed sounded like so much fun. I liked how detailed the descriptions of it were, especially when it came to what it felt like to play it for the first time. The first level was by far my favorite one because you could use all five senses to experience it. I’ve never heard of a game like that before, but it sure sounded interesting!
Cryptogram Chaos should be read by video game enthusiasts of all ages.
5 stars: “I was hooked by the first chapter.”
Review by S. Yost, May 3, 2016
I loved this book. I will recommend this book to the kids I know because they will enjoy the adventure. I was hooked by the first chapter and wanted to continue reading this book all the way to the end.