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Review: “The Gift” by Andrea J. Buchanan

Gift is a multimedia experience incorporating text, music, art, video—with a Minecraft map. In the game, players must navigate through the real-world setting of the book and “the imagined world of the ghost story.” Andrea J. Buchanan, the author of the book, and an “avid Minecraft player,” notes that the map adds “a layer of complexity, while its thematic connection to the book gives it an exciting twist.”

There’s more information and instructions on downloading the free game at this site. To learn how educators and authors are using Minecraft, be sure to read Erin Daly’s, “Explore, Create, Survive,” which describes programs and offers a list of links.


Title: Gift
Andrea J. Buchanan
Alexis Seabrook
Musical Interludes
: Fredrik Larsson
Published by:
Open Road Integrated Media, 2012
Developed by:
Pablo Defendini
iBooks, 1.5 or later and iOS, requires 5.0 or later.  Also available in other ebook formats.
$7.99; Purchase through the iBooks app.

Gr 8 Up–A teenager’s once troublesome gift becomes her greatest asset in a story of revenge spanning generations. When Daisy is sent by her teacher to help Vivi through a breakdown, she learns that the young woman is in love with a ghost who has taken over her life. Daisy and her best friend, Danielle, begin to share eerie dreams of murder and retaliation long ago. Daisy’s new boyfriend, Kevin, becomes an integral to unraveling the mystery, as the girls battle the ghost who tries to draw them into the underworld.

This is a well-written, compelling story and the detailed descriptions of Daisy’s encounters with the ghost and her experience possessed by the spirit are quite convincing. However, the book’s enhanced content is somewhat underdeveloped and not well integrated into the story. In an effort to create a spooky atmosphere, words and illustrations are made to appear and disappear and text tumbles down pages. (Music interludes between chapters are neutral in tone.) Scattered black-and-white sketches illustrate the story, so when a live-action YouTube video of a young man (Kevin) singing to Dairy appears, readers may find it incongruous. Material appended to the story—Kevin’s songs, Vivi’s graphic novel covering the events of the story, and Danielle’s handwritten diary—arrive almost as an afterthought. While readers will find the story engrossing, they may find the enhancements less than engaging. Be sure to let your patrons know that Gift is the first novel released with a free “author-sanctioned” Minecraft map.Danielle Farinacci, Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory, San Francisco, CA