Thursday, 9 February 2017

The Impossible Fortress Blog Tour - Review + Q/A

by Jason Rekulak
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: February 7th, 2017
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
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.

When Simon & Schuster Canada first approached me about reviewing The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak, I was sold! As a tale about children in the 80's growing up in a pivotal time for gaming and about finding first love, I couldn't wait to check it out. Although, I initially worried about not identifying with the generation in which it takes place (being an '89 baby myself), I still couldn't wait to get to know Billy, his band of geeky friends, and Mary.

The Impossible Fortress begins with Billy, a nerdy boy with a dream of creating his own video game. But then the unimaginable happens - Vanna White, of the popular tv game show Wheel of Fortune - is featured exclusively on Playboy Magazine. When Billy and his friends discover this, they take it upon themselves to hash out a plan to get their hands on the infamous issue, and this leads to the convenience store and Mary. When Billy meets Mary they instantly connect, and he discovers that her passion for computers and gaming is just as fierce as his own, but will his first love conflict with his initial plan?

I positively enjoyed The Impossible Fortress. As suspected, I did have a tough time settling into the 80's setting, and much of the use of language and references, but I strongly feel that my instant love for the characters pulled me through. I absolutely adored Billy and Mary's interactions with one another and couldn't help giggling and enjoying every silly moment between Billy and his friends. I highly recommend The Impossible Fortress to fans of the 80's, early gaming, and to those looking for an excellent coming of age story.

4 / 5 Cupcakes


Q/A with Jason Rekulak
Author of The Impossible Fortress

Q. Out of all of your witty and relatable characters in The Impossible Fortress , who is your favourite and why?

A. I really enjoyed writing Mary’s character.  Computer programming was pretty uncool back in the 1980s, but it was especially uncool if you were a teenage girl. So I love that Mary is happily doing her own thing, studying machine language and converting Phil Collins songs into chiptunes on the Commodore 64, and not really caring what anybody thinks.  She’s cool and confident for nearly the entire book, but then ¾ through we learn that she’s just as burdened and messed up as the rest of us.

Q. Stepping back into the 80's: what was your writing process like? Were there moments you found great joy in writing? 

A.I hope this won’t sound boastful, but this entire book was a joy to write. I spent maybe 18-20 months writing it, about 2 hours every night from 9pm to 11pm, and I never got frustrated, I never felt defeated, I was always moving slowly and steadily toward an end goal that was very clear in my mind.   That’s never happened to me before. With other projects, I would get stuck and frustrated and blocked and angry.  But this book was smooth sailing all the way through. It was a miracle. 

One thing that may have helped me: I outlined most of this book before I began writing it.  I knew all of the big beats of the story, including the book’s biggest surprise, which is revealed about 50 pages from the end.  


I want to extend a huge thank you to both Simon & Schuster Canada and Jason Rekulak for the opportunity to interview him and review The Impossible Fortress. For those interested, the book is now available in local book stores and online, be sure to check it out!


Be sure to continue to follow along with the blog tour for more exclusive interviews and reviews.

This title was provided to the blogger by the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review. No payment was received/accept in exchange for this review/post. The blogger requests that this review not be reposted or edited without the blogger's permission. The thoughts and words expressed in this review/post are explicitly the blogger's.


  1. I hadn't actually heard about this book before your review but it sounds so interesting oh my gosh! Will have to check this out for sure!

    xx Anisha (

  2. I LOVE YA historical (if the 80s are considered historical) because even though it's a modern setting it's still so different to what we're used to now, with social media and everything that changes how teen boys grow up.

    LOVE the premise!! So cool and sounds very funny as well!

    Lovely review :)