Book List: Games in Fiction

In anticipation of National Gaming Day @ your Library on Saturday, November 12, an initiative to bring games of all kinds into libraries, I’ve compiled a list of books that prominently feature board, card, and role playing games. The list includes both recent and classic titles for both YA and middle grade readers. Enjoy!

The Cardturner: A Novel about a King, a Queen, and a Joker by Louis Sachar (2010)
Alton Richards is facing a boring summer when his parents enlist him to serve as a cardturner for his blind great-uncle at his regular bridge tournaments. While bored at first, Alton soon becomes entranced with the game and the intriguing Toni Castaneda, the only other person his age at the bridge club.



Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern (2009)
Jess is perfectly content staying home on Friday nights sewing her signature skirts, but her longtime friends would rather hang out with her brother’s punk rock buddies. So Jess looks for a new crowd to hang out with and finds herself playing D&D with a group of lovable nerds.



The Girl Who Invented Romance by Caroline B. Cooney (1988)
Frustrated with her own love life, Kelly decides to make a board game fashioned after the real life ups and downs of love and dating, called Romance.

Interstellar Pig by William Sleator (1984)
In this 1980s sci-fi story, 16-year-old Barney befriends his mysterious neighbors who are addicted to a strange board game called Interstellar Pig. When he starts noticing weird coincidences with his life and the game, Barney realizes that there may be more at stake than just winning or losing. A sequel, Parasite Pig was released in 2002.


Games: A Tale of Two Bullies by Carol Gorman (2007)
Instead of suspension, eighth graders and enemies Mick and Boot are ordered to spend every afternoon playing board games until they can work out their issues.




Wizards of The Game by David Lubar (2003)
Eight grader Mercer Dickensen stirs up controversy when he tries to organize a gaming convention based on his favorite role-playing game ‘Wizards of the Warrior World.’ But all of that is overshadowed when he attracts the attention of a group of real wizards who need his help.


Perpetual Check by Rich Wallace (2009)
Two brothers, who couldn’t be more different in most areas, both excel at chess and come head-to-head in the final match of the Pennsylvania High School Chess Championships.




Hikaru no Go: Descent of the Go Master, Vol. 1 by Yumi Hotta (2004)
In this popular manga series, Hikaru finds an old Go board at his grandfather’s house that happens to be inhabited by the spirit of an old Go master. With the help of the spirit, Hikaru starts playing and excelling at the game, much to the chagrin of his competitors.



The Game of Sunken Places by M.T. Anderson (2004)
Thirteen-year-old Gregory and his best friend Brian find an old board game while vacationing at Gregory’s uncle’s mansion. But the game becomes reality and the boys must win in order to settle an age-old battle.



The Revenge of the Shadow King by Derek Benz and J.S. Lewis (2006)
The Grey Griffins are a group of friends, Max, Harley, Ernie, and Natalia, who all love the card game Round Table. When creatures from the game start to show up in real life, the Griffins must band together to save their town. First in a series.



The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman by Meg Wolitzer (2011)
Three very different kids, all with a love of Scrabble, come together at the National Youth Scrabble Tournament and their stories intertwine in interesting and magical ways.




2 thoughts on “Book List: Games in Fiction”

  1. This is great!

    Have you read Ready Player One yet? It’s not YA (but definitely has crossover appeal), but is totally about gaming and is incredibly awesome! Best book I’ve read so far this year!

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