Functioning as both a seminal look into pop culture's past as well as a fun, technological romp, Ready Player One is a fantastic tale centered around Wade Watts, a teenager and dedicated gamer in the year 2044. Having almost no family, few friends, and seemingly even fewer avenues open to him to escape his downtrodden existence, Wade has had a difficult life, to say the least. However, what Wade does have is access to the OASIS; a cyber-reality which will change his life forever.
An astonishing facet of Ready Player One is its prescience: Cline's great, sprawling work was published in 2011. For perspective, this was only a year after the debut of Apple's 1st generation iPad and Microsoft's Kinect for Xbox (360, no less). Indeed, aside from the adventures had by the affable main characters, the laughs earned from its nigh-endless stream of game/movie/music references, Ready Player One also offers moments containing an almost Black Mirror-style commentary on the pace of technological advancements and the consequences which can arise when combined with humanity's penchant for greed.
An outstanding book (and hopefully equally wonderful movie), Ready Player One is a must-read not just for gamers and lovers of 80s culture, but also teens who can identify with that deep, driving need for escape. I also highly recommend the audio version, masterfully narrated by none other than Star Trek: The Next Generation's Wil Wheaton (yes, that Wil Wheaton)!