The Impossible Fortress

A Novel

The Impossible Fortress

A dazzling debut novel—at once a charming romance and a moving coming-of-age story—about what happens when a fourteen-year old boy pretends to seduce a girl to steal a copy of Playboy but then discovers she is his computer-loving soulmate.

Billy Marvin’s first love was a computer. Then he met Mary Zelinsky.

Do you remember your first love?

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.

At its heart, The Impossible Fortress is a tender exploration of young love, true friends, and the confusing realities of male adolescence—with a dash of old school computer programming.

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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Impossible Fortress includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Jason Rekulak. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

May, 1987. Ronald Reagan is in the White House. Prince and Madonna are on the radio. And Playboy has just published scandalous photos of Wheel of Fortune hostess Vanna White.

For 14-year-old computer geek Billy Marvin, the magazine is a sort of holy grail—full of powerful secrets but impossible to attain. So Billy and his friends hatch an elaborate scheme to break into a neighborhood newsstand and steal it.

There’s just one catch: to complete the caper, Billy needs to learn the alarm passcode from the shopkeeper’s daughter, Mary Zelinsky. Smart, spirited, and funny, Mary proves to be the best computer programmer Billy has ever met—even better than Billy himself. He soon finds himself falling head over heels in love, all while planning a burglary that’s increasingly dangerous and increasingly beyond his control.

The Impossible Fortress is a hilarious debut that explores the confusing realities of adolescence—from first loves to the expectations of see more

About the Author

Jason Rekulak
Courtney Apple

Jason Rekulak

Jason Rekulak is the publisher of Quirk Books, where he has acquired a dozen New York Times bestsellers. Some of his most notable acquisitions at Quirk include Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and the YA fantasy novel series Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which has spent five years on the New York Times bestseller list. Jason lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two children.

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