Review: Backward Compatible (Daltry/Clark)

AUTHOR: Sarah Daltry and Pete Clark
SERIES: none
PUBLISHER: CreateSpace/SDE Press
PUBLICATION DATE: January 7, 2014 (original release December 10, 2013)
ISBN: 9781494430573
PAGES: 230
SOURCE: NetGalley
GENRE: contemporary romance

SUMMARY: Written in alternating voices. George and Katie meet unceremoniously at a midnight-release party for the game FDX. George and Katie both claim a copy of the game at the same time, and argue over which one gets to buy it. Romance and gaming ensue.

IF THIS BOOK WERE FOOD, IT WOULD BE: Sour Patch Kids. A burst of flavor from sour beginning to sweet, satisfying end.

REVIEW: Egads, but this is a cute book. I devoured it in one sitting, laughing out loud frequently and soaking up tons of pop culture references from the past 40 years. I loved the characters’ witty banter, but I adored the various pop culture quotes and references ranging from The Princess Bride to Army of Darkness to The Big Bang Theory to Shakespeare. I know I didn’t even get them all, but that’s the beauty of this book. There is something for everyone.

I loved the romance and the friendships that develop throughout the story. There is some minor bullying, but I think the characters dish it out more than they actually experience it. This one poor fellow keeps trying to game with the group, and they keep purposely killing his character because they don’t like him. Yes, he’s a royal jerk who can’t take a hint, but that’s still not nice.

The alternating voices, written by two authors, work so perfectly for this story. I especially loved the Easter play from 5th grade. Who doesn’t have an embarrassing video from the past lurking around in some closet somewhere? And the 1970s Star Wars holiday video? I’m totally going to have to locate one of those!

As a non-gamer, the gaming scenes go on a bit too long for me. They are well-written, but after awhile, I started losing interest and skimming.

Some reviewers classify this as YA, but with 21-year old college-attending characters, I would say it’s more new adult than young adult. True to the blurb, there is no sex, but there are lots and lots and lots of sexual jokes and banter. There are comments about erections and boobies and getting laid. Plenty of language as well. I think high schoolers would love this book, but consider yourselves forewarned.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Super-cute, laugh-out-loud funny, tons of pop culture references from the 70s through today. What’s not to love?

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: It’s way too mature for middle school, but high schoolers would love it. Adults, too.

READALIKES: Eleanor & Park (Rowell); Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares (Levithan/Cohn)


  • Overall: 5/5
  • Creativity: 5/5
  • Characters: 5/5
  • Engrossing: 5/5
  • Writing: 5/5
  • Appeal to teens: 4/5–non-gamers may find the gaming scenes go on too long
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5


  • Language: very high–nothing off the table here
  • Sexuality: medium–kissing, lots of crude sexual jokes, but it’s all talk
  • Violence: very mild–video game violence
  • Drugs/Alcohol: very mild–a stranger asks for weed in a theater
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