Deadly Pink by Vivian Vande Velde
Grace Pizzelli lacks pizzazz—or sparkle or brilliance or whatever you want to call it—unlike her brainy, beautiful, popular sister Emily. Grace was dozing off peacefully one day in trigonometry class when an unexpected summons to the principal’s office interrupted her nap. Mom was there, looking frantic and very un-put-together and, frankly, very unMomlike. Emily is missing. No, not her body. They know right where that is, but her mind is stuck somewhere in a video game. On purpose, no less, which is very unlike the totally perfect college student and computer genius everybody knows. In Deadly Pink, by Vivian Vande Velde, the Rasmussen gaming company has a huge problem. Players can only stay in total immersion games for so long before their bodies can’t take it anymore. If Emily doesn’t come out soon, she’s in big trouble, not to mention Rasmussen having a giant publicity meltdown over their dead programmer. Not dead as in messed-up-in-the-game-start-over dead, but really dead.
The corporate types have had no luck talking her into waking up, pulling the plug isn't working, and oddly neither Emily’s boyfriend nor close friends from high school can be reached. So, it’s time to send in the little sister as Mom is clueless about her cell phone let alone complicated video games. Grudgingly, she goes under and into the game. So, what kind of scenario is it—killer robots? Sword-swinging super-warriors? Nope, it’s got swans and golden butterflies and sparkly dresses, and everything is in pink and purple and pearl, and Grace feels like the sweetness of it all might just kill her before she even finds Emily. But the adorable pixies are not what they seem, and the silent yet gorgeous dancing partners don’t mind committing homicide in response to their lovely Emily’s orders.
Deadly Pink is an exciting and drily funny adventure story with some serious heart to it. The author has written a lot of fantasy books, so if you enjoy this one there are many more from which to choose, including two other books set in the immersion gaming world, Heir Apparent and User-Unfriendly.