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T.L. Costa WINS the USA Best Book Award for Playing Tyler!

I’m so excited that I almost didn’t know how to start this blog post: by cueing fanfare and trumpets, with some witticism, or just plain WOOOOOOOT. I’m going with the WOOOOOOOT! And now hear from T.L and our very own Amanda:

Amanda: “I honestly don’t know who is more pleased about this award – Tracy or myself! I was over the moon that Playing Tyler has been recognised in this way, because it is an intensely special book that deserves this plaudit. My deepest congratulations to Tracy!”

T.L: “I’m so thrilled to have won this award, and so grateful to USA Book News for the tremendous honor. Playing Tyler is a story about a kid with everything stacked against him who still manages to be a hero, still manages to fight for the people he loves, and it’s been incredibly humbling and gratifying to see how readers and reviewers have responded to his story.”

USA Best Book Award

The hugest congratulations to T.L. Costa who has won the USA Best Book Award for Fiction: Young Adult for the fantastic Playing Tyler!

Released in July this year, Playing Tyler has grabbed the attention of many reviewers and bloggers including Zooey Deschanel’s HelloGiggles site, She Knows Book Lounge; San Francisco/Sacramento City Book Review; and Betty Confidential amongst many, many more!

LOS ANGELES –, the premier online magazine featuring mainstream and independent publishing houses, announced the winners and finalists of THE 2013 USA BEST BOOKS AWARDS on November 14, 2013. Over 400 winners and finalists were announced in over 100 categories. Awards were presented for titles published in 2012 and 2013.
Jeffrey Keen, President and CEO of USA Book News, said this year’s contest yielded over 1500 entries from mainstream and independent publishers, which were then narrowed down to over 400 winners and finalists.

Huge congratulations to all the winners and finalists; for the full list, click here!

Playing Tyler


When is a game not a game?

Tyler MacCandless can’t focus, even when he takes his medication. He can’t focus on school, on his future, on a book, on much of anything other than taking care of his older brother, Brandon, who’s in rehab for heroin abuse… again.

Tyler’s dad is dead and his mom has mentally checked out. The only person he can really count on is his Civilian Air Patrol Mentor, Rick. The one thing in life it seems he doesn’t suck at is playing video games and, well, that’s probably not going to get him into college.

Just when it seems like his future is on a collision course with a life sentence at McDonald’s, Rick asks him to test a video game. If his score’s high enough, it could earn him a place in flight school and win him the future he was certain that he could never have. And when he falls in love with the game’s designer, the legendary gamer Ani, Tyler thinks his life might finally be turning around.

That is, until Brandon goes MIA from rehab and Tyler and Ani discover that the game is more than it seems. Now Tyler will have to figure out what’s really going on in time to save his brother… and prevent his own future from going down in flames.


“One part Real Genius and one part War Games, Playing Tyler has voice for miles, two damaged yet driven main characters who will simultaneously shatter your heart and send your pulse into overdrive, and disturbing plot twists that could too easily be real. The emotionally riveting prose and genuine relationships draw you in and won’t let go until the final satisfying sentence. Costa is on my auto-buy list from this day forward!”
– A. G. Howard, author of Splintered

“Katniss Everdeen, Harry Potter, Ponyboy Curtis … add another name to the list of unforgettable teenage heroes: Tyler MacCandless. Ty will break your heart and make your cheer on this fast and furious thrill-ride. A breathtaking new voice in young adult fiction, TL Costa weaves realistic adventure, heartache and first love in this amazing, fast-paced story. Fresh. Thrilling. Heartfelt. I’m running out of adjectives, but trust me. You will love this book.”
– Kristan HigginsNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Best Man

“I read Playing Tyler in a state of breathless excitement. The chapters switch between the unique voices of player Tyler and game designer Ani, yet Costa keeps the tension high and the reader wholly engaged with both viewpoints. But I didn’t love Playing Tyler simply because the extremely filmic story kept me on the edge of my seat. In addition to increasing my heart-rate and making me miss the children’s tea, Costa made me laugh and cry. Tyler and his brother, Brandon will remain with me long after I have closed the final page. I miss them already.”
– Bryony Pearce, author of Angel’s Fury, winner of the Leeds Book Award

“Wildly original storytelling that is as authentic as it is engaging. Playing Tyler is one of the best YA books of 2013.”
– Sean Cummings

“Video games, drug abuse, and the business of war combine in Costa’s of-the-moment debut novel. Seventeen-year-old Tyler McCandless is an exceptionally talented gamer, but he doesn’t fit the stereotype. He has ADHD, which can make social interactions tricky, but he’s also ripped and loves flying planes even more than gaming. Those two skills earn Tyler the attention of Rick Anderson, an businessman/mentor who hires him to test an experimental flight simulator designed by 16-year-old gamer/prodigy Ani Bagdorian. Tyler and Ani fall for each other, which complicates matters when they realize that the simulator is more than a game, as readers will guess early on. Costa updates War Games for the 21st century, asking teens to consider the ethics of private contractors, drone warfare, and collateral damage. Tyler and Ani’s rapid romance sits somewhat uneasily with the buildup of the story’s action, but Costa adeptly gets inside the heads of two idealistic but conflicted teenagers trying to balance the personal, familial, and national responsibilities that have been dumped on them. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jenny Bent, the Bent Agency. (July)”
– Publishers Weekly

Book Info

UK Print
Date: 4th July
ISBN: 9781908844606
Format: Medium Paperback
R.R.P.: £7.99

US/CAN Print
Date: 2nd July 2013
ISBN: 9781908844613
Format: Large Paperback
R.R.P.: $9.99

Date: 2nd July 2013
ISBN: 9781908844620
Format: Epub & Mobi
R.R.P.: £5.49 / $6.99

Buying Info:

UK Print & Ebook | Book Depository | Waterstones | WHSmith

North American Print & Ebook | | |

Global DRM-Free Epub Ebook
Robot Trading Company


Laura Lam

Hooray! So well-deserved.

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