It's been a while since I read a book that instantly, once finished, went into my Top 5. RPO is the story of a young man in a futuristic dystopia who lives most of his life connected to a virtual reality network called OASIS. OASIS is free, massive, and an escape from the depressing life most people lead around the world.
When the founder of OASIS dies, it is revealed that all of his wealth, and control of OASIS, will be handed over not to one of his relatives or friends -- he has none of either -- but to the first person to solve the puzzles and defeat the challenges he has set forth. They are hidden throughout OASIS, with the clues set as head-scratching riddles. It takes five years for the first one to be unlocked -- by our protagonist, Wade -- and then the race is on, with some people willing to kill in real life to win the virtual prize.
Intelligent and concisely written, even if you didn't grow up in the 80s, there's enough brief explanations of the references to get you by. While it's not labelled as a YA book, I'd argue that the small amount of violence and romance in this book, combined with the good humor and easy style, wouldn't make it too far of a reach.
RPO is a lot of fun, which is most of the attraction, and half of my love for it. But it's also smart, and doesn't forget itself. If you like treasure hunts and underdog stories, I think you'll enjoy this as much as I did.