Despite having basically the same plot as the excellent Ready Player One (video game playing awkward teen stumbles into a massive intrigue, meets and falls for a beautiful ingénue, and then becomes the hero of the world) I couldn't put this book down, and in fact read it in one sitting! Cline fills it with not only references to classic video games and science fiction movies, but manages to make them seem fresh rather than derivative. The basic plot closely resembles The Last Starfighter, but instead of being ignored Cline embraces this (and all alien invasion tropes) by saying that these exist to prepare the populace for the reality of extraterrestrials. I love that he also tosses in other pop culture references to movies like Firefox and Red Dawn but doesn't explain them—either you get them or you don't. I'm sure I didn't get them all, but I liked the instant memories the ones I did brought to mind. I haven't met anyone that didn't like this book, from my fellow 1980's kids to my own kids!
I was staring out the classroom window and daydreaming of adventure when I spotted the flying saucer.