Hey all, Dani here.
Maybe this isn’t something that feels cool or special to some people, but I feel very lucky to have been invited into a few different blog tours from various publishers in the last month or so. I like to think that I do a decent job with my blog, and that I have decent stats and such, but I am also aware that I am fairly small potatoes compared to some of the awesome blogs I follow. So to be approved for digital ARCs or for blog tours, or hey even a few years ago when I got to go to BookExpo, just makes me feel like a valid member of the online book community. Like I said, I know this may sound silly to some people, but it means so much to me.
Like with today’s post, where I get to be a part of the blog tour for Eric Smith’s Don’t Read the Comments. I know I’ve talked a lot about how much I love books with geeky main characters. In the past couple years I have had the pleasure and privilege to read so many books with main characters who are into video games, or anime, or comic books, or cosplay, or board games, or fan fiction, etc. I am so happy, and I geek out so much, to see characters that reflect the geeky world I interact with on a regular basis.
So hearing about this book made me super excited to sign on for the blog tour. Okay, that’s enough rambling: let’s get started.
Oh, first I guess I should really say thank you to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for approving me for this blog tour and giving me early access to this book. It didn’t affect my review or rating. For the most part I’m pretty good about knowing what books are going to strike my fancy based on the cover and/or the summary. Anyway, let’s jump into the review.
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Publication Date: January 28, 2020
ISBN: 1335016023 (ISBN13: 9781335016027)
Divya Sharma is a queen. Or she is when she’s playing Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. Divya—better known as popular streaming gamer D1V—regularly leads her #AngstArmada on quests through the game’s vast and gorgeous virtual universe. But for Divya, this is more than just a game. Out in the real world, she’s trading her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay the rent.
Gaming is basically Aaron Jericho’s entire life. Much to his mother’s frustration, Aaron has zero interest in becoming a doctor like her, and spends his free time writing games for a local developer. At least he can escape into Reclaim the Sun—and with a trillion worlds to explore, disappearing should be easy. But to his surprise, he somehow ends up on the same remote planet as celebrity gamer D1V.
At home, Divya and Aaron grapple with their problems alone, but in the game, they have each other to face infinite new worlds…and the growing legion of trolls populating them. Soon the virtual harassment seeps into reality when a group called the Vox Populi begin launching real-world doxxing campaigns, threatening Aaron’s dreams and Divya’s actual life. The online trolls think they can drive her out of the game, but everything and everyone Divya cares about is on the line…
And she isn’t going down without a fight.
Rating: 5 stars
I’m just going to go out and say it: I was hooked on this book in the very first chapter. I felt like I really understood Divya and her mom, mostly because my parents’ divorce a couple years ago was absolutely awful, and my mom and I really bonded together and became a team to struggle through everything that came our way. Literally, I was tearing up from the beginning of this story because I related to it so much.
Okay, yes, I’m not really a video gamer, especially not a massive online play type gamer, but I still understand that geekdom connection and dealing with naysayers…though again, I’ve been lucky and haven’t had to deal with real trolls.
Oh, and I also connected with Divya because of having an online identity that is not her actual identity. Danielle Thamasa is my pen name that I’ve been using for well over a decade, but I came up with it to give myself a little privacy and to also protect my identity a little bit.
I connected with Aaron in a different way, mostly from the standpoint that we’re both writers, and also from the standpoint of having parents who are trying to urge him towards a more profitable career choice. It’s hard to make it as a writer, and even more so if you add race/religion/gender/etc into the mix.
Both Divya and Aaron had very compelling and realistic stories, and I just read this book so quickly.
I loved it, and I can’t wait to have the finished copy on my bookshelves, and to gush about it when I recommend Geeky Reads, or probably when I go to talk about favorite books of the year.
Eric Smith is an author, prolific book blogger, and literary agent from New Jersey, currently living in Philadelphia. Smith cohosts Book Riot’s newest podcast, HEY YA, with non-fiction YA author Kelly Jensen. He can regularly be found writing for Book Riot’s blog, as well as Barnes & Noble’s Teen Reads blog, Paste Magazine, and Publishing Crawl. Smith also has a growing Twitter platform of over 40,000 followers (@ericsmithrocks).
Where to Get a Copy
You can also check with your local library.