Hey all, Dani here.
I think it is time to kick off my GLBT Book Month reviews, and I’m actually pretty excited to start my June reviews with a book I technically read at the very end of May. Thank you so much to Sourcebooks Casablanca and NetGalley for approving me for an early copy of this adorably geeky romance story. I appreciate it, and as always, my rating and review and opinion is not affected by getting to read the story early.
Of course, I will point out that this book is now out in the world, and I’m picking up my copy this weekend.
All right, let’s get started.
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: June 2, 2020
ISBN: 1728200296 (ISBN13: 9781728200293)
When two “big name fans” go head-to-head at a convention, love isn’t the only thing at stake.
Charming, charismatic, and effortlessly popular, Conrad Stewart seems to have it all…but in reality, he’s scrambling to keep his life from tumbling out of control.
Brilliant, guarded, and endlessly driven, Alden Roth may as well be the poster boy for perfection…but even he can’t help but feel a little broken inside.
When these mortal enemies are stuck together on a cross-country road trip to the biggest fan convention of their lives, their infamous rivalry takes a backseat as an unexpected connection is forged. Yet each has a reason why they have to win the upcoming Odyssey gaming tournament and neither is willing to let emotion get in the way―even if it means giving up their one chance at something truly magical.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Oh my goodness, this was such a good rivals-to-friends/partners type of story, and I was pretty much hooked on it from the beginning. Though, I do admit that at first I wondered if this was YA, because it almost felt that way, but the characters are definitely college-aged, and the older side of the standard college age at that. So this is technically an adult novel, but I think it will definitely have some appeal and crossover for older YA readers.
Conrad and Alden each have so much going on in their lives that they’ve kept to themselves, and for each of them, their refuge and outlet is playing this card game with their friends and their former-professor, who just happens to be a popular game strategy vlogger.
Naturally circumstances have to happen to get these two rivals who seem to not be able to tolerate each other to end up spending a lot of quality time together. So let’s insert the road trip trope into the story. Honestly, I was so excited to follow the two boys on this cross-country trip to get to OdysseyCon. They keep encountering these speed bumps and detours on the trip, some of which threaten to end the trip right then and there, but I loved watching Conrad and Alden buckle down and work together.
Oh, man, the romantic tension between these two was palpable. And I loved the geeky rivalry. I also loved watching them both open up to the other, and to try and process how that changed what they thought of the other, and if that then changed their feelings. It was such an emotional roller coaster, but I enjoyed every moment of it.
I seriously can’t wait to have a finished copy of this book on my shelves. I love that books focused on tabletop games and vloggers and conventions and geek culture are starting to become a more frequent and regular occurrence. It is awesome to see myself and my friends reflected in these stories.