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Don't Hate the Player (Audiobook)

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By day, Emilia is a field hockey star with a popular boyfriend and a mother obsessed with her academic future. But by night, she’s kicking virtual ass as the only female member of a highly competitive eSports team. Emilia has mastered the art of keeping her two worlds thriving, which hinges on them staying completely separate. When a major eSports tournament comes to her ci By day, Emilia is a field hockey star with a popular boyfriend and a mother obsessed with her academic future. But by night, she’s kicking virtual ass as the only female member of a highly competitive eSports team. Emilia has mastered the art of keeping her two worlds thriving, which hinges on them staying completely separate. When a major eSports tournament comes to her city, Emilia is determined to prove herself to the male-dominated gaming community. But her perfectly balanced life is thrown for a loop when a member of a rival team—Jake—recognizes her . . . From an exciting new talent, this sweet and charming YA romance will win the hearts of gamers and non-gamers alike.


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By day, Emilia is a field hockey star with a popular boyfriend and a mother obsessed with her academic future. But by night, she’s kicking virtual ass as the only female member of a highly competitive eSports team. Emilia has mastered the art of keeping her two worlds thriving, which hinges on them staying completely separate. When a major eSports tournament comes to her ci By day, Emilia is a field hockey star with a popular boyfriend and a mother obsessed with her academic future. But by night, she’s kicking virtual ass as the only female member of a highly competitive eSports team. Emilia has mastered the art of keeping her two worlds thriving, which hinges on them staying completely separate. When a major eSports tournament comes to her city, Emilia is determined to prove herself to the male-dominated gaming community. But her perfectly balanced life is thrown for a loop when a member of a rival team—Jake—recognizes her . . . From an exciting new talent, this sweet and charming YA romance will win the hearts of gamers and non-gamers alike.

30 review for Don't Hate the Player (Audiobook)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest It's been ages since I was this excited about a book and all I want to do is scream my life for it from the rooftops in all caps. This was everything I love in YA, condensed into a beautiful book that, despite being just shy of 400 pages, somehow didn't feel long enough. Emilia, the heroine, is strong, smart, and geeky; she makes mistakes, but is exactly the kind of girl you could see yourself wanting to be friends with, which is why it' Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest It's been ages since I was this excited about a book and all I want to do is scream my life for it from the rooftops in all caps. This was everything I love in YA, condensed into a beautiful book that, despite being just shy of 400 pages, somehow didn't feel long enough. Emilia, the heroine, is strong, smart, and geeky; she makes mistakes, but is exactly the kind of girl you could see yourself wanting to be friends with, which is why it's absolutely no surprise when she gets the boy. And Jake is SUCH a sweetie. When people try to write beta heroes, it doesn't always work out. They either end up with flat personalities or with a severe case of Nice Guy Syndrome. But Jake-- Jake is the guy. And bless my heart, this is the geeky romance I have been waiting for that hits the pitch-perfect references OUT OF THE PARK. It never felt forced, the jokes sounded like things I might say to my own friends, and I just. I JUST. You know how sometimes you read a book and like it but you know you're probably never going to pick it up again? I am keeping this book forEVER to reread because it was so good, I know I'll definitely want to revisit those warm fuzzy feelings. The plot is beautifully simple in its complexity. Emilia and Jake played arcade games when they were young together. Now they're both in high school and in addition to being an athlete and an all-around overachiever, Emilia moonlights as a semi-professional gamer. When she and her team are tapped to play in a MAJOR competition that might have some serious rewards, she's shocked to see Jake and even more shocked to find out that he's playing on one of the competing teams. The game they play is like a cross between League of Legends and WoW, and it portrays the gaming community at its best-- and at its worst. On the one hand, it is a thriving community of diverse individuals who can be so compassionate, kind, and funny, with the sort of camaraderie and witty repartee you would find in a swashbuckling romance. On the other hand, it's a boys' club with a "no girls allowed" sign taped to the fort and when people violate the rules, they get mean. This book gets that. Both sides. I really can't say more because you NEED to read it to see for yourself why it's so great, but I loved the banter between Jake and his team, the kick-butt Latinx heroine who was an athlete, a gamer, and all-around champion of nice (not that it kept her from sticking up for herself if need be). Oh, and an utterly swoon-worthy hero and an ending that had me flipping pages five minutes to midnight. If this doesn't become a movie, I am going to lodge a Formal Complaint because it was truly epic. Please, please, please, please tell me this author has like twenty more books in the making. I want to read them all. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review! 5 star

  2. 5 out of 5

    Zoe (Marauders version)

    I do indeed hate the player

  3. 4 out of 5

    Syndi

    Don't Hare the Player is a YA book. Like many YA novels I picked up before, I feel luke warm. Don't get me wrong, the book is cute actually. I guess the problem is me. I am not a gamer. The technical jargon is what lose in me. This is my first read by Miss Nedd. The idea of nerd hero loving a popular heroine is usually win a soft spot in my heart. I want to like this book more than 3 stars. But again... I only feel luke warm. 3 stars Don't Hare the Player is a YA book. Like many YA novels I picked up before, I feel luke warm. Don't get me wrong, the book is cute actually. I guess the problem is me. I am not a gamer. The technical jargon is what lose in me. This is my first read by Miss Nedd. The idea of nerd hero loving a popular heroine is usually win a soft spot in my heart. I want to like this book more than 3 stars. But again... I only feel luke warm. 3 stars

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Proffitt

    I'm quitting this at about midway, mostly because I don't like my romantic leads being in romantic relationships with other people. Not that Em wasn't in my doghouse already. I mean, her deciding to give into the pushy (but kinda sweet) jock and be his "girlfriend" (whatever that means, though kissing is at least some of it because that happens right away) was the last straw, but I already didn't really like her much as it stood. Mostly, I don't buy her as a character. She has three things that w I'm quitting this at about midway, mostly because I don't like my romantic leads being in romantic relationships with other people. Not that Em wasn't in my doghouse already. I mean, her deciding to give into the pushy (but kinda sweet) jock and be his "girlfriend" (whatever that means, though kissing is at least some of it because that happens right away) was the last straw, but I already didn't really like her much as it stood. Mostly, I don't buy her as a character. She has three things that would tax any living person to the max, individually, to maintain at the level she does and I don't care how much planning she does or how much sleep she forgoes, I don't buy the setup. It's just too much. Add pushy parents who are so up in her business that they crash her, supposed-to-be private, career guidance sessions and who are dictating what colleges she applies to and what majors she'll pursue and what extracurriculars she'll indulge and I'm just done with the whole thing. Not that the parents are Em's fault. So I'll blame the author for creating a high-stress impossibility that breaks my suspension of disbelief every time a detail crashes into the narrative. And it doesn't help that you can see the house of cards Em is building out of deception, trying to hide her participation in an eSports league. Frankly, I don't buy it lasting this long with parents that up in her business. I mean, you can't hide the kind of gaming needed for high-level play. It takes concentration and that'd mean hours for nosey parents to do a bedroom drop-by where Em wouldn't even see them coming. And don't get me started on supposing that she's mouse-quiet during a tense match. I'm sorry, but that just isn't even possible at that level of play. Communication is key to teamwork and when adrenaline is high so is the volume. And it doesn't help, either, that every axis of "other people suck" is ramped to the max. Racists are disgustingly racist (though Em has some ugly moments about white people, so turn-around/fair-play?). And I'm sorry, but I know too much about this generation and gamers to believe that it was as bad as she describes. Look, my daughters and a niece* are gamers in a couple games very like the one fictionalized here. The niece is a relatively high-profile player on a decent team (diamond tier though not league-level but with her own channel and merch). And yeah, she catches some sexist crap. But she is not at all shy about dishing it right back and that's not at all unexpected or unusual. There aren't a ton of league-level female players, and I'd love to delve into why with some forensic studies and a microscope. It'd certainly take a bit of a thick skin as a female player, but that's true of male players, too. Trash-talk is the lingua franca of that milieu and everybody is fair game. I gave it an initial pass as her representing an extreme case but then we see her win a league game and I'm not buying that official forums had a bunch of sexist attacks that weren't moderated out of existence sharpish. Game publishers ban people hard for that nonsense and nobody faults them for it. Sigh. The rest of the gaming lingo and culture are actually pretty well-depicted. Nedd obviously knows the space, and I'd say intimately because she captured the tone and pattern of how they talk to one another and the depth of analysis that goes into their discussions. If she isn't a player herself, she knows some very well and pays attention to their chatter with enough understanding that she passed all my considerable filters. That's quite an accomplishment, if I do say so myself. So it's sad that Em crashed it all for me. I really liked Jake. But Em is putting him through the wringer and I lost interest with the "cheating". Fine, it's not cheating. But there's romance in the air and jock-boy just isn't a match. She doesn't respect him, even a little, so playing around with being his girlfriend really broke me. One-star level broke me. * A note about my niece: The niece who lives with us recently came out as trans. I went with the feminine pronouns in this review (and niece designation) because his past experiences were relevant to my point when he was playing while identifying as a girl. And it was confusing trying to do it any other way. So I hope this note will suffice for those who might otherwise correct me with a "well, actually" should they know the circumstances.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay (pawsomereads)

    This was such a charming and fun read! There were so many adorable moments but also some serious looks into the world of online video games and the risks faced by being a girl in gaming. Don’t Hate the Player follows Emilia Romero who is currently living a double life. By day, she’s a field hockey star with a popular boyfriend and a flawless report card. But by night, she’s kicking virtual ass as the only female member of a highly competitive eSports team. Emilia has mastered the art of keeping This was such a charming and fun read! There were so many adorable moments but also some serious looks into the world of online video games and the risks faced by being a girl in gaming. Don’t Hate the Player follows Emilia Romero who is currently living a double life. By day, she’s a field hockey star with a popular boyfriend and a flawless report card. But by night, she’s kicking virtual ass as the only female member of a highly competitive eSports team. Emilia has mastered the art of keeping her two worlds thriving, which hinges on them staying completely separate. This is in part to keep her parents from knowing about her gaming, but also to keep her safety as female players frequently face harassment in the online community. When a major eSports tournament comes to her city, Emilia is determined to prove herself to her team and the male-dominated gaming community. But her perfectly balanced life is thrown for a loop when a member of a rival team-Jake-recognizes her. Honestly all I want to talk about is how cute this was. The romance was so sweet and Jake was a total cinnamon roll of a character. He must be protected at all costs. I loved watching the friends to lovers relationship develop between him and Emilia. They were both so understanding and supportive of each other. There was definitely some serious sexism that Emilia had to deal with. While I don’t know a ton about the gaming community, I think this was a really important topic to include as I’m sure people in real life have had to go through with similar things. It was cool learning more about eSports as that’s growing to become such a serious and widely-followed competition. I really enjoyed this one and the whole cast of characters were fun to follow along with!

  6. 4 out of 5

    ash ❀˖*°࿐

    i forgot everything that happened in this tbh.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Monroe

    “I’m just saying that the worst thing to ever happen to me was Guardians League Online changing their meta to make my main completely useless in competition.” I relate to this harder than I should. Overwatch recently buffed D.VA's mech call to do 250 damage instead of 50, so now being squished by a baby DVA is very real, very frequent threat. It's okay if the above statement sounds like gibberish. Before I got into Overwatch, I wouldn't understand a lot of the terms the gaming community, or this b “I’m just saying that the worst thing to ever happen to me was Guardians League Online changing their meta to make my main completely useless in competition.” I relate to this harder than I should. Overwatch recently buffed D.VA's mech call to do 250 damage instead of 50, so now being squished by a baby DVA is very real, very frequent threat. It's okay if the above statement sounds like gibberish. Before I got into Overwatch, I wouldn't understand a lot of the terms the gaming community, or this book, uses either. As refreshing as it is to see a YA revolving around a female gamer, I do feel like this would only appeal to a rather niche audience because people who don't play games like League of Legends, Overwatch, Apex Legends, etc would have a hard time understanding Emilia's gameplay in Guardians League Online. You can pretty much skim the gameplay sections though and still follow the main storyline. Emilia got doxxed in the past because the gamer community is a seething mess of misogyny, racism, and all-around toxicity, and is now very careful about protecting her real identity when she plays. Based on real-life experience, the community is honestly as terrible as the book portrays. It's not all Belle Delphine bathwater jokes. People tell you to kill yourself if a game goes badly, they use "autistic" and "gay" as insults, sexual harassment goes on in DMs and the parent company barely ban or penalize offenders (though considering Blizzard's lawsuits, that's hardly a surprise, is it?). The romance was the equivalent of a lukewarm glass of juice for me. Tolerable, but not something to get excited about. Jake is quite sweet though and while it's never explicitly stated, he's clearly neurodiverse. Plus, I didn't like how needlessly mean Emilia was to Conner (a guy she went on a date with and he's really into her). She complains about him endlessly, yet doesn't just tell him that she's not into him or that they're moving too fast. From what I can tell, his crimes include *gasp* buying her a macha latte every morning and *slams table* spending half his lunch break to venture out and buy her macha ice cream. "But I don't like macha," she whines, "and the ice cream is all melted!" Then she’s all impressed by Jake only getting chocolate donuts for the car ride. Babe, if Conner did that, you’d be calling him presumptuous. She also made this throwaway joke that didn't make sense to me: “To be clear, she is harsh, but you can tell the girls who don’t get her are the ones who can, like, call their mom a bitch when their friends are over and feel no fear. You know. White girls.” Do Black girls not call their moms bitches? I guess Hedd was trying to say privileged and spoiled girls, so not say that then? Why this random white people joke to show off your wokeness? (But not so woke to exclude a Harry Potter reference in your nerdfest book. Down with white people, but yay for transphobia, I guess?) I sometimes feel that these "men ain't shit," "white people ain't shit," "heterosexuals ain't shit" subgroups are counterproductive to their respective movements (feminism, racial equality, LGBTQIA+). They edge into extremism under the guise of humor and create stratified groups instead of working towards inclusivity. Though I already didn't like Emilia due to the Conner thing, so eh. Emilia defenders do not @ me. You will not change my mind.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    I think there were a few things that really knocked a star (or two) off but overall, this was fairly good. ‘Don’t Hate the Player’ follows star high schooler Emilia Romero, an excellent student, a star field hockey player, and all around perfect preppy girl. Or so she wants everyone to think. In the dark of night, she’s an excellent gamer, so good that she is on track to be pro. Along with Emilia, we meet Jake, another player and boy who’s flitted around Emilia‘s circle since they were kids. He I think there were a few things that really knocked a star (or two) off but overall, this was fairly good. ‘Don’t Hate the Player’ follows star high schooler Emilia Romero, an excellent student, a star field hockey player, and all around perfect preppy girl. Or so she wants everyone to think. In the dark of night, she’s an excellent gamer, so good that she is on track to be pro. Along with Emilia, we meet Jake, another player and boy who’s flitted around Emilia‘s circle since they were kids. He comes from a broken family and when they meet again, it on opposing sides of a gaming tournament. I really loved Jake. I think he was so sweet and how Emilia helped him with his trauma was so sweet. I liked Emilia enough. At the very start she seems to look down on the other nerds, despite being one herself. I didn’t like that but her attitude definitely changed so I think she learned from it. The plot was pretty good, all things considered. I liked the twists and how it all resolved. I found the ‘enemies’ pretty despicable and it absolutely infuriated me that this is all real stuff that happens to women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ members on the daily in gaming communities. It makes me so. Mad. Especially since I am a gamer and have met my fair share of awful players who judge you based on factors that have nothing to do with my playing. Overall, a great read for teen gamers. Romance is super cute and the game descriptions are really neat.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Aishwarya

    "Jake was eleven years old and completely in awe of the bossy, curly-haired girl who showed him the shield trick in Knights of Darkness and waited for him to get pizza. He was twelve and thirteen and feeling his heart leap into his throat every time he went to a party and saw her there, knowing she’d want to play. He was fifteen and hiding from her in the arena, and she’d found him anyway. He was caught in the rain, and she basically kidnapped him. She opened up to him, she saw him, and told him "Jake was eleven years old and completely in awe of the bossy, curly-haired girl who showed him the shield trick in Knights of Darkness and waited for him to get pizza. He was twelve and thirteen and feeling his heart leap into his throat every time he went to a party and saw her there, knowing she’d want to play. He was fifteen and hiding from her in the arena, and she’d found him anyway. He was caught in the rain, and she basically kidnapped him. She opened up to him, she saw him, and told him he wasn’t stupid. Jake had never gotten over his crush," And now he has his crush as her girlfriend. He won. Woof. That was one heck of a story and so beautiful. I'm soooooo glad that Em switched over to Team UNITY. She deserved it. And also really loved how her parents accepted her choices - though money did has its part - but, oh well. Parents do worry about their children's future and seeing it secure would make any parent agree to whatever their child is doing(anything legal). One thing that the story missed - was showing the shit faced loser - Byunki's reaction after he lost. Well, that would be the most satisfying thing after he doxxed Em. He got what HE deserved. Though I'd like to know to his history with Bob - team unity's DAD. Overall an awesome story with really cute and beautiful teens "in love" with gaming and in love with eath other.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jay G

    Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer... *I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review* 3.5/5 Stars Emilia is a field hockey player starting her senior year of high school with a popular boyfriend. She is also the only female player on a highly competitive eSports team. She has kept her two worlds separate, but when the team enters a tournament, her two worlds collide when a member from a ri Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer... *I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review* 3.5/5 Stars Emilia is a field hockey player starting her senior year of high school with a popular boyfriend. She is also the only female player on a highly competitive eSports team. She has kept her two worlds separate, but when the team enters a tournament, her two worlds collide when a member from a rival team and a boy from her past, Jake recognizes her. This was a cute story about two teenagers who were childhood friends but lost touch as they grew older. It was cute to see Emilia and Jake interact when they were younger over their mutual love for arcade games. I really liked both of these main characters. At the beginning, I was not a fan of Emilia, but she definitely grew on me as the story progressed. I enjoyed seeing her grow and begin to stand up for herself and what she wanted. Jake was a sweet little cinnamon roll and I wanted to hug him. The side characters are also all unique, with their own personalities and I loved the banter the teams had with one another. I also thought the inclusion of the chat forum between Team Unity was a lot of fun. Overall, a cute contemporary read featuring the gaming community.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ava

    So cute! I'm picky about contemporaries, but this one was so joyous, jam-packed with positive representation and found-family tropes and respectful teenage boys PLUS the gaming aspect gave us moments of "fantasy action" - which I love. The protagonists are fabulous - I LOVE Emilia - and the side characters are also fabulous - Team Penny - and I would genuinely reread this one, which is rare for me when it comes to contemporary. If you're a fan of Becky Albertalli and want a book that crosses her So cute! I'm picky about contemporaries, but this one was so joyous, jam-packed with positive representation and found-family tropes and respectful teenage boys PLUS the gaming aspect gave us moments of "fantasy action" - which I love. The protagonists are fabulous - I LOVE Emilia - and the side characters are also fabulous - Team Penny - and I would genuinely reread this one, which is rare for me when it comes to contemporary. If you're a fan of Becky Albertalli and want a book that crosses her work with Marie Lu's WARCROSS, look no further than DON'T HATE THE PLAYER!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Guylou (Two Dogs and a Book)

    📚 Hello Book Friends! I just finished DON’T HATE THE PLAYER by Alexis Need. I needed something light and ended with a book that had a nail-biting kind of finale. This book is about two teenagers quite involved in online video games. They met as children and met again as opponents at a major online gaming competition. There are sparks, there is drama, and there are hectic moments in this book. I love the chemistry between Emelia and Jake. I also enjoyed the gaming matches descriptions; they were 📚 Hello Book Friends! I just finished DON’T HATE THE PLAYER by Alexis Need. I needed something light and ended with a book that had a nail-biting kind of finale. This book is about two teenagers quite involved in online video games. They met as children and met again as opponents at a major online gaming competition. There are sparks, there is drama, and there are hectic moments in this book. I love the chemistry between Emelia and Jake. I also enjoyed the gaming matches descriptions; they were exciting and quite vivid. This book comes with all the teenage triggers: cyberbullying, insecurity, deception, and plain meanness. It also comes with the discovery of love, friendship, loyalty, and support. Great read overall! #bookstadog #poodles #poodlestagram #poodlesofinstagram #furbabies #dogsofinstagram #bookstagram #dogsandbooks #bookishlife #bookishlove #bookstagrammer #books #booklover #bookish #bookaholic #reading #readersofinstagram #instaread #ilovebooks #bookishcanadians #canadianbookstagram #bookreviewer #bookcommunity #bibliophile #donthatetheplayer #alexisnedd #bloomsburypublishing #bookreview

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laura Haggart

    Should I stop reading young adult books? Yes. Will I? No!

  14. 5 out of 5

    diana

    Review originally posted on My Bookish Escapades. Perfectly awkward, funny, honest, sweet and real.... Don't Hate the Player put the biggest smile(s) on my face and left me a puddle of lovestruck goo. I am mush. First of all, I know next to nothing about the world of competitive video gaming. Esports is a whole other world for me. I'm as far from a gamer as you can get. But did I let all that stop me from enjoying DHTP and falling in love with Emilia and Jake? Heck no. I wanted to know everything Review originally posted on My Bookish Escapades. Perfectly awkward, funny, honest, sweet and real.... Don't Hate the Player put the biggest smile(s) on my face and left me a puddle of lovestruck goo. I am mush. First of all, I know next to nothing about the world of competitive video gaming. Esports is a whole other world for me. I'm as far from a gamer as you can get. But did I let all that stop me from enjoying DHTP and falling in love with Emilia and Jake? Heck no. I wanted to know everything there was to know about GLO. It's complex and insanely competitive. And I could hardly keep up at times, lol. I'm going to be totally honest and admit I wasn't Emilia's biggest fan in the beginning. But I grew to love her along the journey. She's thriving in the esports world that's mostly dominated by men. It's HARD and it's scary. People will be angry. They will be envious. But she loves what she's doing and she's determined to make a name for herself. Her character deeply resonated with me, and I think a lot of readers would feel the same way. "You're so cute I could murder you." - Seven words that perfectly sum up Jake Hooper. Jake is a whole other universe. He's awkward as heck, genuinely sweet and adorably charming in his Jake-ness. He's my favorite Jake. We need more Jake Hooper's in YA. Team Unity is the best. The. Best. Can ya'll please adopt me? Bob-Dad (Dad-Bob?), Ki, and Penelope are exactly the kind of people I'd be lucky to have on my side. The chat forum chapters were my favorite to read! They have this amazing dynamic and I just want to be in that circle of amazing-ness and love. I need more Team Unity in my life. Trust me, read this one asap! "Nothing odd or secret about me could surprise him. Or make him like me less. I am clearly horny for acceptance." "Slow as these moments stretched, he hadn't figured out how to pause real life yet. Also, there were no helpful Reddit spoiler threads for making story choices like the one he was presented with right now." I received an ARC from the publisher to read and review. Quoted excerpt/s may change in the final print.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Samantha (WLABB)

    Rating: 4.5 Stars The prologue set a high bar for this book, and I think Nedd kept that level of excellence throughout the book. I loved Emilia and everything she represented in this story. I hated that she felt she had to hide part of herself, and some of that was motivated by fear of the toxic side of the gaming world, but I liked seeing her still fight for her right to have a place in that world. She didn't do it with words, she did it with skill. R-E-S-P-E-C-T! I also adored the Unity team in Rating: 4.5 Stars The prologue set a high bar for this book, and I think Nedd kept that level of excellence throughout the book. I loved Emilia and everything she represented in this story. I hated that she felt she had to hide part of herself, and some of that was motivated by fear of the toxic side of the gaming world, but I liked seeing her still fight for her right to have a place in that world. She didn't do it with words, she did it with skill. R-E-S-P-E-C-T! I also adored the Unity team in general and how they served as a contrast for the good and bad in gaming. But the star for me was Jake. His heartfelt pining from the prologue set me up to love this soft boy, and my affection for him only grew throughout the story. Emilia coming back into his life as a definite pro. They made a great team and is it wrong to root for the sensitive nerdy boy with his heart on his sleeve? Overall: Nedd did an incredible job pulling me into this world. I cheered and jeered, when appropriate, as I watched Jake and Emilia conquer GLO and love together. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ryn Baginski

    **review based on an ARC I liked this book way more than I expected to. It is a wonderful example of how to make pop culture references that feel natural instead of forced. They add to the characterization and/or plot instead of just being there for "relatability." (Plus, there was a John Mulaney reference. A surefire way to my heart.) This book is also a great example of how to use a group chat well in a story. The Team Unity group chat added so much to the plot and characters even though they w **review based on an ARC I liked this book way more than I expected to. It is a wonderful example of how to make pop culture references that feel natural instead of forced. They add to the characterization and/or plot instead of just being there for "relatability." (Plus, there was a John Mulaney reference. A surefire way to my heart.) This book is also a great example of how to use a group chat well in a story. The Team Unity group chat added so much to the plot and characters even though they were just "dialogue." Again, they weren't there for no reason. The chats served a purpose for the characters and story. Two things that can really bug me in books were done super well here. I'll admit that I don't know much about gaming, but that didn't hamper my enjoyment of the story. There were only a few times I was confused, and Google helped out in those instances. Of course, if you are a gamer, you'll probably love the book even more. The plot started off pretty slow, but it picks up fast and I got completely caught up in what was happening. It feels action-packed because of the gameplay descriptions even though it's a YA contemporary.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dahlia

    I really loved this one, despite it being very gaming-heavy and my understanding only the tiniest fraction of that part. The voice is so good, the history is so cute, I love the group chats, you can palpably feel the pressure on Emilia's shoulders with all she's trying to do and why, and the romance is so sweet. The only thing I was hoping would go even more intense is the Gamergate type of stuff - it's told, not shown (though definitely not ignored) - but I definitely understand leaving the wor I really loved this one, despite it being very gaming-heavy and my understanding only the tiniest fraction of that part. The voice is so good, the history is so cute, I love the group chats, you can palpably feel the pressure on Emilia's shoulders with all she's trying to do and why, and the romance is so sweet. The only thing I was hoping would go even more intense is the Gamergate type of stuff - it's told, not shown (though definitely not ignored) - but I definitely understand leaving the worst parts of it out of a contemporary romance. Anyway, highly recommend. CW: misogyny, transphobia

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shravani (a.little.booked)

    3.5 stars pros: • fast-paced • cute romance • easy writing to create an imagery • book cover (it's so cute!) cons: • took time for me to wrap my head around the gaming terms (didn't know there was a glossary at the end) • little to no character development in Jake • couldn't connect with Penny. her character needed more scene time (if that makes sense) • blurb (doesn't do justice to the book) why should one read this book? • binge-able • popular girl, invisible boy trope • "I am not supposed to like you bu 3.5 stars pros: • fast-paced • cute romance • easy writing to create an imagery • book cover (it's so cute!) cons: • took time for me to wrap my head around the gaming terms (didn't know there was a glossary at the end) • little to no character development in Jake • couldn't connect with Penny. her character needed more scene time (if that makes sense) • blurb (doesn't do justice to the book) why should one read this book? • binge-able • popular girl, invisible boy trope • "I am not supposed to like you but I do" trope • can be read in one sitting

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mackenzie (bookish_black_hole)

    might not appeal as much to non-gamers but wow i loved this

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ariel • The Book View

    This was one of the best-written books I've ever read. It was witty, hilarious, and nerdy. I couldn't have asked for more from this book! Something I absolutely adored about this book was its ability to have dual pov without having dual pov. This book is told from the pov of Emilia, but we get glimpses into the mind of our leading man's, head and life. Jake starts off the book with a strong introduction into how he and Emilia met and their relationship thus far. His personality is so clearly laid This was one of the best-written books I've ever read. It was witty, hilarious, and nerdy. I couldn't have asked for more from this book! Something I absolutely adored about this book was its ability to have dual pov without having dual pov. This book is told from the pov of Emilia, but we get glimpses into the mind of our leading man's, head and life. Jake starts off the book with a strong introduction into how he and Emilia met and their relationship thus far. His personality is so clearly laid out without it being a dump of information or quirks that I was in awe. We get a few more glimpses into his head throughout the book with chapters like the initial one, but also through video game chats between him and his team. Again, very cleverly written and clear to get a grip of all the characters' personalities. Sorta piggy-backing off that paragraph, I have to point out how great Jake was. He's different than a lot of leading men we read about in books. He's awkward and nervous most of the time and isn't rocking a six-pack. He's also sweet, funny, and so stinking adorable that I wish he was my nerd boyfriend. Okay. Moving on...As perfect and amazing as this book was, I have one slightly negative thing to say about it. I wish, SO BADLY, the romance would have been more descriptive. Like, it's cute and sweet, but we don't get to live through the kisses with the characters. It's pointed out that it's happening and that's that. That's my only complaint. Back to the good stuff. Here is a little list of things that I have to point out and will probably not make sense out of context: - Language bot was awesome and hilarious - Team Unity was so cool! - Mrs. Weasley's quote coming in for the kill!! - That Marvel reference tho Overall, I can't recommend this book enough if you love nerd romances and references, are searching for a really well-written novel, and have a bit of a competitive streak. I will love this book forever and ever. Blog • Instagram • Twitter • TikTok

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jes

    SO cute!!! I really loved this book! I mentioned this in one of my updates, but I never felt annoyed with the pop culture or gaming references. Half of it is because they aren't overused and the other half is because they feel semi-natural. I think the author has a pretty good handle of how nerdy young adults act, especially in the faux-Discord interstitial chapters. I can definitely foresee some older audience members taking offense at the explicit mentions of racism and misogyny Emilia but hon SO cute!!! I really loved this book! I mentioned this in one of my updates, but I never felt annoyed with the pop culture or gaming references. Half of it is because they aren't overused and the other half is because they feel semi-natural. I think the author has a pretty good handle of how nerdy young adults act, especially in the faux-Discord interstitial chapters. I can definitely foresee some older audience members taking offense at the explicit mentions of racism and misogyny Emilia but honestly, it's the reality for a lot of young women of color in gaming spaces. (Including myself). It was really poignant that even though this is a cute little love story, Emilia has a constant worry about doxxing and harassment. I've said this in other reviews, but it's really realistic to me to have stories that focus on light subjects but still have an air of anxiety around bigotry and oppression. I've been trying to write this review for a long time but I can't seem to squeeze anymore thoughts out of my brain. This book is super super good! I can't think of anything else to say.

  22. 5 out of 5

    gabbi

    almost put me in a reading slump? yes long ass chapters? also yes did i still enjoy it? 🅈🄴🅂

  23. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    The overachieving, popular girl who secretly dominates in video games, plus a cute love story, plus great diversity and representation, plus a satisfying ending. The writing was well done and often made me laugh.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    ahh, i love love love that this book was about esports! this was what i wanted (and didn’t get) from warcross. the game and competitive scene made very little sense in that book and was a huge disappointment, and i’m so glad that this book had a way better portrayal of what a fictional shooter/MOBA and esports scene would look like. no, i don’t care that i’m comparing SFF and contemporary; what matters to me is that one book sold me on its fake esports game and the other one didn’t. what really ahh, i love love love that this book was about esports! this was what i wanted (and didn’t get) from warcross. the game and competitive scene made very little sense in that book and was a huge disappointment, and i’m so glad that this book had a way better portrayal of what a fictional shooter/MOBA and esports scene would look like. no, i don’t care that i’m comparing SFF and contemporary; what matters to me is that one book sold me on its fake esports game and the other one didn’t. what really helped in this book were the clearly defined roles, the archetypical characters and skins, the meta and strategy discussions, the combo training sessions. obviously the author knows her shit; it all felt specific and familiar and believable, and i actually bought that this game could exist and that these teens would be good at it (unlike with emika and warcross - none of that felt believable even with the futuristic spin). reading this made me so nostalgic for when i used to play league of legends/wild rift and watch LoL esports (doublelift fan here), even though this game probably has more in common with overwatch since they’re both shooters. and i love that GLO brought emilia and jake together because i met my husband through league - so yes, i am extremely biased in favor of the gaming/esports parts of this book. but i’m not really sure if there’s that many ya readers who are into esports? it makes me a little sad that this book doesn’t have more GR ratings/reviews. but considering how warcross barely got into the gaming stuff and (from the reviews i saw) it was already too much for some of the non-gamers, i can see why this book might be a struggle; it’s even more gaming/esports focused and goes into many in-depth descriptions and explanations of the gameplay (it’s also the reason i love it). i’m just not sure how alienating/off-putting it might be for people who aren’t familiar with the gaming/esports scene because there’s quite a good amount of gaming jargon. the plot was pretty predictable, but i didn’t mind too much. i totally inhaled all the gaming stuff, and the representation of girls in esports is AMAZING and made me so happy. i feel like for the first half of the book i was just squeeing my little gamer heart out because i was so excited that this book exists (something warcross should’ve but didn’t make me feel). i do wish i loved emilia/jake/their romance more, but thankfully i never actively disliked them. i just regret googling “kevin in sin city” because i couldn’t unsee it, and i’m shallow, so i had a hard time getting excited about jake after that description… sorry. jake is honestly a great guy, sweet and thoughtful and kindhearted. it’s emilia who makes poor decisions like lying, though i was pleasantly surprised by how maturely her friends handled the truth. and omg i adored the unity team chats. like i didn’t even know anything about these people (well, other than jake) but i already loved them just from the way they were chatting. they’re so cute! seeing their chats made me smile. anyway, i’m not sure if non-gamers would appreciate this book as much as i did, but personally i’m thrilled that there’s ESPORTS in my YA! 3.5 stars.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cait | GoodeyReads

    Thank you to the publisher for an eARC. ADORABLE GAMER ROMANCE. BLOG || INSTAGRAM It’s been a minute since I’ve read a book with virtual gaming at the forefront and I’ve missed it! This was a solid read that was quick to fly through and definitely had me smiling by the end. Emilia was a strong heroine. Intelligent and geeky, with the perfect amount of snark and boldness. I loved her inner monologue. Em’s character felt high school appropriate, but not in the over dramatic way that can be too much. Thank you to the publisher for an eARC. ADORABLE GAMER ROMANCE. BLOG || INSTAGRAM It’s been a minute since I’ve read a book with virtual gaming at the forefront and I’ve missed it! This was a solid read that was quick to fly through and definitely had me smiling by the end. Emilia was a strong heroine. Intelligent and geeky, with the perfect amount of snark and boldness. I loved her inner monologue. Em’s character felt high school appropriate, but not in the over dramatic way that can be too much. She’s a high schooler figuing it out. The pressure of parents wanting the best for her, wanting to choose something that’s only hers and finding her niche in the world. I love that Emilia was able to acknolwedge her mistakes and understand how she could improve. It was even better when she had that last tough conversation with her Mom and her parents understood her even better too. I love a good family chat. Jake, bless his heart. He was SO DANG CUTE. Put him and Em together and it was the gamer romance I didn’t know I needed. They were adorable. I loved anytime Em and Jake were on the same page. The support and compassion was fantastic. No unnecessary miscommunications here. Just some great kissing scenes and young love flirtations. My only eh thing was that sometimes the gaming aspects took up a lot of page time. Pages dedicated to very specific gameplay and breakdowns. I wanted more of the real-life characters over an extended play by play of the game. All of the side characters were so fun and well rounded. They only added to the book and were perfectly placed throughout. Everything about this read was pretty fabulous. I found myself flying through it. The ending was great and worked out exactly like I hoped it would! Overall audience notes: - Young adult contemporary romance - Language: some - Romance: kisses - Trigger/Content Warnings: racism, sexism, sexual harrassment of a minor, divorce, cheating (main characters + Jake’s parents), transphobia, doxxing, cyber-bullying

  26. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Markmann

    I was going to give this a generous 3 stars but in writing this review I realised it deserves 2. I’m so disappointed! When I came across this book a few months ago, I thought it sounded so fun and cute. I was so excited that I even pre-ordered it but goddamn do I feel let down. My main critique is actually within the structure and writing style itself, which never usually bothers me. I thought it was so bizarre to start each arbitrary part with a chapter in the third person perspective of Jake, I was going to give this a generous 3 stars but in writing this review I realised it deserves 2. I’m so disappointed! When I came across this book a few months ago, I thought it sounded so fun and cute. I was so excited that I even pre-ordered it but goddamn do I feel let down. My main critique is actually within the structure and writing style itself, which never usually bothers me. I thought it was so bizarre to start each arbitrary part with a chapter in the third person perspective of Jake, and then to alternate the rest of the chapters in the first person perspective of Emilia and the Unity team group chat. I wanted to read more from Jake’s perspective - he was the closest thing to an interesting character. I really didn’t like Emilia. I found that almost all of her problems were entirely of her own making. I wasn’t compelled that she had to keep her gaming life totally secret from everyone she’s ever interacted with. For the most part, I wasn’t sympathetic toward her. I felt that her relationship with Jake could’ve been really sweet had it been explored more, but it felt like a very minor subplot more than anything. I never got excited about them being together. In fact, all of the characters felt painfully one-dimensional to me. As for the gaming scenes themselves, I found them a little too heavy on gamer jargon that I wasn’t very familiar with. It was easy enough to infer everything, but I found that the description of MMO strategy and gameplay doesn’t really translate to the written form very well. I found the major complication to be interesting, but i thought it was skated over too quickly. I think Emilia should’ve been a lot angrier and more upset when she found out what happened. I would’ve liked to see her confront the people involved. Finally, a couple of trivial things: WHY didn’t we get to see Jake and Emilia go back to the arcade??? That would’ve been such a good scene and I’m MAD. And WHYYYY have two characters called Matt and one character called Penny and another called Penelope??? WHAT DOES THAT ACHIEVE????

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I'll round up on this one because it was the first time I'd read a book with esports. I think the author did a pretty good job of giving me all of the necessary information for a fairly visual competition, and it handled some current issues (ie things female gamers face) without banging you over the head with them. I'll round up on this one because it was the first time I'd read a book with esports. I think the author did a pretty good job of giving me all of the necessary information for a fairly visual competition, and it handled some current issues (ie things female gamers face) without banging you over the head with them.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie (read_with_steph)

    This book was so freakin' cute. Emilia is a field hockey star, ivy-league shoe-in, with a popular jock boyfriend and Instagram following to boot ...but she's also a secret gamer queen, top of the charts in a competitive eSports league and part of a top-tier team. But she keeps these two parts of her lives completely separate--not even her parents or best friend know. But when a childhood friend, Jake, and fellow gamer resurfaces at the eSports tournament as member of a rival team, her whole dual This book was so freakin' cute. Emilia is a field hockey star, ivy-league shoe-in, with a popular jock boyfriend and Instagram following to boot ...but she's also a secret gamer queen, top of the charts in a competitive eSports league and part of a top-tier team. But she keeps these two parts of her lives completely separate--not even her parents or best friend know. But when a childhood friend, Jake, and fellow gamer resurfaces at the eSports tournament as member of a rival team, her whole dual world lifestyle could collapse. I really, really enjoyed this story. I am not a gamer (it was a huge deal when I bought a Nintendo Switch during the pandemic), and I may have skimmed through some of the more lengthy descriptions of battle scenes, but I loved what it added to the book. It felt fresh, and new, and utterly real. You were really rooting for both Emilia and Jake--separate or together. They both had interesting and diverse backstories, and I totally loved all their friends too--they may have have even been one of the highlights. The group thread between Jake and his teammates was definitely a favorite aspect. I think gamers and non-gamers alike would love this book, particularly those with a competitive spirit and teens looking to forge their own path outside their parents' wishes. I would definitely recommend this one. Thanks to Bloomsbury and NetGalley for my eARC! All thoughts and opinions are my own. 5 stars - 9/10

  29. 5 out of 5

    Emma Reid

    Y'all know that I'm here for any videogame / esports based books at this point, especially when they focus on overachievers hiding their identity from their peers. I loved the vivid descriptions of gaming and the Discord-style chats from Team Unity, oh the multimedia! If there's a sequel, I'm so down. *Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Children's for an ARC in exchange for my honest review* Y'all know that I'm here for any videogame / esports based books at this point, especially when they focus on overachievers hiding their identity from their peers. I loved the vivid descriptions of gaming and the Discord-style chats from Team Unity, oh the multimedia! If there's a sequel, I'm so down. *Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Children's for an ARC in exchange for my honest review*

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Senn

    Legit almost bumped this to a 5 star review because of Bob going all Molly Weasley... Alexis, you ROCK. I've followed Alexis on Twitter almost as long as I've been on Twitter... she shares my nerdy sense of humor and I enjoy reading her rants about things that I love. :) So when she wrote a book, it was a no brainer for me... obviously I was going to read it. It did not disappoint! Full of nerdy highschool drama and romance, it was a very entertaining peek into a world (gaming) that I'm only adj Legit almost bumped this to a 5 star review because of Bob going all Molly Weasley... Alexis, you ROCK. I've followed Alexis on Twitter almost as long as I've been on Twitter... she shares my nerdy sense of humor and I enjoy reading her rants about things that I love. :) So when she wrote a book, it was a no brainer for me... obviously I was going to read it. It did not disappoint! Full of nerdy highschool drama and romance, it was a very entertaining peek into a world (gaming) that I'm only adjacently familiar with. (I have friends who game lol) So even if you aren't a gamer, I'm sure you'll still enjoy this. She even has a glossary of terms! (y'all know what's coming next...) BUT, if you're going to put in a glossary, ESPECIALLY if you don't have a table of contents, PUT IT IN THE FRONT WHERE IT'S USEFUL!!!!!! Yet another book where I ran across a HOST of useful information in the back of the book AFTER I finished reading the book and had figured things out or googled them.

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