Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith
Publication Date: January 28th, 2020
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: 5 Stars
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.
This book was sent to me for free by Inkyard Press in exchange for an honest review. This in no way sways my review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
There is also usage of mature language but if you’re a gamer, you 100% would be okay with it (it isn’t often). I would let a 14 year old read this.
TW: mention of abuse, depiction of assault, harassment, online bullying
NON SPOILERY REVIEW
“And now I’m going to set this world on fire.”
Just as the synopsis says, Divya is now my queen. She is smart, sassy, independent, strong, and all around a badass non-princess who most definitely does NOT need saving by anyone.
I essentially inhaled this book in one sitting. It hit me right in my nerdy gamer girl heart. All of the nods to current pop culture really made me feel like these characters were real. The level of conversations they had with each other was so authentic. Aaron’s relationship with his little sister might be my favorite part of the story. The romance was sweet, didn’t feel forced, and added that blushing edge to this story. It didn’t overshadow it, but I enjoyed the addition of it to the plot!
As a WOC, it really made me feel seen with both MC being brown. The relationships they had with their parents are so similar with POC across the board ranging from working your ass off to help pay for rent to the expectations of being a doctor and the pressures of a high paying career.
“My Armada! I love you!”
One of the things I loved about Divya was that she was a streaming diva who built an empire all on her own but gave credit to her best friend and her fans at every turn. She knew she would not be where she was without them and it helped me root for her as she was not a spoiled, entitled brat like the antagonist of the story. There is a scene in this book that moved me to tears! Side note: I seriously wish Reclaim the Sun was a real game!
Thank you for making me feel seen, you made gaming and streaming important in a novel, and who gave us a nerdy chick who is Mario and not Princess Peach.
This book will be available on January 28th, 2020 and is available at most retailers for preorder!
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