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A young gamer meets the girl of his dreams in a massively multiplayer online game and is surprisingly OK with the discovery that the hot dark elf is a guy IRL.

Drew lives in two different worlds: The Real World, where he’s studying to be a game designer; and “Heroes of Legend,” where he and his avatar, Orcarella, have just joined a new gaming guild. He’s got friends in the real world, but he’d rather hang out with the Guild—particularly Solace, a beautiful healer he finds himself going on separate quests with and having plenty of late-night chats with, too. But now he’s in a crisis. Turns out Solace, his dream girl, isn’t actually a girl. Does Drew like guys? Or just this one? Or even this one? When he finally meets Kit in person, Drew is surprised by how OK he is with the fact that he's a man. The spark they discovered in “Heroes of Legend” is still there, and they're both willing to pursue it. As they fall deeper into a relationship that alternates between making out and playing video games, an intervention by Drew's IRL friends makes him wonder if he's too attached, both to Kit and the game. What starts out as a dense, vaguely tedious online gaming transcript evolves into a deeply real consideration of the ways people choose to pursue their passions and live their lives and people’s perceptions of those ways. The first chapter has the potential to lose marginally interested nongamers, but holding on drops the reader into the mind of Drew, who is at times incredibly well-adjusted and at others completely hopeless—in other words, a pretty authentic college student.

Hall (Waiting for the Flood, 2015, etc.) takes 10,000 geeky inside jokes and weaves them together with the challenges facing young people, whether they're nerdy or not, including game/life balance, understanding different kinds of friendship, and all the stops and starts of coming into yourself.

Pub Date: Aug. 29th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-62649-446-6
Page count: 345pp
Publisher: Riptide
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2016


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