When a famous teen gamer and an aspiring teen video game writer meet online, sparks fly.
When aspiring game writer Aaron Jericho meets gamer Divya Sharma online, he can’t believe it. Divya’s Glitch stream, where viewers watch her gaming, has over 100,000 subscribers, and sponsors constantly send her products like virtual reality devices and watches to review or wear (which she then sells for income). Little does Aaron know that the money Divya makes is critical—since her father left her mother, there’s hardly enough to pay the rent—or that she is constantly terrorized by trolls. The two strike up an unlikely friendship with the potential for romance, but threats from a group of trolls calling themselves Vox Populi threaten Divya’s privacy and personal safety. Smith’s (contributor: Color Outside the Lines, 2019, etc.) characters are achingly sincere, and his smooth and witty dialogue’s a pleasure to read. He artfully immerses the reader in the world of gaming, building characters and settings that are fun and compelling to read. However, while Aaron’s home and family life are fully developed, Divya—whose conflict is, arguably, the more interesting one—remains two dimensional. Particularly glaring are the minimal interactions between Divya and her mother, although protecting her mother is Divya’s main motivation for gaming. Aaron is of Honduran and Palestinian descent, and Divya is cued as South Asian.
A witty, wonderful introduction to the world of gaming that could have used more character development. (Fiction. 13-18)