When two teen gamers meet IRL, they go on a quest to get to know each other.
A pale, thin, formerly-dying-but-now-in-remission boy named Dylan is standing in front of his best friend, Arden. They’ve spent countless nights playing, chatting, laughing, and flirting in World of Warcraft, and though they’ve never actually met offline, she invites him in. Through WoW, the awkwardness of the unplanned real-life meeting melts away. The next morning, after hearing Arden arguing with her father, Dylan invites her on a real quest to the Mojave Desert, and to his surprise, she agrees, and they’re off. When he first lays eyes on her, Dylan is struck by Arden’s beauty—pale skin, dark curls, tall and lean—but banishes further thoughts. He’s gay, and she’s a girl. But as they move in and out of familiarity and tension, Dylan gets over himself and makes it clear he’s into her. She’s wary at first—she’s trans and checks that he’s not confused about her—but she admits she’s into him, too. Short paragraphs in Dylan’s hyperaware present-tense narration draw readers in. Harrison treats her characters with love and kindness, even when they’re not kind to themselves, making for a sweet, sincere romance, perfect for smartasses who cringe at the genre.
This book is a triumph, allowing honesty, excitement, humor, and heart to step over gender and sexuality constraints and tell a beautiful story. (Fiction. 13-adult)