I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
Two online gamers and streamers find solace and understanding with one another in a virtual world as they struggle with their own individual problems in the real world and a group of trolls launch attack campaigns against them both in author Eric Smith’s “Don’t Read the Comments”.
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.
A truly remarkable and engaging YA Contemporary Romance. Delving into the world of gaming and online streaming was an inspired and relatable choice, as so many people turn to games and streamers for entertainment and for a sense of belonging in their lives. The tone and atmosphere the author crafted allowed readers to feel connected to the gaming world, and the imagery the author utilized in both the fictional world the characters found themselves in and the “real” world was profound, really creating a picture of these scenes in our minds.
The character growth and interaction were the heart of this narrative. Behind the amazing gaming material and exploring the gaming industry as a whole, (including the online troll population that can become quite toxic), the story focuses on two amazing yet struggling young people. The author does a great job of highlighting the need for young people in this day and age to go out into the workforce to help out their struggling parents, as this happens far more often than people think. The bond formed between Divya and Aaron is heartfelt and complex, making the reader root for these characters.
A fantastic, entertaining, and immersive reading experience, author Eric Smith’s “Don’t Read the Comments” is a must-read for any fan of YA Contemporary Romance. The novel really draws the reader in and gives a great balance of atmosphere with the gaming industry element and character growth for both protagonists. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!
About the Author
Eric Smith is an author and literary agent from Elizabeth, New Jersey.
His Young Adult books include the Inked duology (Bloomsbury), the anthology Welcome Home (Flux), The Girl & the Grove (Flux), and Don’t Read the Comments (Inkyard Press).
His first non-fiction book, The Geek’s Guide to Dating, was published with Quirk Books in December 2013. It was an Indiebound bestseller and has sold into eight languages.
When he isn’t busy working on his own books, he works representing YA, sci-fi, fantasy, and quirky non-fiction with P.S. Literary.
You can find him on Twitter at @ericsmithrocks. You can learn more about his books, and his authors, on his official website.