owenwilsonbaby's review

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dark emotional funny reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0

"Maybe it was the willingness to play that hinted at a tender, eternally newborn part in all humans. Maybe it was the willingness to play that kept one from despair."

A book that had so many lines I wanted to include here that I actually found it pretty hard to choose. Zevin has crafted such a wonderful piece of art. There are so many layers to this that I think I need to reread it almost immediately. The entire last third made me want to ugly cry. Every scene of this book was on the surface about moving its tightly-wound plot onward, yet simultaneously managed to further an extraordinary portrait of play, art, ethics, performance, love and sex, disability and illness, relationships and family. Zevin's ideas about these varied topics are finely painted, always finding room for levity, lightness, nuance and exploration. At the same time, the scenes that lean more heavily into these themes never feel like they lack depth. If anything, the lightness of touch here in everything from narrative voice to plotting to recurrent images and motifs felt carefully considered. I learned so much about the gaming world and its history which I have never really interacted with before. And yet most of all I feel the novel's important insights boiled down to how humans relate to and care for another. That despite everything, in the end, love can be very simple. The conversation with Dong Hyun near the ending of the book where he incredulously looks at Sam and says "Are you kidding? [...] Everything is funny now." Insane. I wanted to sob.

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sreads's review

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adventurous medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.75


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lindsayerin's review

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challenging emotional reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0


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unoriginalinspiration's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging dark emotional hopeful reflective relaxing sad fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

 A thoroughly accurate depiction of the nuances of the technological world and real life, this book was something I was fully able to indulge in from Beginning to end. The book talks about the deeply rooted friendship of Sam Masur and Sadie Green, being ripped apart and glued back together, through a shared love of Video Games. Ranging from conversations about Illnesses, Disabilities, Family and Friendships, Homophobia, Patriarchy, Women in STEM, Loss, Grief, Toxic Relationships and Gun Violence, this book easily found it’s way to my heart. Being a student in tech myself, deriving comfort in shared experiences is not something I’ve been able to do in literature, until now. 

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eli3823's review

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emotional hopeful reflective sad fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0


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laurenkimoto's review

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dark emotional inspiring reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

I love this book. New top tier book. The writing is *chefs kiss* it flows so smoothly and gently pulls the story where it needs to go. I love the characters; Sam, Sadie, and Marx are the found family I want. I know next to nothing about video games and computers but that didn’t matter. This book was about video games but more so it was about stories and love and the people in our lives. 

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meliroo's review

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emotional reflective sad

4.25


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alysereadsbooks's review

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challenging emotional hopeful reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

 One of my favorite books this year! It reminded me slightly of A Little Life because it follows friendships over a lifetime, physical disability, and trauma. I thought the video game component was so fun and intriguing and I learned a lot about the video game industry in general. I loved the exploration of Korean identity.

I had mixed feelings about Sam's character overall felt similar to Jude from A Little Life. While I appreciated the disability representation as an amputee and chronically ill, I found him a bit annoying at times. He felt a bit like a 'pick me' character regarding his relationship with Sadie and Marx.

Overall, I enjoyed the style of Gabrielle Zevin's prose and the way they created such dynamic, realistic (and at times, unlikeable) characters. 

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anniereads221's review

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challenging reflective slow-paced
  • Loveable characters? Yes

5.0


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mmccombs's review

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emotional hopeful reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix

4.5

This book was sweeping, thoughtful, and so fun despite tackling difficult topics. The writing was superb if a bit pretentious (though that was definitely the point I think) and the characters were great. My only complaints are that it was a bit long and the ending wasn’t completely satisfying to me for some reason, but I fell in love with this book basically immediately. 

"'What is a game?' Marx said. "It's tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. It's the possibility of infinite rebirth, infinite redemption. The idea that if you keep playing, you could win. No loss is permanent, because nothing is permanent, ever."

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