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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lex_mags's review

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

2.5


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kdelong's review

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emotional hopeful reflective tense 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


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scorpstar77's review

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emotional reflective slow-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

4.5


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meemawreads's review against another edition

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emotional lighthearted slow-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

3.0

Oh no I’m about to MEH a book a lot of people seem to like oh nooooo.
This is a story about two friends who met as kids in a hospital and formed a friendship over video games. They have a falling out, meet again as college students, and start designing video games together. The bulk of this book is what happens in between their major successes and failures, with large sections that describe gameplay. (I won’t lie, I skipped one of them.) There isn’t anything wrong with the story and it was written well enough that I kept reading despite having a good idea what was going to happen. It managed to avoid some of the most annoying nerd tropes (not all) and created characters that were more well developed and diverse than other gamer-fic I’ve read. All that said though… I walked away feeling almost everything about the story was a predictable-enough cliche. I saw everything coming from a mile off. I don’t need surprise and intrigue but having everything so clearly mapped for me gave me the false sense that the story was dragging. More than once I thought, “of course he thought ____, of course she did _____.” I don’t know how to describe my experience with this book other than “of course.” Right down the middle with 3 taters 🥔🥔🥔/🥔🥔🥔🥔🥔

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wsimcik's review against another edition

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hopeful reflective sad slow-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

4.5


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ncoletti's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional reflective slow-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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jennikreads's review against another edition

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emotional sad slow-paced

3.5


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friendofdorothea's review

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adventurous emotional funny lighthearted 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


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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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