book reviews

Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith (Though do read mine here because this book was PHENOMENAL)

Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith

Publication Date: January 28th, 2020

Rating: 5/5

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.

Thanks to netgalley for this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

I’ll be honest here and say that when I heard about this book and became interested it was because the author had tweeted something about it and that’s literally all it took. It must have been funny or relatable because I immediately went and requested the book and yay! I got to read it!

The synopsis really had me intrigued because though I’m not a gamer in any sense, I do love reading books related to video games. I dunno, there’s just something intriguing about it! And the fun part about this was that it centered around a video game but it was so easy to understand and become immersed into the story! I loved how the scenes were set and the one time I put the book down I had forgotten where I was because the book was just so entrancing!

This story was told in a dual POV and I literally love dual POV stories like this because they have their own separate stories but they also overlap and that’s just *chef’s kiss* PERFECT.

Like I don’t even know where to begin with how much I loved each of the characters. Divya was so fierce and relatable and I just really wanted to give her a big hug. Like when the “trolls” start taking their harassment to an extra level of terrible and Divya continues to be awesome?! GOALS.

Aaron trying to understand his parents and also trying to get his really annoying friend to pay him for his work was literally equal parts hilarious and also I wanted to fight alongside him.

There was one point in the book where I straight up wanting to march inside the book and fight (the bullies, not the good guys, obviously). Like, this book was addicting. I straight up only put it down once and then when I picked it up again and finished it, it was 2:30 AM because that’s how absolutely phenomenal this book was. The pacing was brilliant, clearly!

I loved the interactions between Divya and Aaron (duh). But what really had me invested was Aaron’s relationship with his parents. I literally LOVED reading the scenes with Aaron and his father. Divya had a few scenes with her mom which were equally as powerful (though under very different circumstances that made me gasp out loud a lot and want to scream because of the things that were happening).

And I can’t forget about Divya and Rebekah’s friendship! Rebekah was such a great character and honestly I wouldn’t be opposed to more with her because a) she’s a bookstagrammer! She referenced V.E. Schwab’s book and I freaked out it was awesome! b) she’s so strong and I really really needed to give her a big hug like… she had to deal with so much and *cries*.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys gaming, standing up to terrible bullies that have nothing better to do with their lives, feeling secondhand embarrassment during awkward chat moments, bookstagrammers (ayyy), wanting to be rightfully paid for your work, and being a part of a supportive community (aka the Angst Armada). If you like absolutely adorable nerdy boys and girls, super awkward sort-of-maybe dates, and the philosophy that you shouldn’t read the comments (but if you do… don’t let them stop you) then you’ll love this book! AND bonus points for a really awesome cop with a straight up iconic line that should be in movies, because that was seriously EPIC.

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