Anyone familiar with the whole Gamergate fiasco will find this story very familiar. If you’re like me and found much of that whole thing fairly disgusting, you’ll likely have a strong reaction to the plot.
A game reviewer faces major online harassment when her identity is made known, a situation complicated by the relationship she’s falling into with her game developer roommate. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.
As angry as this book made me and as hard as it was to read at times due to the harassment Jaycie is faced with, I really enjoyed it. Jaycie is the game reviewer who doesn’t mince words. If a game is bad, she’s going to call it out for being bad, despite the nasty comments and social media reactions she gets from butthurt game designers and fanboys. When she realizes that the guy who placed an ad for a roommate works for a game company, she knows she should decline the offer. But she doesn’t, making him promise to keep her identity a secret and not to get angry about any reviews yet to come out.
Ethan feels an immediate connection with Jaycie, including an attraction that he tells himself he can’t act on. And for awhile he doesn’t. Being the nice guy he is, he doesn’t treat her any differently because she’s a woman who enjoys gaming, and he promises to keep her secret. As they get to know each other and he finds out more about her, Ethan starts seeing the industry through her eyes.
Not All People Suck
When things blow up and Jaycie’s identity is revealed to the public as part of an accusation that she’s exchanging sex for good reviews, Ethan is there to support her. Not only does he become her rock and her protector, but he helps her take steps to fight what’s happening to her in whatever ways she can. He also tries to guard her from the harassment she gets when someone leaks her contact information and saving her from being attacked by a friend of her ex’s who’s been stalking her for awhile.
Food for Thought
Ethan and Jaycie’s relationship isn’t perfect. They have bumps along the way. He gets angry when he gets her latest review, even though he promised not to. They also highlight many of the dynamics and perceptions about sexism in the industry through their arguments and disagreements. But his willingness to change his views and his protectiveness of her are sweet and shed some light and hope on a situation that really sucks for a woman.
The Romance Factor
The great tension that lead up to Ethan and Jaycie getting together and the sweet way they treat each other is the perfect balm for the other emotions that the harder themes invoke. They’re a cute couple and their friends-to-lovers journey is genuine and paced well. 5/5
The Steam Factor
Jaycie and Ethan only get their groove on a couple times in the course of the story, but there’s a lot of sexual tension and it’s definitely racy when the clothes do come off. Their couch encounter is especially erotic and fun. 4/5
If there was anything I didn’t like about this book, it was that the first several pages seemed to have a lot of commas, and the cadence threw me off a bit. But it quickly found its groove (or I quickly acclimated to it) and the rest of it flowed well. Definitely an enjoyable read that hit all my romance crack buttons.