August 1, 2021

Don't Hate the Player by Alexis Nedd

Don't Hate the Player by Alexis Nedd
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Release Date: June 1, 2021
Format: Audiobook (Library)
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

I remember watching the first e-sports competition appear on ESPN (Heroes of the Dorm, for anyone who is wondering) so it’s really exciting to see e-sports make an appearance in books like Don’t Hate the Player by Alexis Nedd. This book includes all the best elements of a great romantic comedy: quirky hobbies, the tension between the love interests, embarrassing encounters, and my personal favorite: witty banter. 


Emilia Romero has her life all figured out. During the day, she’s the perfect student, complete with all the athletics and extracurriculars you could dream of. At night, she leads a separate life as the newest DPS on the legendary Team Fury. She’s planned everything down to the last detail to keep both parts of her life separate. The only thing that she didn’t account for? The return of her fourth-grade best friend, Jake (the only person who would be able to connect her gaming persona to her day-to-day life). 


I loved how Nedd used the dual points of view to give different perspectives on some of the biggest moments in the book. Emilia and Jake think very differently so it was fun to get inside their heads. For example, Emilia is very confident and self-assured while Jake struggles with self-esteem. The author did a great job with building the world outside of GLO (school, extracurriculars, athletics, etc.) and the world inside the GLO tournament (team dynamics, how tournaments work, etc.). 


Nedd makes use of a lot of gaming terminology (tank, DPS, heals, cooldowns, etc.) but she makes it easy to understand without it feeling like an info dump. There is also a glossary provided at the end of the book for anyone who might still be confused even with the explanations. This could be potentially off-putting for those who are not already gamers and who aren’t really interested in learning the terminology. 


I definitely recommend this to any young adult readers who are interested in reading a feel-good romantic comedy, complete with adorable main characters/love interests. I hope that esports make an appearance in more books in the future!


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