It is Labor Day weekend in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and a boy and a girl collide on a dark street at two thirty in the morning; Lesh, who wears black, listens to metal, and plays MMOs; Svetlana, who embroiders her skirts, listens to Björk and Berlioz, and dungeon masters her own RPG. They should pick themselves up, continue on their way, and never talk to each other again.
But they don't.
This is a story of two people who do not belong in each other's lives, and who find each other at a time when they desperately need someone who doesn't belong in their lives. A story of those moments when we act like people we aren't in order to figure out who we are. A story of the roles we all play - at school, at home, with our friends, and without our friends - and the one person who might be able to show us who we are underneath it all.
©2014 Steve Brezenoff (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers
This book has more layers than a simple young adult novel, and both my teenage children and I enjoyed the humor, characters and plot. Lesh is a metal head who always wears black, and Svetlana is an eccentric, artistic, creative tabletop gamer. They forge a tentative friendship at school, sitting at the same lunch table in several delightfully awkward scenes. At home, Svetlana's parents continually force her to join them in activities she finds torturous, while Lesh's parents are mostly absent yet he's grounded for 2 weeks with basically no parental supervision, during which time he begins gaming online out of boredom.
There are several chapters which describe, very humorously, the storyline of Lesh's online fantasy game, and I found these to be expertly narrated by MacLeod Andrews, causing me to laugh out loud MANY times. I'm not sure I would have enjoyed the gaming scenes as much had I read them in print! Anyone who has played or watched online RPGs will appreciate how perfectly Steve Brezenoff wrote the video game scenes, and even listeners with no gaming experience will be entertained by MacLeod Andrews' clever voicing of the fantasy characters. I felt Arielle DeLisle, with her sweet, clear, whimsical voice was a wonderful Svetlana, and MacLeod Andrews was able, as usual, to portray both Lesh's sulky teen boy voice and crazed, hormonal teen boy thoughts without missing a beat. Well done by both narrators.
Some sweetly romantic scenes plus a surprisingly clever twist at the end of the book gave it depth and raised some thought provoking questions about gender and role playing in real life. Genuine exploration of Lesh and Svetlana's journey towards making peace with their parents and their friends also kept this book from being a simple YA novel. I highly recommend it.
I like the nerd culture elements and the relatability of the characters and their first love story.
I love when a book told from two perspectives use two different narrators. It brings another dimension to the story.
This book was really cute and told a first love story in a really creative way. I loved it!
Who doesn't enjoy being transported to another world, and traveling on an unforgettable adventure? Thank you audio books! Happy dance <3
Slice of Life
This was a sweet book that popped up in my recommendations list on Audible. And well me being a nerd and all who finds any book, comic (manga), anime, show, or movie that has a plot with gaming and/ or hacking an automatic must listen/ read/ watch. Found this a download as soon as possible to listen to as soon as possible book. And I wasn't disappointed!
This is a YA book, with all the angst of any other YA book. BUT this one is SO much more! It has a level of realism, complexity, and grit you don't often see in the genre. It feels like someone just punched a whole in someone's life for you to read/ listen to. Which is kinda ironic considering the fantasy elements thrown in between chapters that have such an air of poetic story telling, they could have been their own separate book. (I did find this a very intriguing way of telling the story. Although it took some getting used to. Almost like LotR but with game elements thrown in. Making it so funny at times I couldn't breathe. Although if you have no gaming experience at all some terms and circumstances may make little to no sense.)
I also admit (I'm not sure if it's just me missing something) but I didn't completely quite get the issue with Lesh and his possible identity crisis. But all in all it really just made me think about the story all the more to chew it over and draw my own conclusions. That being said I adore Lesh and Svetlana (and Svvetlana, lol) I think the characters are very realistic and have very realistic problems. So it's easy to connect and to root for them.
It also has an open ending. Which I am not a fan of at all. But it's not horrible, and fits the flow of the story so ya... It is for sure a slice of life story if I've ever seen one.
Both voice narrators where fabulous. Andrews was absolutely amazing as always (he may have also been a driving factor in the speed which I bought, downloaded, and listened to this story). DeLisle was very nice to listen to as well.
Bought with a credit and definitely would recommend to anyone who enjoys realistic YA and doesn't mind a bit of game speak. Very happy with this one!
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