Gamer Girl Fights Back: A Review of Don’t Read The Comments

40665154. sy475 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.

This book is one of the contenders for favorite read of 2020 already. Not even kidding.

When I was growing up, I so wanted to play video games. That was how my oldest brother and I bonded: wiping each other out with MarioKart on the Nintendo 64. I can still beat anyone at podracing. But I never got to explore outside of that, because ~reasons~. One of those reasons is because I’m a girl. Girls in my hometown just didn’t do that.

Fast forward to now. Still can’t play games regularly by any means, but damn, if I don’t love some gamer girls.

This book speaks to a special place in my heart.

Divya is the ultimate teenage badass. She’s helping her mom pay for, well, everything after a terrible divorce. She streams games with her best friend Rebekah. And she’s the leader of the #AngstArmada. She’s everything I would’ve loved as a teenager.

Aaron is this sweet, sensitive soul, who is FAR MORE TRUSTING than he ever should be. Bless his little Hufflepuff heart. All he wants to do is be a game writer, which, honestly, isn’t even a career path I’d considered but it makes so much sense.

Their meetcute is honestly really cute, discovering the same planet at the same time. And their interactions (almost all through text) speak to another place in my heart.

This book touches on some major issues without getting overly heavy. I teared up reading one part that I won’t spoil, but seeing a community stand up? Love that! Plus, one of my favorite bands (I Fight Dragons) is name-dropped, so like, gotta love that, as well.

A sweet love story mixed with a story about fighting back against racism and sexism in gaming, I give Don’t Read The Comments 5 out of 5 mushrooms.

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