Title: Don’t Read the Comments
Author: Eric Smith
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: January 28, 2020
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 is a great story about gaming and the dangers that can come along with it.
Divya is a famous gamer, who streams her game play with her friend Rebekah. She meets Aaron in the game and they become friends online. At the same time, Divya begins to be harassed by a group of guys who start attacking her in the game. It escalates to real life, with them attacking her and her mother at their home.
Many parts of this story were realistic. It can be dangerous to put your personal information online. Divya thought she was hiding her identity, but some other players still found her. Even when Aaron wanted to meet her in real life, she was careful about not giving away any real information.
The sexism and racism in this story was unfortunately realistic too. The guys were attacking her just because she is a woman of colour who likes to play video games. That should have nothing to do with her ability to play what she likes. I don’t understand how people can think the way they do, but it does happen in the gaming community.
I really loved this story!
Thank you Inkyard Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
Fan the Fame by Anna Priemaza
Queen of Geek by Jen Wilde
Eric Smith is an author, prolific book blogger, and literary agent from New Jersey, currently living in Philadelphia. Smith cohosts Book Riot’s newest podcast, HEY YA, with non-fiction YA author Kelly Jensen. He can regularly be found writing for Book Riot’s blog, as well as Barnes & Noble’s Teen Reads blog, Paste Magazine, and Publishing Crawl. Smith also has a growing Twitter platform of over 40,000 followers (@ericsmithrocks).
Have you read Don’t Read the Comments? What did you think of it?