Friday, April 12, 2019

ARC Review: Play It Again by Aidan Wayne

Play It Again
The videos are fun. 

But it’s the host who has him coming back for more…

When Seattle-based blind YouTuber Dovid Rosenstein finds Sam Doyle’s Let’s Play channel, playitagainsam, he’s instantly captivated by the Irish gamer. Everything about Sam is adorable, from his accent to his personality, and Dovid can’t get enough of his content. 

Dovid’s glowing shout-out on Don’t Look Now, his own successful channel, sends Sam’s subscriber numbers skyrocketing overnight. He has more comments than he can read. And while the sudden surge in popularity is anxiety inducing, Sam decides it’s only right to dedicate his next episode to Dovid…which soon leads to a heart-pounding exchange of DMs. 

They may have never met in person, but Dovid’s never felt this close to anyone before. What they have feels worth exploring—no matter the distance. But is it possible to already be in love with someone who’s half a world away?

Todd's rating:

*Le Sigh* I really wanted to like this book much more than I actually did. : (

I've read a few YouTube star stories before and was pretty entertained, but here, although several things happened, very few truly "exciting" things made their way into this book.

Instead, I found myself feeling as though I'd inadvertently stumbled into an informational seminar on how to deal with becoming an Internet celebrity, both the good and the bad.

With a bit of romance on the side. Which bored me and made me anticipate the words that I normally dread. The End.

Although we're never specifically told the ages of Dovid (#DistractingNameWasSuperDistracting) and Sam, it was sort of implied that they were both somewhere in their twenties; however, much of their interactions and level of self-confidence came across as almost high school-like.

I do read YA, so that wouldn't automatically bother me, but the dialogue between the two love interests was cardboard stiff at times and they continually were walking on egg shells around one another -- with 123 "sorry's" and 68 "thank you's". (Yes, it felt so frequent and awkward to me that I actually counted.)

I did find both MC's very likeable; however, every page felt a bit like it had been combed through with a Social Justice Warrior Master Handbook to be 200% sure that not a single word, phrase, or gesture might offend even the most triggerable of the Easy to Offend set.

So with the already-on-edge interactions between the MC's, the last thing that I felt that this particular story needed was to limit the physical interactions to only kissing and hugging, as the rest of the story wasn't that action-packed to begin with.

Yes, I'm all for including a homoromantic asexual MC, having loved, loved *LOVED* Casey from T.J. Klune's "How To Be a Normal Person", but in this story, the lack of any steam, combined with the lack of high-drama moments made the story feel... draining. : (

I guess I just really wanted the volume turned up a few notches now and again -- either through really interesting, genuinely-exciting moments or from a bit of steam, but I was left waiting for that, even by the last page.

For me, from a purely entertaining perspective, the story rated at around 2.5 stars, but I did find its well-written and edited. Just missing the thrill factor.

** Please note that several other reviewers loved this book. And I can wholly admit that the story may have just not worked for me in particular, so please read those other reviews before deciding one way or the other.

My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.

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