Don't Hate the Player
by Nedd, Alexis

Keeping her life as a competitive eSports gamer a secret, field hockey star Emilia finds her two worlds colliding when she is recognized by a member of a rival team during a major eSports tournament. Simultaneous eBook.

Alexis Nedd is a Brooklyn-based pop culture "fanthropologist" who has only ever loved things in a big, obsessive way. As the Senior Entertainment Reporter at, she covers television, movies, and video games with a focus on sci-fi and fantasy universes like Game of Thrones and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When she's not writing for money, she's writing for no money on Twitter, where her feed consists of deep dives on weird history (Hamilton and messed-up royal lineages are favorites) and analyzing pop culture as an artifact of society. Her writing has also appeared in Elle, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, and BuzzFeed. This is her debut novel.

Emilia Romero has good grades, excellent extracurriculars, and a boyfriend everyone drools over. But these are a cover for her secret passion: Guardians League Online, the premier multiplayer online battle arena game. As a member of Team Fury, she's poised to become a rarity: an elite female gamer in a male-dominated space-as long as her parents and friends never find out. Enter new student Jake, a long-lost childhood friend who is also a high-level GLO player. Emilia scrambles to prevent Jake from spilling the beans about her online alter ego, inadvertently falling in love with him in the process. Told mainly by Emilia with occasional POV shifts to Jake, this is a lively game-infused romance. Nedd has the lingo of online e-sports down pat, giving the game and its players an authenticity that many other gaming-oriented YA books lack. Moreover, Nedd ably uses gaming to slice through many topics relevant to today's teens, such as racism and sexism. Gamers looking for a fun, relatable story with depth and heart should absolutely give this book a read. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

How long can Emilia Romero keep up her charade? At Hillford West, her Pennsylvania high school, Emilia is a savvy junior set on living up to her hardworking Puerto Rican parents' high expectations. At night, she is a heavyweight gamer losing sleep doing what she actually wants to do: kicking serious offensive butt in Guardians League Online, a team-based, multiplayer shooting game. When the chance at winning glory-and $200,000-in an amateur GLO tournament to be held in a new esports stadium proves too tempting, Emilia risks revealing her true identity in order to play with the notoriously ruthless Team Fury. Meanwhile, Jake Hooper is a sensitive, emotionally aware White gamer who bonded with Emilia over an arcade game during a fourth grade birthday party and has never forgotten her. When their paths cross again at the GLO tournament, where Jake is also a competitor, their seemingly opposite lives become deeply intertwined. In this delightfully entertaining romance, Nedd covers an impressive range of topics with a rare combination of hilarity, sarcasm, and sincerity: toxic masculinity, doxxing, gaming culture wars, the pressure cooker of Latinx parenting, and, yes, love. Gamers and nongamers alike will squeal, cheer, and boo in this page-turner in which the high-stakes action within the tournament mixes perfectly with the vulnerable blossoming of Emilia and Jake's relationship. A sure winner. (Romance. 13-18) Copyright Kirkus 2021 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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