Don't Read the Comments by Eric Smith
I’d like to think I’m pretty down with the young people of today (even though I realize that sentence proves quite the opposite, lol). I’ve been teaching teens for over 27 years and I’m a mom of a twenty-two and a nineteen-year-old. I try hard to remember what it was like to be young (reading YA helps quite a bit in that department) and I’m good at viewing circumstances through the lens of a teen. But there’s one thing I just don’t get and I know I’m not alone in this. How is it entertaining to watch other people play video games??? What’s with these kids today watching YouTube for hours on end, just viewing their favorite gamers narrate while they play?? How is that fun? Wouldn’t you just rather play the game yourself? We Gen Xers just don’t get it.
Well, after reading Don’t Read the Comments, I actually get it. You will never hear me ask those questions again. After reading Slay by Brittany Morris last year, I predicted we would start seeing more and better and better books written around the plot of gaming and here is Eric Smith DELIVERING. Don’t Read the Comments is freaking awesome and I can’t wait to put it in the hands of all kinds of teens (some adults, too)!
Divya (D1V) is one of the hottest streaming gamers. D1V She has thousands of subscribers and sponsors. That’s a good thing because she and her single mom have it rough. They rely on her sponsorships for food and to pay the bills. So it’s NOT COOL that trolls threaten not only her gaming but her livelihood. Because she is female and because she is an Indian-American female, the scumbags trolling her are a special kind of awful. They work hard enough to discover her name and address and things get dangerous. Aaron is all about gaming. He is passionate about writing games. He and his BFF (an artist) have spent countless hours creating a game with a local developer. This developer keeps putting off paying them and is getting sketchier and sketchier by the day. In the meantime, Aaron has to deal with working in his mom’s medical office since she INSISTS he go to med school. One day, while casually gaming, he ends up on the same planet as D1V. She doesn’t normally communicate one-on-one with players but she’s got a feeling about this guy . . . Divya and Aaron become online friends and the two become a lifeline for the other. All the trolls and developer tension culminates at Comic Con in epic showdowns and I AM SO HERE FOR IT. I may have made many audible grunts and cheers while reading.
I read this book in two sittings and could easily read it again. It’s a no brainer for Gateway and any other state award list. You’ve never read a book quite like it.