Don't read the comments

Eric Smith

Book - 2020

Divya Sharma is a queen-- when she's playing Reclaim the Sun, a hot online game. She regularly leads her #AngstArmada on quests through the game's vast and gorgeous virtual universe. Aaron Jericho has zero interest in becoming a doctor and spends his free time writing games for a local developer, and playing Reclaim the Sun. 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 po...pulating them. The virtual harassment seeps into reality when a group called the Vox Populi begin launching real-world doxxing campaigns, threatening Divya's actual life. -- Adapted from jacket

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Subjects
Genres
Novels
Published
Toronto, Ontario : Inkyard Press [2020]
Language
English
Physical Description
357 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9781335016027
1335016023
Main Author
Eric Smith (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Divya is a gamer with a strong following on Glitch, a streaming service that allows others to watch her play. Aaron enjoys gaming, but he's more interested in the writing aspect, creating narratives to go along with his friend's art for an up-and-coming Indie game producer. Divya's enjoyment of the platform Reclaim the Sun is turned to anxiety as a group called Vox Populi targets her in the game, and soon in real life. Aaron wants to help, but because of her growing mistrust of the online world, Divya is reluctant to let him get too close. With GameCon on the horizon, the dangers of doxing, harassment, and worse, become ever more probable. Smith's protagonists are empathetic, though secondary characters skew static, and some sub-plots lack follow-through. When all is said and done, however, this novel offers a complex examination of racism, sexism, and toxic masculinity in gaming, as well as a celebration of friendship and family. Direct readers craving a nonfiction companion title to Felicia Day's You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), 2015. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Under the name D1V, Divya Sharma, who seems to be of South Asian descent, uses a platform called Glitch to livestream herself playing Reclaim the Sun from the New Jersey apartment she shares with her single mother. She is just starting to gain sponsors and make some much-needed money from her channel—helping her mom to pay rent—when a group calling themselves Vox Populi begins to harass her. Aaron Jericho, a Honduran-Palestinian teen from Philadelphia, would much rather develop video games than follow his doctor mother into medicine. His big break might be working for ManaPunk, a company formed by a friend who seems to be doing very well. When D1V and Aaron meet online while playing Reclaim, a friendship blossoms, but as Divya's online harassment moves into the real world and she finds herself physically at risk, Aaron feels helpless to defend her. Through Divya and Aaron's alternating voices, Smith (The Girl and the Grove) tackles the difficult topics of sexual and racial harassment online and in gaming communities while diving into the world of live-stream gaming. Aaron is a far more robust character, with motivations and an emotional depth that are missing from Divya's characterization. Still, Smith realistically juxtaposes the benefits of online relationships with the dangers of doxxing and other types of virtual harassment, underlining Divya's strength and determination online and IRL. Ages 13–up. Agent: Dawn Frederick, Red Sofa Literary. (Jan.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 9 Up—Divya's whole life is online. Known as D1V, she has built a reputation and following on the massive multiplayer online game Reclaim the Sun. As she helps cover the bills with promotional items she receives, her mantra is this: don't read the comments. But when troll group Vox Populi goes beyond leaving nasty comments and starts harassing her in real life, Divya finds herself at a crossroads—does she shut it all down for her and her loved ones' safety? Or does she power through and show the Vox Populi they can't silence her? Then there's Aaron. When the two meet through the game, Divya stands by her usual policies of sharing minimal personal information for her protection—but as the Vox Populi gets closer, she'll need someone in her corner. This novel brings important points to the conversation around women and people of color in gaming. Readers will nod with recognition, particularly those entrenched in the gaming community and who have witnessed the events surrounding Gamergate. With much of the action taking place in-game, the plot drags with abstract stakes until the end, but is saved by the sarcastic Divya and thoughtful, if naïve, Aaron. The prose is sometimes set back by its self-conscious style, especially around discussion of the book's feminist and social justice center. Despite this, many readers will enjoy the finish. VERDICT A solid pick for fans of Ernest Cline's Ready Player One looking for something a little more immediate to our times. A worthy purchase for communities where nerd and gaming culture thrive.—Abby Hargreaves, District of Columbia Public Library Copyright 2019 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

An elite gamer who uses her rising-star status to secure sponsorships to help her struggling family and a fellow player who resists his mom’s ambitions for his future find their virtual worlds and blossoming romance challenged by gaming trolls and malicious doxing. 30,000 first printing. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

An elite gamer who uses her status to secure sponsorships to help her struggling family and a fellow player who resists his mom's ambitions for his future find their virtual worlds and blossoming romance challenged by malicious trolls.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"Wonderfully geeky and deeply compassionate." —Marieke Nijkamp, #1 New York Times bestselling authorIn this charming novel by Eric Smith, two teen gamers find their virtual worlds—and blossoming romance—invaded by the real-world issues of trolling and doxing in the gaming community.We all need a place to escape the real world. For Divya and Aaron, it’s the world of online gaming. While Divya trades her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay rent, Aaron plays as a way to fuel his own dreams of becoming a game developer—and as a way to disappear when his mom starts talking about medical school.After a chance online meeting, the pair decides to team up. But they soon find themselves the targets of a group of internet trolls, who begin launching a real-world doxxing campaign, threatening Aaron’s dream and Divya’s actual life. They think they can drive her out of the game, but Divya’s whole world is on the line…And she isn’t going down without a fight.Looking for more from Eric Smith? Don't miss You Can Go Your Own Way!