Summary: Adam Stillwater is in over his head. At least, that’s what his best friend would say. And his mom. And the guy who runs the hardware store down the street. But this pinball arcade is the only piece of his dad that Adam has left, and he’s determined to protect it from Philadelphia’s newest tech mogul, who wants to turn it into another one of his cold, lifeless gaming cafés. Whitney Mitchell doesn’t know how she got here. Her parents split up. She lost all her friends. Her boyfriend dumped her. And now she’s spending her senior year running social media for her dad’s chain of super successful gaming cafés—which mostly consists of trading insults with that decrepit old pinball arcade across town. But when a huge snowstorm hits, Adam and Whitney suddenly find themselves trapped inside the arcade. Cut off from their families, their worlds, and their responsibilities, the tension between them seems to melt away, leaving something else in its place. But what happens when the storm stops?
Review: I’m a part of the blog tour for You Can Go Your Own Way. So, thank you to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for this advanced copy to read and review honestly. This was a fun story full of love and nods to the city of Philadelphia. I’m from New England and I’ve never been to Philly, but Smith’s love for the city definitely shone through. I could, however, absolutely related to the weather problems that the characters had to deal with in the story. Adam and Whitney get ‘trapped’ in Adam’s family arcade during a blizzard. The thing with the weather though is that they had warning, they all knew the snow was coming. I’m not sure what the snow is usually like in PA, but in New England, if there’s a risk of a blizzard, everything is shut down. From what it sounded like, they don’t do a super great job clearing and salting the roads. So, one would assume that they would close everything down as well (which eventually happened, but way too late to be realistic in my experience). Despite my personal issues with the weather, I liked both Adam and Whitney as individuals. They both have things that they’re dealing with and needing to work through. For Adam, he’s still grieving his father but he also really needs to learn to move on and let things go. He’s letting himself get stuck in the past and unable to look toward the future. Whitney is a people pleaser, specifically her father. She craves his attention and the only way she thinks she can get it is by working for his business (a rival to Adam’s family arcade.) But running the social media and worrying about her father’s business is negatively affecting the rest of her life. Her friends are really not great. Her boyfriend breaks up with her. Adam and Whitney are connected by their past. They’re childhood friends that drifted when they got to high school. The synopsis was a little misleading since I thought the whole book was going to be the day/night they were trapped in the arcade, but there’s so much more to the story than that. I really enjoyed the book. I think Whitney and Adam were interesting and well-developed characters. I liked them as individuals and how they came back together to be friends again and then more than that. I loved the setting. I especially liked the bits we got to see of the business’s social media interactions with one another. They were really funny at times. I definitely think this will be a hit for fans of YA contemporary books.
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. Review:
Thank you to NetGalley for approving me for this ARC. I received an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. I follow Eric Smith on twitter and he’s just someone I think I’d get along really well with, so I wanted to check out this book.
I loved D1V right from the start. She’s just a girl that streams her games and has ended up getting sponsorships and other sorts of things. She uses these things to support herself and her mom. Her mom’s trying to finish graduate school at night and is almost done. I loved that her motivation was to help her mom. It was so sweet. I also loved that she stood up for what was right and didn’t back down when she started to get attacked by the horrible Vox Populi. I also totally loved her best friend Bekah. I adored Bekah naming things in the game after popular YA books she loved (Like Heart of Iron and This Savage Song).
Then there’s Aaron. I liked that he sort of had a savior complex because it allowed his best friend to stand up and tell him to chill out and take his complex somewhere else. I also liked that he wanted to follow his dreams, even if that might be disappointing his parents. I hated his friends (other than Ryan). They were selfish and horrible.
I thought this book was nerdy and important. It talks about important things. The dangers of having a prominent place online. The things trolls will do and say to people they don’t like or that have a certain gender or skin color. I think it discussed these topics very well.
Overall, this book will be beloved by the nerd community. I can already see it. I loved the characters and their development. I loved the incredibly important topics it covers, from assault to cyber bullying, and it does it well. I think this book is going to be a hit, so, preorder it, request that your library buys it, because you don’t want to miss this one.
“In my opinion, if you associate with trash, you should get thrown out with the rest of the garbage.”
“I think if you’re going to be a monster, you should at least have the courage to tell the world that you are one.” Ryan comments, scratching away at something with a pencil. I look over his arm and notice that he’s working on some king of dragon-type creature. “If you’re so proud to have twisted views that you go out and act on then in public, against people, you should show your face.”