Title: Two Can Play That Game
Author: Leanne Yong
Published: January 31, 2023
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
Readership: Young Adult
I received a copy of Two Can Play That Game from the publishers for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Funny and romantic, an upbeat YA novel about gaming, goals and getting even from a fresh new voice in contemporary fiction.
Sam Khoo has one goal in life: create cool indie games. She’s willing to do anything to make her dream come true – even throw away a scholarship to university. All she needs is a super-rare ticket to a game design workshop and she can kickstart her career.
So when Jay Chua, aka Jerky McJerkface, sneakily grabs the last ticket, it’s war. Knowing how their Australian-Malaysian community works, Sam issues him an ultimatum: put the ticket on the line in a 1v1 competition of classic video games, or she’ll broadcast his duplicity to everyone. Thank you, Asian Gossip Network.
Meeting in neutral locations, away from the eyes and ears of nosy aunties and uncles, Sam and Jay connect despite themselves. It’s a puzzle that Sam’s not sure she wants to solve. But when her dream is under threat, will she discover that there is more than one way to win?
Sam is keen to get her hands on a limited edition indie game release that includes the chance to meet and greet top professionals in the field. But when Jaysen Chua grabs the last copy right out of her hands they’re forced to find a way to decide who gets the game – a battle of video games, the best of five, winner takes all.
This was a really fun Australian young adult novel with two protagonists who are out of high school and still figuring out what they want to do with their lives. It combined a lot of fun gaming references, Australian-Malaysian culture and some pretty fun side-characters. I especially appreciated the way the book looks at success and failure and how failure doesn’t have to mean the end of a dream, rather a way of looking at it differently so you can try again (a positive message we need to see more of).
A few other things I loved:
– Neurodiverse sibling
– Perfect for fans of video games and escape rooms
– Rivals to lovers
– Demisexual main character
– Asian Gossip Network