Do you ever go into a book thinking, hey this will be a cute and fluffy, possibly humorous read that I’m happy to spend my time with and then come out of it wondering what the heck you were just tricked into reading and why you didn’t DNF on chapter two? Well, that’s how I feel about The Gamer’s Guide to Getting the Girl by Kristine Scarrow. I think it’s fair of me to say that I had some expectations going into this novel based solely on its title and forgive me now or stop reading if you’d like because I don’t think I can write this review without spoilers. I was expecting an adorable little nerd romance that actually spent some time getting to know the characters who were in the damn ship, but instead what I got was an incredibly dull and boring book about a group of people trapped inside a mall during a storm. Where was the nerd romance? Replaced by a somewhat bratty kid trying to look like a hero for a girl by…helping everyone else but her while his best friend spends all his time with her off page and yet…somehow…the feelings develop between the two who almost never talk? I already can’t even with this book and that’s not even the worst part of it.
So, our story begins with two nerdy friends, Zach and Cooper, in a game store playing demos that they don’t have the money to buy. Cue pretty girl, Samara, walking by and our narrator, Zach, gets all excited, basically blows his introduction with her, and then everyone leaves because the mall is closing. Next thing you know they can’t leave because suddenly the underground parking garage has flooded from something breaking during the storm and so the security guards all try to keep the small group of late mall-goers in the mall until the storm dies down, I guess? Meanwhile there are a bunch of side plots that aren’t given the page time to keep your interest, but basically, someone’s wife is having a baby, mum with the baby runs out of diapers, and there’s an attempted jewelry store robbery. And I’m not saying that none of these things should be less important than “the gamer getting the girl,” but since when was this story supposed to be about everything else but the gamer getting the girl? That’s not why I picked this book up and that’s not the story I was looking to read.
But fine, here we are with a boring book that follows a nerdy boy doing everything but talking to the girl he supposedly likes and then grumping about to himself when he thinks that she likes his best friend because his best friend is actually paying attention to her. And I just can’t believe we’re meant to like the narrator when he spends all of his time acting all grouchy about helping the people he’s helping because he’s not getting to spend time with this girl he just met but who is apparently the girl of his dreams. But let’s move on.
The end of the book is a disaster, complete with a rather ridiculous side plot for Samara’s apparently drug-addicted mother with a nasty boyfriend whom she is apparently trying to run away from and then the insanely unrealistic and rushed cookie-cutter resolution to the problem, a rather dumb hero moment that results in an injury, and, you guessed it, the gamer getting the girl. Honestly, I just can’t. This wasn’t the book I wanted and, frankly, the writing really just wasn’t great. I could potentially see this as a good book to get non-readers reading, but other than that? I’ll pass.
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.