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Don't Read the Comments

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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.

368 pages, Hardcover

First published January 28, 2020

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About the author

Eric Smith

20 books853 followers
Eric Smith is a Young Adult author and literary agent living in Philadelphia.

His next book, Jagged Little Pill: The Novel, a collaboration with Alanis Morissette, Diablo Cody, and Glen Ballard, will be published with Abrams in April 2022. It’s an adaptation of the Grammy and Tony award winning musical.

His latest books include You Can Go Your Own Way (Inkyard Press) and the acclaimed anthology Battle of the Bands (Candlewick), co-edited with award-winning author Lauren Gibaldi. It’s currently being adapted for film by Playground Entertainment.

His novel Don’t Read the Comments was a YALSA 2021 Best Fiction for Young Adults selection. The paperback is out now.

He has short stories and essays in the anthologies Color Outside the Lines by Sangu Mandanna (Soho Teen), Body Talk by Kelly Jensen (Algonquin), Allies by Dana Alison Levy and Shakirah Bourne (DK), All Signs Point to Yes by Candice Montgomery, cara davis-araux, and Adrianne Russell (Inkyard), and Adoptee to Adoptee by Nicole Chung and Shannon Gibney (Harper).

His other books include the IndieBound bestseller The Geek’s Guide to Dating (Quirk), Inked (Bloomsbury), the anthology Welcome Home (Flux), and contemporary fantasy novel The Girl and the Grove (Flux).

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 937 reviews
Profile Image for Hailey (Hailey in Bookland).
611 reviews87.5k followers
January 20, 2021
Really liked this one! It wasn't really what I expected it to be, but I thought it did a good job of exploring some really important topics like harassment, racism, sexism, and gatekeeping in the gaming community, just to name a few. It managed to hit a lot of those serious levels but still be a fun and cute read despite that being the main subject matter.
Profile Image for jv poore.
612 reviews207 followers
April 11, 2023
It’s tough for me to write a review for a book I love more than mochas. But, I can’t not
share my ardent admiration of Divya, the sensational Glitch streamer in the center of Eric
Smith’s spectacular Realistic-Fiction-YA, Don’t Read the Comments.

Initially, I find it incredibly cool that this high-school student enjoys playing almost as much as she treasures the comfort and camaraderie of her followers and fellow gamers. Impressive that she is
making money while doing it. Intensely delighted discovering why.

The man she’d prefer not to refer to as her father, has happily taken everything they built as a
family for himself. And his mistress. Divya’s mother is finishing classes and working two jobs, so the payments for trying and talking about gnarly new gadgets makes a significant difference. Her
first con appearance might even allow for new furniture.

Bekah, Divya’s best bud and imperative part of D1V’s streaming success and popularity, has
designed swag to sell. Appearing on a panel will broaden their audience, as well as put them in
close proximity with current fans. It is a great opportunity.

Divya’s mother is not so sure. Pride and gratitude war with worry. Some of the comments she’s
seen have been downright mean. Apprehension turns to angst as the trolls’ words turn from taunting to threatening. Harassment intensifies as the con date gets closer.

Even Bekah is ready to bow out. Disappointing, yes, but certainly something Divya understands.
And yet, Divya already knows that she will attend. She will be scared and alone, but the trolls
will not win easily.

There is one person that remains positive and supportive. If only he wasn’t a fan she’d bumped into online. Aaron is constantly dodging desk-duty at his mom’s medical practice to work on a new game he is creating. He is grateful, though a bit perplexed, that his father has been so supportive and willing to cover for him. His mom will not even listen. Perhaps if he had received any form of payment or contractual agreement from the “friend” he was working with, she would be a bit more open. And, maybe Divya and Aaron have more in common than moms that just don’t understand.

I dig how this book gets the typical teen as well as reaching students that truly have roles and responsibilities outside of school. I��ll be adding this to several classroom libraries.

Huge ‘Thank you!’ to Goodreads First Reads for the Advance Review Copy which has been donated to my favorite classroom library.
Profile Image for chan ☆.
1,052 reviews49.2k followers
May 24, 2020
don't love the audio and tbh don't think it's the story for me. love the concept but video games bore me to tears and i didn't realize that was the main focus of the story.
May 9, 2021

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I meant to write a review for this earlier but I actually just bought Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town for the Nintendo Switch and I've been playing that all day instead of reading and posting reviews. Which is actually totally appropriate because DON'T READ THE COMMENTS is about a girl gamer.

It's funny, because the cover, title, and premise are pretty similar to another book I read recently called DON'T HATE THE PLAYER. Both are about girl gamers of color who end up being targeted by internet trolls while also trying to navigate their personal lives and also find love. They're not rip-offs of each other or anything like that, though. In DHtP, the heroine is Latinx, the love interest is white (and her childhood friend!), and she's competing in a Leagues of Legends-like clone while also trying to balance school and sports. The harassment is pretty local and starts because of something personal.

In DRtC, the heroine is Indian, the love interest is Palestinian, and she's a popular streamer who plays a futuristic all-range MMORPG, which seems to be a clone of No Man's Sky while trying to use her gamer clout to help out her single mother as they teeter on the edge of poverty. The harassment is large-scale and impersonal; they're harassing her because she's a girl on the internet who plays video games.

I really loved DON'T READ THE COMMENTS. The author did a great job writing from the POV of a teen girl and while I can't speak to the diversity rep and how accurate that was, nothing jumped out at me as being disrespectful or, like, blatantly stereotypical or wrong. I loved Divya and thought she was an incredibly strong heroine and I liked how cautious she was on the internet. I also loved the hero, Aaron. I liked that he respected Divya's boundaries and his relationship with his younger sister was super cute. He has a story arc of his own with an employer who is taking advantage of him and I think that's something a lot of teens will unfortunately be able to relate to, especially if they are working under the table or neglected to ask for cash up front for a contracting job.

Anyone who loves games is going to love this book a lot. It's fast-paced with really great action sequences and both characters are likable and interesting with real problems that I think teens (and some adults) will really be able to relate to. If you don't like video games, you might not enjoy this because it is such a focus, but for me, it felt a lot like coming home.

Also, that ending! SWOON.

4.5 to 5 stars
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,019 reviews15.7k followers
January 29, 2020
This was a fun cute story, but I am definitely not the target demographic. Some young adult books will resonate with people of all ages. I think this book will appeal more to actual young adults. And it has been a very long time since I’ve been classified as a young adult. Having said that I still really did enjoy the book and I thought the message was timeless. This was a story about Devya A gamer who became famous by streaming her gameplay. As a mother of a teenager it still baffles me that my son spends time watching other people play video games. My son tells me, “it’s just like watching sports, but better, because there’s personality to it“. With Devya’s Fame comes the haters and the trolls. She is determined for this not to bring her down and not to read the comments. Aaron is an aspiring video game creator, who games for fun. The two of them Meat on a video game and become fast friends. When the threats start to become personal and lead to physical threats Devya is truly tested and Aaron is there to support her.

This was a story about being yourself and not worrying about what other people say about you. Something that I think is even harder these days with social media. It never fails to surprise me what hateful things people will post about people they don’t even know. And the reasons given in this book for this group to go as far as they did were truly baffling, but sadly there is probably some truth to it. There was a tiny bit of romance in the story and what there was was sweet. This really however was a story about being yourself and not listening to what others have to say.

This book in emojis. 🎮 💻 🕹 🪐 🛸

*** Big thank you to Ink Yard Press for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,661 reviews5,141 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
January 15, 2020
DNF @ 20%

This definitely feels like one of those "it's me, not you" sort of things, because I have no doubt this book is going to make a lot of readers very happy! That said, this wasn't working for me at all and I frankly don't have the time or energy to devote to books that are grating on me. I had a gut feeling I shouldn't have requested this, and as soon as the author and book name-dropping started in the first chapter, I thought, "Yep, should've listened to my gut..."

Anyways, I dig the diversity in this story and I enjoy the premise of it, and I know a lot of people will dig it. It just wasn't for me (and before anyone asks, I'm a life-long gamer, so no, I don't think being a gamer will necessarily dictate how readers feel about this story).

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for kate.
1,149 reviews927 followers
January 9, 2020
This is a wonderfully geeky story that explores sexism, misogyny, racism, doxxing and toxicity online and specifically within the gaming industry with nuance and candour.

With two strong and unique voices, multiple brilliantly explored relationship dynamics, epic bookish shoutouts (one of the characters has a bookstagram!!), a diverse cast of characters and VR gaming passages that almost made me forget I was reading a contemporary and not a sci-fi (in a good way), this was a thoroughly enjoyable read and perfect for gamers and non-gamers alike.

TW: discussion of sexual assault, sexism, racism, harassment, doxxing.
Profile Image for Jananie (thisstoryaintover).
290 reviews13.5k followers
March 12, 2020
GAHH I really enjoyed this! super cute with a badass female lead and a soft muffin of a male lead. loved seeing influencer culture represented but also the realities of troll culture and what women face in male-dominated spaces. Definitely recommend if you're into gaming at all or if you're into books that discuss online spaces!
Profile Image for TMR.
548 reviews672 followers
February 22, 2020
Note: Thank you to Netgalley, Edelweiss, the publisher and the author for sending me an ARC copy (ies) in exchange for an honest review.

So here we go.

First of all..

Just got one thing to say to y'all.


But in the day and age, where social media rules your world and others as well, it's impossible not to. It's like a permanent black marker mark on your newly painted white wall.

It just won't leave. It'll stay and eventually you'll have to face it and the reality alongside it.

And that is exactly what this book talks about alongside other issues like doxxing, sexism in the online world of gaming, "the old boys' club", harassment and bullying again in the online world, about giving all of us a wake-up call in general about what it means to be in today's day and age of racing ahead only with technology by our side.

Although I do have to mention that THIS IS NOT A #OwnVoices Story if that's what you've read in the blurbs or in discussion with your other bookworm pals, as 1. The author is not a gamer girl who's faced such issues. 2. This book does not tackle racism as an issue, only the fact that she's a girl and she's young enough to pursue her dreams and somehow still manage to survive the online world and the boy only going against the supposed stereotypes that his parents throw at him.

So these two things I wanted to clear up, before people got all excited because of SAID ISSUES.

But moving along, this book tackles all these other issues that I've mentioned above pretty well and with a good speed, the writing being clear and concise and showing us the development of how the girl tackles these issues slowly on her own and then later on with her friends and family, turning her into a resilient and determined soul to crack down all the barriers that stand in her way.

As for the boy, he also shows us how sometimes we want to go above and beyond for our parents and their goals for us, but also learning to be true and real to our passions and goals and not letting anyone get in the way, pushing past the stereotypes that hold us back for being real.

If y'all are still thinking, that counts as racism, or something, well no. That's just stereotypes for nationalities that are not "white". Plain and simple.

So I think this novel did pretty well, with putting out a clear message to ignore the comments sometimes and just be who you are, pushing past stereotypes and pursuing your dreams in general. The writing can be a bit slow sometimes (with the gaming references), but the pacing is good and the character development is pretty solid with her not trusting anyone but soon enlisting her friends' help to deal with the overall issues at hand.

SO FRICKIN FANTASTIC this novel is, gosh, I hope y'all sincerely enjoy it. A MUST RECOMMEND for all.

Until the next read,

Profile Image for Kelly.
Author 7 books1,211 followers
August 18, 2018
This is so nerdy and delightful. If you love gaming, stories where brown kids at the main characters, sweet romance, and a real exploration of the insidious nature of trolling, this is your perfect read.

Profile Image for •v•.
140 reviews62 followers
January 14, 2020
—.:* Quick recap!
☆ This book is about two teens whose obsessed with a VR gaming but the reality might be not as exciting as the online trolls started to attack them.
☆ Read this book if you're a fan of pop-culture and everything video game related!
☆ You might want to consider it because it featured a lot of triggering scenes, from the racism to the female oppression.

My first impression of this book is its outstanding gaming-focused story. It was obvious that Smith is a huge fan of video games and poured his heart for developing this fast-paced yet heartfelt story. Centering around everything fun and geeky, Smith doesn’t forget to include heavier topics in this story, including racism, sexism, and online toxicity, making this story balanced perfectly. Don’t Read the Comments is also featuring many great representations, starting from racially diverse characters to the case of female oppression when it comes to field that considered to be manly, including video games.

—.:* Full review to come!

Thank you Inkyard Press for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for CW ✨.
644 reviews1,696 followers
April 16, 2020
A few pages into Don't Read the Comments, I'd knew I'd like it, but I didn't expect to *love* it? This was a fantastic and timely story, and such a pleasure to read!

- Follows Divya, an Indian-American popular gaming streamer under the name of D1V who has been targeted by sexist trolls and harassers on her online platform, and Aaron, a Honduran-Palestinian-American teen who dreams of writing games, and the two form a friendship on a MMORPG, Reclaim the Sun.
- I really loved how this story deftly addresses and explores sexism in gaming, the impact of trolls and online harassment, and what it's like to be a woman of colour in gaming. It's not easy to read at times, but I think the book explores these issues wonderfully.
- Heck, reading this book reminded me of why I don't play online games anymore. And I don't say that as a negative thing about this book, but this book feels so... timely.
- I really liked how this book explores gaming - because sometimes gaming isn't just a game, but it's also a celebration of craft, of beauty, of wonder, and of friendships and community.
- I also loved the romance in this! It's slow-burn, has emotional depth, they begin as friends, and I loved how it develops into something meaningful and so wholesome.

Trigger/content warning:
Profile Image for pagesofchapters | demi.
140 reviews82 followers
January 23, 2020
After finishing this book I had very mixed feelings. This was a very quick read for me and I really liked that it tackled topics such as racism and gender equality, and I think the concept of this book was very unique and interesting. I did however, find myself struggling to really get into the portions of this book that were told through the video game shown. While I do think this book was written well, there was something about it that made me struggle to stay interested in what was going on. There were many sublots between the two characters we followed, and I felt as though they weren’t able to fully develop because there were so many of them going on at once.

As for the characters, I did really enjoy them. I can’t say that I fell head over heels for them, but I did enjoy the different relationships we saw throughout this book, as well as the sweet and cute romance. I definitely think the romance was very sudden, but I will say that it was one of my favourite aspects of the book. Something that I liked in this book was that we got to see all the intersts each character was passionate about, and I did actually like the references about different fandoms. I could definitely read through the pages just how much fun the author had writing this book.

Overall, this book was a solid 3 stars for me. I did enjoy my time reading it, but I didn’t fall in love with it.
Profile Image for laurel [the suspected bibliophile].
1,422 reviews394 followers
February 12, 2020
Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault (off page), Assault, Doxxing, Harassment, Cyberbullying

Divya Sharma is one of the most popular players of Reclaim the Sun, one of the hottest games of the year. With her #AngstArmada and popular game streaming, she's the best of the best and is using her rising popularity and sponsorships to help pay the bills for her and her mom to survive. Gaming is Aaron Jericho's life, despite his doctor mom's ambitions for him to take over her practice. When Aaron gets an invite to join the famous D1V in exploring a planet, he's flabbergasted. But gamer trolls exist everywhere, and they are coming to topple D1V.

This was incredible. I'm not a gamer, but I absolutely loved the way Reclaimed the Sun was described, and the concept of exploring planets for points and the knowledge of seeing new worlds instead of conquest and battle and fighting was a refreshing and breathtaking joy.

There was a lot to talk about in this book, and yet it didn't become an "issues" book although the ending was wrapped up a bit too nicely for real life (and I was sad about what happened with Divya at the end).

I also liked how real Divya and Aaron's lives were and how their physical lives influenced their virtual ones, and how Divya was battling burnout and fame while knowing that she had to keep on gaming despite everything so that she could provide for her mother and her schooling (her mom was going to library school! Yes!).

There were a lot of things going on in this book, particularly with how woman and people of color are treated in the gaming community, and particularly how conventionally pretty women are marginalized and diminished because "they're only there to look pretty." Plus how women are treated as commodities—and campus rape and sexual assault are handled. But how the treatment is changing, and how there are some people in the policing community who are taking a stand against what was once considered unpunishable. And also how people of color and the children of immigrants are pressured to do better and do all because of how much their parents sacrificed for their children.

The theme of the book is the title, and yet it clearly shows that there are some times that the mantra Don't Read the Comments just...doesn't work. Because words can hurt, just as badly as sticks and stones—and much worse when all these elements are combined.

And because online trolls aren't just 40-year-old incels living in their mother's basements—they are people like you and me, they are the invisible portion of the population, they are savvy, and they feel disenfranchised by brown people and women taking what they consider as "their" places. They're damn wrong, but their anger in this book is palpable.

Which leads me to talk about gatekeeping, and who matters. In gaming. In life. In everything. And how everyone can be a gamer, if that's how they identify.

There are no secret codes.

No specific quantity of trivia that must be memorized.

No specific games that must be played and mastered.

There are no time requirements, no X hours played per day to be real.

If you game, you are a gamer.

So log on, fight back.

I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review
Profile Image for Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany).
2,049 reviews3,459 followers
January 13, 2020
Please go out and read this book!

Don't Read the Comments is a fantastic and timely YA contemporary that tackles sexism and racism in gaming, doxxing, online harassment and bullying, and toxic masculinity. These are such important and relevant issues, and I am so glad that this book is making its way into the world! Plus it's a really sweet story about friendship, first love, and standing up for what is right no matter the cost.

Divya Sharma is a popular streaming gamer known publicly as D1V and she uses the money from her sponsorships to help pay for rent and groceries while her mom goes to school. When she becomes the target of a vicious group threatening to dox her (release her personal information publicly), she must decide how to respond.

Adam dreams of being a writer for RPG video games, but his immigrant parents are pushing him to become a doctor. He befriends D1V online while also dealing with the threat of racially driven mistreatment and being used by people he thought were his friends.

I won't say too much more, but I loved the way this story unfolded. The relationship between Divya and Adam is just so precious, and the author does a great job of uncovering why these issues are so serious and the misogynistic stereotypes that assume women aren't "real" gamers and have no place in that world. This is one well worth picking up and contains a very satisfying conclusion. I received an advance copy of this book for review via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Madison Lessard.
59 reviews4 followers
June 2, 2022
Many thanks to the publisher for providing an advance digital copy of this book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

While Don’t Read The Comments wasn’t 100% for me, I try to approach every ARC I’m lucky enough to read pre-publication without being influenced too much by my personal preference. This is sometimes difficult, because reading is an inherently subjective activity, but it’s important to me that I make a thorough evaluation rather than just saying, hm, it wasn’t for me.

So with that said, let me tell you what I loved about this novel. First of all, there’s geekery galore— and it’s so nice to see unapologetic geeky content in YA, because it helps teens who have those kinds of interests feel so much more seen. I love Divya and her determination not to be defeated by the trolls, of which there are plenty. I feel like I’m in a place now where I don’t have to point out every strong female character, because there are so many more of them than there were in YA ten years ago, and that is amazing— but even so, I’ll make note of the fact that Div is every bit the queen of the game that the synopsis makes her out to be. Aaron is creative and supportive, and so not the typical YA love interest, which is a breath of fresh air. Even though this is told from a dual perspective, Div shines through, and Aaron adds perfectly to her story while telling one of his own.

Also, the marginalized, intersectional representation in this book is wonderful, and comes in a variety of forms from various characters, both major and minor, throughout the story. On the note of the supporting cast, both Rebekah and Mira were wonderful, and so was Ryan.

I think I can chalk at least part of the reason I’m not completely in love with this book to the fact that I’m not into gaming at all— but then again, I read books about characters doing things I don’t do or enjoy all the time, and I’ve loved plenty of them. I think it’s okay to say that sometimes, a book just isn’t your favorite, and that’s what happened for me here. I would absolutely still recommend it, because this will for sure be one of the biggest releases of January 2020, and I’ve already seen so many people excited about it. It’s a sweet, geeky romance, but maybe more importantly, Don’t Read The Comments says a whole lot about the Internet-infused world we live in, and I think this is super timely and important.

If you love gaming, romance that isn’t the main plot, and teens standing up to the rude and cruel of the great wide web, this one is for you. It’s not to be missed.

I’m a writer, literary intern, college student, and amateur podcaster. Here’s where else to find me.
Profile Image for viajentreletras.
322 reviews538 followers
August 1, 2021
Aww! I really liked it!
Besides that the romance was so cute, I think everything was so well made, we find important topics here like racism, harassment, sexism, and gatekeeping in the gaming community.
I loved the character specially Rebekah, whose a second character, she's a very good friend even if in a moment it looked like she wasn't but then we found why.
Sometimes I felt like Divya was so stressful for me, but again, I could understand why. So I think this is a positive thing (one of the positives) that even if you feel like you don't like something or it doesn't have a meaning, well it has.

Profile Image for Blue.
216 reviews77 followers
May 4, 2020
I picked this book up because I haven't really read anything that has to do with the internet and its darker side. I have also been trying to read more books with Indian main characters in them. This story was just so pure and had me almost crying at times. I have heard of trolls and things before but I never realized the true impact they had on peoples lives. Divya and Aaron are so cute together!
Profile Image for The Nerd Daily.
720 reviews345 followers
January 24, 2020
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Vinny MS

With a full blast of all-out geekiness, admirable online friendship, and fierce fights with internet trolls, Eric Smith’s upcoming contemporary, Don’t Read the Comments, is going to transfer you to the magnificent virtual universe of Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. The novel is led by Divya Sharma, also known as D1V online, one of the most popular streaming gamers in the community, and Aaron Jericho, an aspiring game developer and a writer who fell deep into the world of gaming but couldn’t fully pursue it due to his parents’ expectation for him to become a doctor. Prepare yourself for a fast-paced story full of action that will make your heart beats faster with every page passing by.

For Divya, Reclaim the Sun is not just a game that will entertain her when days are slow. It’s her passion, obsession, but most importantly, it’s a side income that helps her and her mother to pay the piling bills, thanks to her irresponsible father that decided to leave. Earning a small amount of money in exchange for doing sponsorships on her popular channel, it’s the least she can do to help her mother who’s ready to give up her education and search for a second job instead. She simply can’t let that happen, though it means she has to face the stream of negative comments that she continuously gets.

Meanwhile, all Aaron Jericho wants is to be able to write his own script for a game, if it’s not for his unsupportive parents, especially his mother who expect him to continue the family legacy by becoming a doctor just like her. He spends his spare time to work on his mother’s medical practice instead of working on a game’s plot which yet to be paid. Though his father is a bit more relaxed when it comes to Aaron’s love for the gaming world, he also has a little sister, Mira, who he very much loved.

Told in alternating point-of-view, this is a story of Divya and Aaron in facing the worst side of online gaming community. When the threats are no longer exists online and start haunting them in real life, the two must work together in order to survive.

My first impression of this book is its outstanding gaming-focused story. It was obvious that Smith is a huge fan of video games and poured his heart for developing this fast-paced yet heartfelt story. Centering around everything fun and geeky, Smith doesn’t forget to include heavier topics in this story, including racism, sexism, and online toxicity, making this story balanced perfectly. Don’t Read the Comments also features many great representations, starting from racially diverse characters to the case of female oppression when it comes to field that considered to be manly, including video games.

Though I could see how gamers will have a blast reading this story, non-gamers (like myself) are more likely to have a great time too, thanks to Smith’s wonderful narrative in describing this online community with all its dramas and problems. The gaming plot was narrated fiercely and it felt as if I no longer read a contemporary anymore, as the sci-fi bits blended perfectly, creating a wholesome new experience in reading this modern tale.

This story is very much a character-driven one as it featured deep connection and intimacy amongst its characters. And as for the plot, I couldn’t help but compare the universe of Reclaim the Sun in Don’t Read the Comments to Oasis in Ready Player One. While the two VR platforms feel familiar during earlier chapters, Smith’s crafted a universe that soon separate itself and grow to become something entirely unique.

In conclusion, Don’t Read the Comments is a solid genre-bending story that doesn’t shy away from today’s ugly reality of online community.
Profile Image for Michelle.
651 reviews181 followers
March 5, 2020
Divya and Aaron are two teenagers who make a connection through the world of gaming.

Divya: Since her father left them, Divya and her mother struggle to make ends meet. Her online personality D1v is famous in the gaming industry. She showcases her gaming skills on a streaming site playing the hottest virtual reality game of the year Reclaim the Sun. With the money that she garners from sponsors she is able to help her mom out. Although she has many fans she has learned that social media can be a dangerous place full of trolls and cyber-bullies. She is careful to maintain her privacy and lives by the credo "Don't read the comments".

Aaron: is an aspiring game developer. His parents runs a medical practice and assume that one day he will become a doctor and take over the family business. Since they don't support his plans for the future he sneaks around finding discarded parts to build his "Franken-computer".

Don't Read the Comments is a cute YA novel that deals with many relevant topics for today's world. Racism, sexism, inclusivity, doxxing and cyber-bullying are all handled with care. The characters are endearing, their troubles relatable, and the world of Reclaim the Sun was so fleshed out that it read like an actual game. I had fun reading this one and would definitely recommend it.

Special thanks to NetGalley, Harlequin Teen and Eric Smith for early access to this book.
Profile Image for Fareya.
259 reviews860 followers
March 3, 2020
Don't Read the Comments by Eric Smith is a YA contemporary novel that surprised me in a good way and I found myself enjoying it way more than I expected to.

The story revolves around a game streamer and rising star D1V aka Divya. Outside of the gaming universe, Divya is an ordinary, struggling high schooler and this online world is her escape from reality, a fun space that makes her forget real life for a few hours. But this safe haven turns into a complete nightmare when online trolls start messing with her.

I don't want to spoil the plot so I won't say any more. Just know that this is a fun, geeky and delightful book with plenty of pop culture and gaming references, there's friendship, a whiff of romance and plenty about standing for oneself. Additionally, the story also manages to address a number of social issues like online harassment, gender inequality, racism and female oppression to name a few. Although the conclusion was a bit too nicely and neatly wrapped up, I'll still take it. Overall, a great addition to the YA contemporary genre.

If video games, pop culture and YA books are your jam, don't miss this.

** An ARC was provided by Inkyard Press. All opinions are my own.**
Profile Image for USOM.
2,429 reviews199 followers
January 15, 2020
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Don't Read the Comments is a story that even after finishing makes you want to immediately start again. Whether it be the YA book shout outs, our mutual love of enamel pins, or Divya's love for her mother, you will want to jump right back in. I read Don't Read the Comments in one sitting because not only are there moments of tenderness and hilarity, but it's emotionally gripping.

Incredibly timely, Don't Read the Comments is a story that made my heart ache - how Divya is harassed by these trolls, the lengths they go out of fear and insecurity to make her feel unsafe and unwelcome. But at the same time, my heart ached in the best way as we see Divya's call to action, the community she has online, and her budding friendship with Aaron. Don't Read the Comments is an emotional roller coaster of the best variety.

full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...
Profile Image for Jeann (Happy Indulgence) .
1,006 reviews3,615 followers
March 8, 2020
4.5 stars

So this book really struck a chord with me - the value of online friendships, surviving online bullying and harassment, gaming references and being an influencer (especially a minority being both female and PoC) - all of it. Can't wait to share with you guys my full thoughts about it!

Review to come.

Check out Happy Indulgence Books for more reviews!
Profile Image for Annabelle.
77 reviews22 followers
March 20, 2020
The inexistent geek in me has just been geeked up.

I'm not a game freak but reading a book about games is exquisite. All the time i was having the joyous feeling i had when watching 'ready player one'.

This book is about geeks. Any other part of the story was just a sideline. Divya Sharma is like the goddess of geeks. She plays a virtual game called 'reclaim the sun'. Online she is only known as D1V where she leads her followers called 'Amarda' in quests to conquer new game universe. Outside her virtual world, she is just a girl struggling with her mom to pay bills. No one on the games know anything about her life outside of the games.

Then comes in Aaron Jericho who loves games and spends his free time writing them even if his mother is steadfast on the idea of him becoming a doctor.

To cut the long story short, they both meet on 'reclaim the sun' and alot of things happened from there like online romance, sexism and racism and finally happy ever afters.

I was totally hooked from the start of this book till the finish. The writing was flawless, the story was refreshing and very descriptive.

I have to say that happy ever after came kind of rushed and it was too good to be true but i totally recommend this book.
Profile Image for Maureen.
507 reviews4,199 followers
January 2, 2021

This was so nerdy and fun and exciting and interesting and heartbreaking all wrapped up in one. Once I started this book I couldn't put it down. I WANT THIS GAME TO EXIST IN REAL LIFE. Divya and Aaron are my bbs and i love them 4ever.
Profile Image for Lacey.
283 reviews50 followers
February 6, 2020
I received this book as a part of the Winter 2020 Harlequin Trade Publishing Blog Tour for Inkyard Press! Thank you to Eric Smith, Harlequin Books, Inkyard Press & NetGalley for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

I think this book was written very well. I'm not sure if the genre was for me particularly. However, I think that the young-adult gaming lover is going to find a new love in this book. I don't have a lot of knowledge about the gaming community, but I don't think that it affected my review in any way.

First, I really enjoyed the characters. They were very much themselves and did not really care about how people felt about it. They were funny and nerdy which made the book as good as it was. They were unapologetically themselves and that was something that Eric Smith wrote really well. Divya was really one of my favorites in this book. She was so determined to make sure people saw that she wasn't going to succumb to any pressures that were put onto her online. I loved the fact that she was able to be read just as she was in the synopsis. It's one of the main reasons why I picked this book up.

Also, I really like that this book tackled a lot of serious topics like gender inequality and racism. It was very interesting to see Smith's point-of-view and how he interpreted it through his words. I liked how the characters developed through these topics as well. There was a good amount of development which I always love.

There wasn't a lot wrong with this book. It just didn't wow me. It was slow for me at times. It could be the fact that I'm not a gamer and couldn't really keep up with the references, but the book was written very well. I didn't fall in love with this book, but I think there are going to be plenty of people that will. 
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 31 books5,631 followers
June 4, 2020
I hope this book gets widely read, by male and female readers. This is a deceptively humorous look at the toxicity of being a girl in gamer culture, and of being brown-skinned as well. Divya isn't a pro, she's not the best, most followed streamer, yet a large group of grown ass white men decide that she doesn't "belong" and needs to be taken care of. There is physical as well as emotional and psychological and in-game violence, and if you're thinking, "That wouldn't happen!" it does happen, every day. And so does much worse. Aaron doesn't have to worry about violence toward him because of gender, but his parents worry, because they've seen it happen, that he'll be treated poorly because of the color of his skin. Again, this could and does really happen.

But that's not to say this book was a big downer. On the contrary! It was full of geeky references, lots of girl power, friendships, loving families, that I really enjoyed. Eric Smith has a great sense of humor, and he was able to deal with this heavy subject delicately and with just the right about of humor. I think it's an excellent and important read, even if you (like me, honestly) don't really care about video games.

I also really wish that that one guy (no name for spoiler reasons) had gotten his stupid smug face pounded, and that the one girl (no name for spoiler reasons) had had her comeuppance. Sigh. Such is life, though!
Profile Image for Shae.
44 reviews1 follower
June 22, 2020
Oh my gosh this book was the cutest! And I’m super impressed with how well it mentions everything that’s relevant to our lives right now. And how accurate it was! From the sexism and harassment towards women in communities or occupations typically dominated by males, to the dangers of the internet, making life decisions as a teenager and trying to support your family. This book has it all. And oh my gosh Aaron’s and Div are just the cutest! Ahh! My heart is so full!
The writing was fantastic and really had me envisioning everything that was described. And the characters were all fantastic! I especially loved Mira although I can’t remember her age it was also hard to assume her age because she was too young to eat a whole slice of pizza but old enough that she could read the words on Aaron’s computer asking him what to name the planet. So I’m not sure about that one. But that’s just me being picky.
Jason is a douchebag (obviously) and I want a sequel or more from Eric Smith like this pleeeeeease!
January 27, 2020
I think this is a book that all the teenagers out there need to read. It is really poignant in the struggles of being young and higher profile. And honestly, it happens all the time to young people in general.

What do I mean by “it”? Running into jerks hiding behind screens… computer screens, streaming devices, etc. We ALL run into them. And being a popular streamer doesn’t help Divya. She’s built a brand and is awesome at what she does and yet other people want to bring her down. She doesn’t always handle things well but she is brave and inspirational as she goes on this journey and stands up even when her life is threatened.

Five stars, Eric Smith, and I’m clapping. This is an important read this year and I highly, highly recommend it!

Thank you to Inkyard Press for the opportunity to read this book. I have voluntarily provided this review and the opinion expressed is my own.
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