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Play It Again

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The videos are fun.

But it's the host who has him coming back for more...

When Seattle-based blind YouTuber Dovid Rosenstein finds Sam Doyle's Let's Play channel, playitagainsam, he's instantly captivated by the Irish gamer. Everything about Sam is adorable, from his accent to his personality, and Dovid can't get enough of his content.

Dovid's glowing shout-out on Don't Look Now, his own successful channel, sends Sam's subscriber numbers skyrocketing overnight. He has more comments than he can read. And while the sudden surge in popularity is anxiety inducing, Sam decides it's only right to dedicate his next episode to Dovid...which soon leads to a heart-pounding exchange of DMs.

They may have never met in person, but Dovid's never felt this close to anyone before. What they have feels worth exploring--no matter the distance. But is it possible to already be in love with someone who's half a world away?

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise : all the romance you're looking for with an HEA/HFN. It's a promise!

This book is approximately 69,000 words

288 pages, ebook

First published April 22, 2019

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About the author

Aidan Wayne

12 books74 followers
Aidan Wayne has been publishing LGBTQ+ fiction since 2016. While they usually stick with contemporary romance (both adult and YA), some soft sci-fi/fantasy has been known to sneak in as well. They primarily write character-driven stories with happy endings, because, dammit, queer people deserve happy endings too.

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5 stars
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151 (31%)
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148 (30%)
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55 (11%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 177 reviews
Profile Image for ☆ Todd.
1,370 reviews1,507 followers
March 9, 2019

*Le Sigh* I really wanted to like this book much more than I actually did. : (

I've read a few YouTube star stories before and was pretty entertained, but here, although several things happened, very few truly "exciting" things made their way into this book.

Instead, I found myself feeling as though I'd inadvertently stumbled into an informational seminar on how to deal with becoming an Internet celebrity, both the good and the bad.

With a bit of romance on the side. Which bored me and made me anticipate the words that I normally dread. The End.

Although we're never specifically told the ages of Dovid (#DistractingNameWasSuperDistracting) and Sam, it was sort of implied that they were both somewhere in their twenties; however, much of their interactions and level of self-confidence came across as almost high school-like.

I do read YA, so that wouldn't automatically bother me, but the dialogue between the two love interests was cardboard stiff at times and they continually were walking on egg shells around one another -- with 123 "sorry's" and 68 "thank you's". (Yes, it felt so frequent and awkward to me that I actually counted.)

I did find both MC's very likeable; however, every page felt a bit like it had been combed through with a Social Justice Warrior Master Handbook to be 200% sure that not a single word, phrase, or gesture might offend even the most triggerable of the Easy to Offend set.

So with the already-on-edge interactions between the MC's, the last thing that I felt that this particular story needed was to limit the physical interactions to only kissing and hugging, as the rest of the story wasn't that action-packed to begin with.

Yes, I'm all for including a homoromantic asexual MC, having loved, loved *LOVED* Casey from T.J. Klune's "How To Be a Normal Person", but in this story, the lack of any steam, combined with the lack of high-drama moments made the story feel... draining. : (

I guess I just really wanted the volume turned up a few notches now and again -- either through really interesting, genuinely-exciting moments or from a bit of steam, but I was left waiting for that, even by the last page.

For me, from a purely entertaining perspective, the story rated at around 2.5 stars, but I did find its well-written and edited. Just missing the thrill factor.

** Please note that several other reviewers loved this book. And I can wholly admit that the story may have just not worked for me in particular, so please read those other reviews before deciding one way or the other.


My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.

See All My Latest Reads (Review Quick-Links)

Profile Image for Ari.
338 reviews224 followers
April 21, 2019
2 why the fuck does this keep happening to me stars

Aww man, I really wanted to like this book; but since I really did not want to read pages upon pages of texts exchanged, a litany of apologies for everything and anything (which honestly was annoying as fuck), and an instruction manual to how to "YouTube", I loathed it.

At least I tried eh? Even if I did skim through the last 45% of it.

Profile Image for Alex ✰ Comets and Comments ✰.
173 reviews2,750 followers
April 3, 2019
“I think I always feel like being kissed by you...”


{2.5 stars} This was such a fast and soft read, I flew through it! Although it wasn't without its flaws, Sam and Dovid were nerdy-cute jellybeans. Also, !!!YES!!! for ace representation <3


short and sweet Play it Again follows Dovid and Sam as they find each other through YouTube. Dovid is a blind extroverted YouTuber that documents restaurant reviews, vlogs and the lives of him and his sister, Rachel. One day, Rachel stumbles upon Sam's video gaming channel and soon enough, Dovid starts listening to him. Once Dovid and Sam start talking, they start falling for each other almost immediately.

This was really cute but I really wish there was more of that! I felt like the romance in this book was sparse and very quick. It was definitely insta-love but even that can be done well, if the reader is captured by the characters enough. But unfortunately everytime I was interested in Sam and Dovid's love, something else took the spotlight. For example, the first 10% of the book was basically a restaurant review?? Also, I have never known so much about youtube and vlogging until this book, so if ever any of you need advice, i'm your girl ;) (I'm really not.)

The dialogue felt overly robotic and didn't follow a fluid rhythm I could get into. Dovid and Sam often shared the same voices so it was really hard to emotionally attach myself to the story at all. Although yes, this was indeed very cute and cuddly, I wanted more. I think this book could have so much potential if the characters were fleshed out and the story had more romance. There were some awesome representations in this book and the message was so relevant!

"I’m already attracted to you. Just because of who you are. I’m attracted to you, so you’re attractive. Boom. Done."
Profile Image for anna (½ of readsrainbow).
596 reviews1,842 followers
October 19, 2019
rep: bi Jewish blind mc, gay ace li, Jewish aroace major side character

ARC provided by the publisher.

There are books that have great blurbs, absolutely fantastic sounding blurbs and then. They just. Disappoint you in every possible way. This is one of those books.

TL;DR (like I wish I could have done with this book): this is more a (boring) how-to guide on becoming a successful youtuber & dealing with that success than a novel. The characters are utterly forgettable, the tension doesn’t exist, there isn’t any real plot & the ending jumps out at you out of nowhere.

Now, let’s get into some details.

» the writing is very simple but that’s not all. The author describes each and every action their characters take, down to an almost complete recipe for something Dovid cooks at one time. I do not need a play by play of every scene, no one does. And the worst part is, those descriptions are also incredibly boring, so there’s really nothing to defend them.

» the boringness is in the dialogues as well. Really, that’s no surprise, dialogues are actually harder to write. Dovid and Sam talk for the majority of their relationship through DMs and texts and those reads like it’s a couple of 13yo texting. How many times can a person say “Sorry” and “Thank you”! How polite does Wayne think people need to be and why do they think people can only be polite by saying “sorry” and “thank you” twice in every sentence. I honestly don’t remember the last time I’ve read something that felt this unnatural. You’re probably thinking that it got better, once they started talking in person? Oh boy, are you wrong… Nothing I complain about in this book gets better.

» and if you thought the whole book is boring just because of the writing style, you were wrong again. It’s the main contributor, sure, but actually the pacing of this story? It’s so slow and unexciting, it’s kinda hard to say it even exists. Listen, I know I might enjoy angst a little bit too much, but you gotta have some, in order for a story to work! Here you just get fluff, more fluff and then some problems that get worked out on like the next page. It’s exhausting. The fluff isn’t even enjoyable, either, and that’s because the writing is stiff, like I said before, but also:

» the characters are just cardboard. I can list a few main characteristics for them, sure, but they are going to be extremely generic and vague. It’s impossible to connect to either of them and thus also root for them. Not that there’s any indication in the text at all that they won’t get a happy ending… But anyway, both Dovid and Sam are very much one-dimensional, more a canvas for representation than anything else. Neither of them really grows throughout the story, even if it’s made to seem like Sam does. But does he really? It feels more like Dovid has an idea of how Sam should act, rants about it randomly in the heat of the moment, and then finally Sam acts in a different way. (More like, tells Dovid he agrees with him.)

So we established that this is simply a poorly written book. Honestly, it kind of feels like not even the first draft, but more - a very detailed outline of the first draft. All the events that the author imagined are described and that’s… it. But there’s another thing I wanted to mention and that’s representation. Dovid and his twin sister Rachel are Jewish, Dovid is bisexual and blind due to illness, Rachel is aroace and Sam (the love interest) is a gay ace. I’m not disabled in any way, so I can’t really judge the rep here, but then - the author isn’t blind either. And frankly? With how much constant focus was put on Dovid’s blindness? With how much of a main point in the story it really was? I don’t know, I just feel like it’s not exactly a sighted person’s place to tell a story like this… I might be wrong and I would love to read some ownvoices reviews but sadly I couldn’t find any. (Which is a whole other problem, but more for the publisher than the author.)

Listen, if you want to read a cute, fluffy romance between two youtubers, just read How to Repair a Mechanical Heart. It even features fake dating! Meanwhile, all Play It Again has to offer is a happy ending that doesn’t make you feel any kind of way, because by the time you get to it, you’re bored out of your mind.
Profile Image for Trio.
3,071 reviews176 followers
June 4, 2019
I had the best time with this one! Plus now I'm three steps closer to understanding what's up with my kids watching other people play video games.

Play it Again is the first book I've read by Aidan Wayne and I'm definitely impressed. They developed the characters beautifully, there's humor and a bit of angst, and the romance is as charming as it gets.

I'll admit, I cheated a bit on this one. When I saw how fast this novel got turned into an audiobook (and narrated by Sean Crisden, no less) I listened to it instead of reading it. I think that worked better for me since my understanding of DMing and Vloggers is basically nil. Mr. Crisden does an excellent job with the voices for these two young men. I especially enjoyed Sam's sweet and understated Irish lilt. Well done!

a copy of Play it Again was provided by NetGalley for the purpose of my review
Profile Image for CrabbyPatty.
1,588 reviews173 followers
August 16, 2021
I've been pleasantly surprised in the past by Aidan Wayne's novellas Loud and Clear and Counterbalance and was intrigued by the blurb for "Play It Again." However, this book just did not work for me, for a number of reasons.

Dovid and his sister Rachel are Seattle-based social media stars with a very popular YouTube channel "Don't Look Now" that provides restaurant and product reviews, as well as commentaries and interaction with their legion of subscribers. Dovid is blind so his restaurant reviews assess accessibility and he speaks to school children as well as charities about his life and overcoming challenges.

Rachel's random mention of an Irish gamer's Let's Play videos sparks Dovid's interest and after a shout-out, all of a sudden Sam's life is changed, with new subscribers and a lot of interest in his videos. Sam, who has social anxiety, reaches out to Dovid for support dealing with this new phenomena and slowly they become friends, exchanging DMs and eventually phoning one another. Over time they begin to look forward to speaking with each other and slowly, very slowly, realize they might be falling in love.

I'm probably not spoiling anything here, but Dovid and Sam fall in love, and eventually meet one another. Dovid is bisexual and helps Sam figure out that he is a homoromantic asexual so there is no on-page sex, but a lot of mutually agreed and enjoyed hugging and cuddling here which is sweet and very tender. However, the pace of the story is glacial because there are months and months of DMs, followed by months and months until they meet, and then months and months until the foundation is laid for their HEA. In addition, we learn a LOT of information about YouTube videos, planning and scheduling video downloads, monetizing videos, setting up a Patreon account and providing subscriber incentives, how to film and edit videos, lather, rinse, repeat.

I felt there was little character development of the two MCs other than a lot of "I love yous" and so much of the plot was focused on monetizing their respective social media endeavors that I came to a point where I considered DNFing this book. Personally, I felt this story would have worked much better as a brief and focused 100 page novella, rather than a bloated 288 page book. I've giving "Play it Again" 2.5 stars and cannot recommend it.

I received an ARC from Carina Press, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Visit my blog, Sinfully Good Gay Book Reviews
Profile Image for Seema Rao.
Author 2 books47 followers
March 6, 2019
Sweet ~ Realistic

tl;dr: Love is something everyone wants and deserves no matter how many hits they get.

Dovid had a rare disorder and lost both of his eyes, but that didn't stop him from becoming a YouTube sensation. Through his global presence, he meets and falls in love with Sam. Love ensues, though with a few speed bumps. This was a very sweet book with well-done characters and realistic situations (though most of us won't enjoy internet fame. It's worth noting that there are some important issues of homophobia being aimed at an MC. Otherwise, great romance novel.

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Seema Rao Write : Instagram| Blog| Twitter|
Profile Image for namericanwordcat.
2,442 reviews415 followers
March 12, 2019
I adored this romance. Very tender and funny. And just lovely.

I am a huge nerd so I watch a lot of Let's Plays more on Twitch than You Tube but this long distance love story between a Vlogger and gsmer really worked for me.

Dovid is charming and so is Sam is a much more sweet way. They both crush hard on each other and its so fun. They become friends and then the romance blooms.

The connection is what this book is all about with some weaving in of consent culture, a disabled hero with full agency, and asexuality.

Great secondary character in Dovid's twin sister.

The book is about these wonderful heroes and I was charmed.
Profile Image for Amy .
446 reviews11 followers
March 6, 2019
happy sigh

Review to come!

Update: 06/03/19
Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book!

Title: Play It Again
Author: Aidan Wayne
Genre: Contemporary romance
My rating: 4 stars
Trigger/content warnings: anxiety, bullying (past), emotional abuse by a parent
Representation: blind, Jewish and bisexual main character, homoromantic ace main character and aroace side character.

This story is told through dual narrative 1st person perspective by our two main characters, Dovid and Sam. Both are Youtubers, Dovid is a "Youtube star" whereas Sam is a relatively small Youtuber. But that all changes when Dovid plugs Sam's account on his own channel and Sam is suddenly flooded with fans and new followers. Sam and Dovid soon strike up a friendship, and later a romance, after this turn of events.

This book was absolutely adorable and so lovely to read. It's pure fluff and loveliness and I finished this in one sitting! The book starts off with Dovid and Rachel (Dovid's twin sister) filming a review video for a cafe called "The Sweet Spot". I loved the fact that accessibility for people with disabilities was talked about a lot throughout the book, but especially when Dovid reviews the places he goes. It's such an important thing that I feel is very overlooked, especially in books. So happy to see it discussed in this one!

The romance was so so lovely. One thing I really liked was the fact that Dovid never assumed that Sam would be into sex and that it wasn't a problem either way, he never pushed or pressured Sam and every time he wanted to initiate something, he would ask for Sam's permission first. The book also deals with a lot of talks about sexuality, especially Sam's sexuality. He is learning and discovering who he is throughout the book, and still has a long way to go, but he is definitely on the right track.

Overall, I loved this book, it was a breath of fresh air. I would 100% recommend reading this to anyone who likes sweet romance with a diverse set of characters.
Profile Image for Helen Kord.
325 reviews37 followers
June 7, 2019
TWs/CWs: parental abuse and self esteem issues relating to that, car crash, references to ableism and homophobia

Oh this was such a wonderful, warm, validating read. It felt completely tailored to what I needed.

First of all, if you’re looking for an action-heavy, plot-driven book, then this isn’t it. This is a gentle and slow exploration of emotions, breaking out of abusive parenthood and feelings of self-worth (or lack of), building up your career in doing something you love and consequently learning to love and respect yourself, and just people supporting each other.

The relationship between Dovid and Sam was so, so sweet. They respected each other, they listened and communicated. I burst into tears when Dovid told Sam that he was going to respect his asexuality and not push him into sex, because it was so beautiful and refreshing to see. The fact that they don’t, in fact, have sex in the book? Still seems unfanthomable to me. Romance folks tend to accept only the ‘I don’t need it, but I’m still gonna have sex’ asexuals, which has always been a source of frustration and bitterness for me. But no, Dovid really does respect Sam and never pushes him into anything he’s not comfortable with. I wish that wasn’t such a shock to me, but here we are.

I absolutely loved the content creator aspect of the book. As a content creator who is maybe a bit too much into the ‘behind the scenes’ of youtube video creation, this was so up my alley it’s not even funny. I was nodding along when they talked about setting up patreon and ko-fi and the technicals around building an audience. Does that drag for a readers who aren’t into such arguably niche details? Yes, probably.

Which brings me to the issues. While I loved all the content creator details and I think the author absolutely nailed the way people text, it can feel a bit tedious at times that majority of their communication happens over texts. And while that’s understandable for a long distance relationship, it’s not always exactly thrilling.

Ultimately, this book felt extremely validating to me as an asexual. Being sex-repulsed in the romance community can be a very lonely and sad experience sometimes, and this book is exactly what I needed to soothe my tired asexual soul.
Profile Image for Erin.
706 reviews7 followers
September 26, 2020
After reading the premise of this story I was expecting something super sweet. Unfortunately that wasn’t the reality and what I got was very different to the story I thought I was getting.

Let’s start with the characters - of which there’s really only 3 in the whole book. They were likeable enough, but they were a bit awkward, and the dialogue between them all was stiff and disconnected with a billion sorrys and no that’s okays, and thank yous.

The writing was very tell, with not enough show, I found it to be a bit flat and quite emotionless, it’s supposed to be a romance, and it felt far from romantic. The time jumps were also confusing. Some sections were really drawn out, but in one chapter it’s Christmas and the next chapter it’s February with no indication that we’ve moved forward.

Overall this book piqued very little interest from me and I had to resort to skimming to just get through it. I almost DNF’d it, but I kept holding out for something to happen. I got something finally, but not until the last page.

Oh well, guess this one wasn’t for me.

Thank you to Aidan Wayne, Harlequin- Carina Press, and NetGalley for an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Santy.
1,188 reviews68 followers
April 23, 2019
2.5 Stars

First off, I'll confess that I skipped most of the actual video content narrations in the book.

Sam was exceptionally nice but there was no way was I reading through actual paragraphs of a "Let's Play" YouTube channel especially for a game I don't follow. Now, if it was for a "Plant Vs Zombies 2" Let's Play, I would've been ALL over it but as it wasn't, I skimmed those parts.Additionally, although Dovid's content was more interesting, I ended up skipping a lot of those as well. There were no hard feelings though as those were just not for me.

Also, I felt like those portions could've been summarised or just referred to without the author placing a word by word transcript of their YouTube channel uploads on page.It was too much for me.

Honestly, I was more interested in the MCs and not the whole business of getting Social media monetised and all of that. I just wanted some Sam and Dovid. Simple as that.

Speaking of Sam and Dovid, both men were very sweet, thoughtful, kind and very open about themselves. It was refreshing that even when Sam had family and self esteem issues, it wasn't forced to become unnecessary drama to "push" the story forward.

I must add that there were no sexy times as one of our MCs was asexual but I didn't feel it negatively affected the story. It actually kept the focus on the budding relationship and was good for the overall feel of the book I think.

To conclude, I'll say this was a good story that got waylaid by all the Youtube stuff and definitely had the capacity to be much much better.

***eARC Graciously Provided by Publisher via Netgalley in Exchange for An Honest Review***
Profile Image for Moony (Captain Mischief) MeowPoff.
1,567 reviews133 followers
August 27, 2019
I have nothing bad to say about this book.
It was so freakin' adorable i thought i was going to grin my ears off.
Dovid and Sam were so cute, and mushy and nerdy. aww <3
A very easy, adorable read!
I see people who has reviewed the book talk that it was annoying with the texting and /or youtube information, but that didn't bother me one bit, for me it felt very natural.
Profile Image for Calila.
1,155 reviews83 followers
April 21, 2019
*Received ARC via NetGalley*

This is just a perfectly sweet, no angst, nice romance. There's no drama. There's no curveballs. The characters are decent people. Nothing bad happens to them (well nothing major or permanently bad). Dovid and Sam were really sweet and good together. Rachel was a great character, supportive without being smothering or nosy (okay she's nosy but it's in a fun way not an obnoxious entitled way). But it's a tad boring for me and my current mood. And so it ends up feeling a bit long, at a certain point I was just like "what more could happened? why is there still so much story left?". I also could've done without all the behind the scenes technical talk about YT and Patreon. It was educational in regards to that, but meh, I don't really care. Again, there's nothing wrong with this book, it is GOOD...if you're in the right mood for it. I'd recommended it to anyone wanting some light fluffy sweet goodness.
Profile Image for shannon✨.
1,084 reviews43 followers
June 5, 2019
This was an enjoyable and cute story that contained a lot of diversity, including disability. I think it was really interesting to read a book about someone who is blind and to get to know more about how it is to live like that. I do have to say that I have no experience, at all, with blindness so I don't know whether the representation is accurate or not. There was a little thing that really started to annoy me. Namely, the repetition when switching between Dovid's and Sam's perspective. I did notice that this slowly disappeared near the ending of the book. Another reason why I gave it three stars was because for me it didn't feel like there was an actual plot. For me it felt like it was just a plain story that wasn't really working towards anything.
Profile Image for Hemmel M..
591 reviews37 followers
July 14, 2021
I really enjoyed this and finished it in one day. I liked all three characters and their banter. Did not miss the sex parts. And appreciated the few lines of spoken text whenever they did a video, because it made me feel connected with Dovid, who also enjoys only the narrative on YouTube.

On the narration, I have some thoughts. If people write to each other, please keep up the characteristic voices! I liked how he did a computerized voice when Dovid used Text-to-Speech. But the long discussion in just one, stilted voice were annoying. And I might be wrong, but I felt like sometimes he forgot the Irish accent.

Apart from that, I have a secret wish I now share with the world: please, one author out there, start a new trent! Whenever protagonists are exchanging written text, stop mentioning the whole mailadres, directions, subjectline, username76535782736582947589, and all that jazz!
Why not just the name?
Profile Image for Paul.
314 reviews16 followers
May 9, 2019
DNF at about 53%. Not going to lie, this was the worst book I've read so far this year. From the use of diversity done so poorly for disability representation, awful dialogue and one of my personal pet peaves, opposite sex twins*. This feels like it's been written by some one who has only ever read fan fiction written by 13 year old girls. This is almost as bad as Jerkbait, almost...

Due to the poor quality of this book, the author is going on my DO NOT READ list. Avoid at all costs.

*Where the gay bother has a paper-thin, author stand-in for a twin sister; who will have you overdosing on 'Whimsically Cute' and 'Wise beyond their years' - now that the female best friend has become a cliche/trope for m/m authors; this is the perfect way for an author to insert themselves into a story.
Profile Image for Tan✨.
386 reviews35 followers
January 4, 2023
2.5 stars! This was an extremely sugary sweet book. In theory, this should've been the book I've been waiting for all my life... but that clearly did not happen here.

I had a few issues with the book. Not gonna lie, it started off great! we have a super sweet Irish Lets player who people seem to think is very ADORABLE, and we also have this blind YouTuber who is A TWIN! and he seems like a genuinely nice guy who knows his food, isn't insecure about his shortcomings and is plenty independent. Yet, we could totally forget about his blindness if not for a few jokes thrown in there as a reminder.

Next, we have the fact that this started off LDR and I personally love these but this had just the introductory interactions with a few youtube mumbo-jumbo and then we skip two months... not usually I want these jumps so that I know that the characters built on their relationship even though it was off-screen/page, but that's when you have a good foundation that you witness or even like genuine interactions or texts. we didn't have those and however blind you may be, you do not fall in love with someone when most of your interactions are of you watching someone talk to themselves and concluding that they are adorable.

The book felt like it was sponsored on many occasions. usually, authors tend to skirt around displaying names and that was so not it with this book. The book was pretty pointless if it weren't for the fact that they were still an ocean apart and just had to come live together... also very childish at times IMO.

Also, if I was Sam and Dovid plugged me without my consent, id be MAD AS HELL? Sam let Dovid get away with too much. 6 mil people is not a joke and Sam seemed so passe and just went along with everything because he was nice? We also never had them talk about Sam's insecurities or his parents. no mature conversations about that, just Dovid going off on a spiel and Sam listening to him bad mouth his parents while having an internal monologue of the things he needed to tell Dovid. Communication is key and it was only all bark and no bite of that here.


On the smut front, I needed a break and sam being asexual was perfect because cuddling is something our characters rarely do and THAT, at least, was refreshing for me.

Also, wish there was more about Dovid and his blindness in general. It had potential but it didn't measure up.

Would not necessarily recommend unless asked for diverse recs.
Profile Image for Anniek.
1,873 reviews695 followers
June 16, 2020
Actual rating: 2.5

I received an eARC of this book through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

I wanted to love this so badly. I was very excited about there being no less than two asexual characters. And that's also the part I liked about it the most.

But I'm sorry to say this book was just really poorly written. In some ways, it's more of a how-to guide to getting internet famous than it is an actual novel. There are so many detailed explanations, of technicalities, of video content, etc. As this is completely irrelevant in any novel, except for actual how-to guides, this quickly grew very boring. And by quickly I mean: in the first few pages, when it's described exactly what the characters are eating and how they're narrating their vlog. It was just so uninteresting to read. On top of that, the writing style was very forced, especially in the dialogues. The characters are just so overly polite to each other? It was really tiresome to read.

I will say this book will be enjoyable if you're looking for a fluffy read with a guaranteed HEA (happily ever after) that's low on angst. I did enjoy it for that aspect, but overall this book just fell very flat for me.

Rep: blind Jewish bisexual main character, homoromantic asexual main character, sex-repulsed aro-ace side character.

CWs: parental abuse (emotional), car accident, ableism (challenged).
Profile Image for Jooke.
1,004 reviews13 followers
April 10, 2022
*2nd read April 2022
I don't have anything to add...

*1st read February 2021:
This story was just so cute and adorable. (Keyword: adorable. Read this story and you'll understand). The way Dovid tried to give Sam the attention, confidence and courage to do what makes him happy and not what others expect of him, was so endearing. Also loved the dynamic between Dovid and his twin Rachel.
So keep it at: Loved this story
Profile Image for Amur Thera.
541 reviews42 followers
February 26, 2023
The good
+ How shy they both were in approaching each other
+ Dovid's attraction to nice voices
+ Dovid gushing about Sam all the time
+ Late night phonecalls
+ Dovid being very tactile and making sure Sam doesn't mind all the cuddles and petting
+ Dovid taking the possibility of Sam being ace into consideration even before they had a conversation about it ("I don't even know if Sam is sexual. I didn't ask. And it's never come up in his videos.")
+ Sam clearly setting boundaries regarding how much sensory input he can handle
+ Dovid's sister
+ How openly they communicated with each other
+ A little hurt/comfort because of Sam's family
+ Sam's public announcement

The neutral
o Some of the blind jokes were repeated a little too often, but that was (partly?) on purpose

The bad
- Some parts felt like a how-to guide to becoming a YouTuber, while others felt like a lecture on accessibility. I understand both topics are fair in a book about two YouTubers, one of them blind, but it didn't always add anything relevant to the story

x "Dovid, come on, eyes on the prize." "I don't even have eyes. You can't tell me what to do."

This romance was just so sweet. I really loved the long distance aspect and the way they never doubted each other's feelings. I loved all the sweet cuddles and how they gamed, watched documentaries and read books together. Just an adorable book altogether. Would definitely recommend.
Profile Image for Joyfully Jay.
7,693 reviews442 followers
April 23, 2019
A Joyfully Jay review.

2.5 stars

Dovid and Sam were both perfectly likable characters, but this book was not the one for me. Dovid is a highly successful YouTuber and that is how he and his sister make their living. We are told they have over 6 million subscribers, but their videos lacked any kind of excitement for me and although Dovid and Rachel are twins and the best of friends, they lacked chemistry between them on the videos as well.

When Rachel is looking for a gaming channel, she stumbles upon Sam, who has a small following. Although Dovid is not a gamer, he is captivated by Sam’s voice and presentation and gives him a shout out. What happens next is a series of hesitant messages between the two of them as Dovid helps Sam manage the influx of subscribers to his channel. The pace of this was incredibly slow for me and not a lot happens. The guys are so unsure of how to communicate with each other and they are constantly apologizing for every little thing. It’s never stated specifically how old they are, but early to mid 20s seemed reasonable for where they were in life. However, their interactions with each other came off as much younger, more like they how early teens would interact.

Read Michelle's review in its entirety here.
Profile Image for Ami.
5,865 reviews496 followers
April 8, 2019
2.75 stars rounded up

I enjoyed stories by Aidan Wayne before -- but this one didn't quite hit the mark. First, Dovid and Sam are separated for most of the book. Second, the fact that Dovid is blind also doesn't feel like it being fully explored. Which is like a potential that is left behind.

I admit that this might be love story in the age of social media; where our heroes connect more on DM, chats, YouTube comments, et cetera; in exchange to falling in love with letters from the yesteryear. But, somehow it makes the romance rather lackluster; especially since there's not much of a conflict to make things more exciting on pages.

I appreciated the diversity of Dovid being blind and bi-sexual, his sister being a sex-repulsed asexual, and Sam also being a homoromantic asexual. I also liked the lack of sex scenes because, well, these characters feel young, and I liked that they're not always ruled by their libido.

However, in overall, it's not completely satisfying

The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.
Profile Image for BadassCmd.
189 reviews42 followers
June 10, 2019
I enjoyed this fast-paced positive modern love story.

I belong to a generation that didn't have much technology until we were already teens, but adapted to it really fast and then were full on internet-personas by the time we became adults (no judgement there tho). So if there's media about two people from different continents falling in love via text, calls, e-mail or youtube, that is something I can relate to and I also kind of dig.
This might even be THE love story trope of our time, in a way.

But I feel like books that focus a lot on modern communication devices can also go very wrong and end up not really being enjoyable as books for multiple reasons.

In this case I think the author did a fairly good job.
The plot is not that unrealistic, I liked the three main characters and their dynamics and dialogues. I liked how it adresses social insecurities, problems with self-worth, main characters with different sexualities and mainly different views on sex itself, all while keeping the aesthetic positive and having all the main characters support each other unconditionally. It's really cute and fluffy and also a tiny bit angsty.

I don't have any major issues with this work, there're just a few points that could have made my experience a lot better:

For one, I think the blurb of the book has too many details and gives too much away. I have read the book and I enjoyed reading it, but if I'd summerize it I could only add like 3 sentences to the blurb and it would be the whole thing.

HOW in love they were was a bit much for me at times. They had their butterflies and when meeting finally, after crushing over the internet for a long time, stuff like that leaves you a nervous mess, that is all good and fine. But at times it might have been a bit too fluffy. Maybe that's because I'm not the kind of person who talks about feelings a lot and throws out 'love' easily. But I felt that they went pretty fast from 'I like you' to 'I love you with all of my heart forever'.

Then, the writing fell a bit flat on descriptions. The dialogues are really good, they feel very natural and the structure helps to give it the right flow it needs since it's mostly supposed to be text messages or calls. So endless unnecessary descriptions wouldn't have been a good fit for the concept of the scenes, but I still wanted a 'bit' more, like knowing what the characters feel and do while their chats are happening, not just pages full of chat screenshots (figuratively).

And this might be a bit of a difficult point to make, but I would have liked to be told more about how exactly Dovid manages certain things without sight - just in a technical way, like if he has special devices that help him out that I can not know about.

I totally understand that his disability shouldn't be the focus of this story and that it's not a 'how a blind person lives' documentary, but
a) for me personally, as a sighted person, that would have been very interesting and definitely sth that would make the book stand out more.
and b) I don't remember a specific example right now, but there were some points where it was said that he does something and I had to think 'the way I do it wouldn't work for him' but since it wasn't explained further I can't know if the author chose to disregard the description because that's not what this book is about or because they didn't think it throught/know it themself.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Littlebookterror.
1,788 reviews69 followers
March 27, 2021
I received an advanced reading copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book has a lot of good ideas but lacks execution.
Let's start with the characters. In general, I liked them, they were solid protagonists - but Wayne made them seem stiff and boring. We barely went skin deep when it came to their habits and fears and any interesting relationships (e.g. Sam with his parents and brother, Dovid and Rachel) were brushed over with the romance. Which was also a letdown. I was not feeling it at all and not even them meeting in person helped with that. There was little nuance in any interactions, it was all straight forward and to the point, not the way real people talk. I wanted to see more into the day-to-day of siblings who do Youtube together, to dive deeper into their lives and actually connect.
Instead, the book only touches the surface of its characters which in turn makes me care very little about them or their romance. (Sam's problems are mentioned but first did not affect me at all and second, did not do anything for the story.)

Which brings me to the plot. Again, I think the idea isn't bad but the way it all played out was not exciting to read about. This reads more like a How-To-Guide for Youtube than a novel. So many times was information just dropped on you without it weaving into the storyline. At least 50% of Sam and Dovid's conversations were about YT advice - which made their romance appear lacklustre. I cannot really find a story arc or conflict the plot revolves around, it's more like a fluffy novella you would expect after a full novel.

This is all underlined by the writing. It's very telling; instead of experiencing Sam's anxiety or their romantic interest in one another, I was just told about it. Clearly, the writing did not do it for me at all. And I was hoping with this being about people who make videos, the author might try out some different writing styles and such to incorporate it more but sadly, no. All the conversation are stilted and awkward, none of the protagonists can commit to saying something without immediately backtracking. And this might be weird to say but there were no misunderstanding

But to be entirely honest, the main reason I wanted to pick this up was the fact that it has asexual representation. And I think it's done okay? While Sam is first introduced to those terms, there is no real tension, good or bad. I feel (as with any other topic) the conversation surrounding it felt very stiff.
Profile Image for Cas.
270 reviews54 followers
April 14, 2019
You know when you read a book that feels an awful lot like how you imagine taking a bath in melted cotton candy would feel? That was this book. Pure fluff; like hurt my teeth fluff. So sweet it was gross fluff.

Dovid and Rachel Rosenstein are the well-known duo of the Seattle-based YouTube channel, ‘Don’t Look Now’, that has varying content ranging from restaurant reviews, vlogging, and cooking shows—all with the unique appeal of the fact that Dovid is blind and Rachel stays behind the camera. They have six million subscribers and counting, so when Rachel discovers Irish Let’s Player, Sam Doyle—who does not, at all, have the same kind of following and also has severe social anxiety—and Dovid plugs him in a video, it’s a big deal and Sam’s lowkey YouTube existence turns into sudden, increasing stardom. It’s also the beginning of Dovid and Sam’s back and forth DM’s, which gradually grows into more.

First and foremost, this book has a lot of diversity in many different forms. Dovid is blind and bisexual, Rachel is aroace, the both of them are Jewish, and Sam is homoromantic asexual. Each of these things are handled well enough, are addressed by exact terminology within the book, and not really made out to be a big deal. Though I will say I’m not blind nor do I have any particular type of disability that gives me the right to determine whether or not Dovid’s disability was dealt with in a good way, but I can tell you that the author cared about how they portrayed it.

And this wasn’t a bad book. It wasn’t. The characters were cute, the concept was entertaining, and it wasn’t a hard read. It was short enough that I finished it relatively quickly with minimal annoyances.

My problem with this book was *gestures vaguely* it felt like going eighty miles per hour through the rolling green pastures of the country where you’re supposed to be taking your time and admiring the view, but instead you can’t even manage to snap a picture because they’re all blurry. Great concept in theory, lackluster execution.

It felt like I was reading the first draft where the author was desperately trying to get it on paper and didn’t develop it past the initial cotton candy fluff when there was potential to delve into much deeper things and create something emotionally moving rather than “aw, look at them, the gays are so CUTE”.

For one, it was like reading the handbook for How to Handle Sudden YouTube Stardom. Like, what the hell am I supposed to do with all this information about monetizing videos and setting up Patreon plan and making a video schedule? If I owned a YouTube channel, it would just be artistic videos of my dogs frolicking through the yard and three minute long videos of me wailing about how gay I am for some random and vague reason on Sundays. I don’t review restaurants and I don’t play video games so while I appreciated the gritty realistic aspect of YouTube artistry, I didn’t really need like a good 80% of what the book gave me. ‘Twas bloatware. It didn’t really benefit the book in any way whatsoever and it was actually extremely distracting. It threw off the flow by a good ten miles and by the time it was getting back on track, some new chapter of the handbook started.

The pacing, overall, between both the characters and the plot was jagged at best. The interactions between Dovid and Sam felt forced and awkward the entire time, they never really developed in any way so it remained these shy and uncomfortable exchanges as if they had just met despite being months and months later, which made it very difficult to buy into their undying love for each other. I thought they were cute together and around each other, but despite the heavy implication that both boys were in their twenties, it came off very immature and high school-ish, like a couple of clumsy fifteen-year-old boys that don’t really know how to handle their feelings because this is the first time they’ve ever suffered them since they showed an interest in romancing people. And that would have been fine, if they were actually a couple of clumsy fifteen-year-old boys rather than a couple of twenty-something’s living on their own and such.

There were also these scattered time skips that could have been handled better and probably should have been expanded on more to develop Dovid and Sam’s relationship more because the bad pacing of the timeline really made it feel like Dovid just went and jumped the gun on that one. Which also didn’t lend a hand to Dovid and Sam’s already fragile chemistry that you had to squint at sometimes. I would have appreciated more development, more emotional depth between the two rather than maladroit time skips to speed up the plot.

And Wayne throws these heavy implications of Dovid’s life before we meet him, which isn’t too much of a big deal, and Sam’s backstory, which definitely involved some angst and damage that affected him to this day, but like I said already, there’s nothing really to this book except the fluff. It’s all surface fluff. The implications are there, but there’s no exploration. So while the book itself is cute and I didn’t hate it in any real way, it falls flat and lacks any real depth beyond the shared “I love you” moments.

Personally, I think this book would have done better as a short novella at most where the focus could have been on Dovid and Sam rather than a 200-something page book that was strangely similar to getting a new phone that’s advertised as having 16GB of space and only having like 8GB in reality because of all the bloatware you can’t get rid of. The only reason I didn’t really get sick of it before it was over was because I had the time to read at my normal pace and it wasn’t that long.

All in all, I would still recommend this to someone if they were looking for a really easy and simple read with no real turmoil or angst that also had a good amount of diversity because, at the end of the day, it is that. It just wasn’t really for me because I really like for my contemporary books to sucker punch me in the face with angst before I get my HEA so I can weep like a little baby when it happens.

I would say my rating is about a 2.5, rounded up to a 3. Something like that.

ARC kindly provided by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Shawna (endemictoearth).
1,868 reviews20 followers
September 22, 2021
This past year, I’ve gotten more into watching YouTube, and so has my husband. Weirdly, I watch more videos like Dovid’s (personality based, with challenges and tutorials) and my husband watches more videos like Sam’s (though, lemme tellya I wish the guys he watches build cities and trains had gentle Irish accents.) All that to say, I was already pre-disposed to enjoy this book, having enjoyed other stories by this author, and being on the ace spectrum myself, but whereas a year ago I might have shrugged a bit over all the logistics of filming and planning videos etc, now I have a greater appreciation for everything that goes into making online content with a short turnaround.

The long distance love story is obviously slow burn and so lovely and sweet. Each shy declaration feels like attaining a new level or unlocking a power in a video game, and seeing how thoughtful Dovid and Sam are about each other, how they learn to pick up on things and subtly change their behavior or adjust their expectations is wonderful. And lovely Sam! This is a slow, quiet story that probably won’t be for everyone, but I super enjoyed it.
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