So, yeah, I play Heroes of Legend, y’know, the MMO. I’m not like obsessed or addicted or anything. It’s just a game. Anyway, there was this girl in my guild who I really liked because she was funny and nerdy and a great healer. Of course, my mates thought it was hilarious I was into someone I’d met online. And they thought it was even more hilarious when she turned out to be a boy IRL. But the joke’s on them because I still really like him.
And now that we’re together, it’s going pretty well. Except sometimes I think Kit—that’s his name, sorry I didn’t mention that—spends way too much time in HoL. I know he has friends in the guild, but he has me now, and my friends, and everyone knows people you meet online aren’t real. I mean. Not Kit. Kit’s real. Obviously.
Oh, I’m Drew, by the way. This is sort of my story. About how I messed up some stuff and figured out some stuff. And fell in love and stuff.
Release date: August 29th
*We each got an ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Hello, readers! Annie and Laura here. We think it’s fair to warn you that this review will be a bit different from what you’re used to from us. We both are big fans of Alexis writing, and when we both requested the ARC of Looking for Group we really had no idea how we were going to review it. In the end we thought that doing two separate reviews for it would be a bit tiring for you readers, so we decided to set up an interview for ourselves. We’ll be answering some questions and we hope this will give you an idea of what we thought of the book. /whisper: we both loved it.
Q1: Was the book as good as you expected?
L: I really think “as good as expected” doesn’t begin to cover it. I mean, I really expected it to be good, since it’s a book by Alexis and it’s also nerdy, but it was even better than that.
A: I expected to be swept away. To completely fall in love with the protagonists and their story while also getting to satisfy my inner-nerd. And I think Looking for Group did that and then some. It was a bit different than I had expected but a good-different not a bad-different. And I wish there were more books like this. Although I’m not sure if just anyone could pull it off or if it takes an Alexis Hall for that. 😉
Q2: What was your favourite moment?
A: Uhm.. there’s a couple of moments I really liked. I really enjoyed the scene when Drew and Kit watched the sunset for the first time. But also reeeally loved their first real-life date. While reading it I was all heart-eyes and aww’ing the whole time. The first-date awkwardness and how both weren’t sure what to do was just so adorable and I could relate so much.
L: The first in-person date was the most adorable moment I’ve read in a long time. I’m not even exaggerating when I tell you I hugged my kindle after reading it. I also loved how Kit stoop up for himself after Drew really put his foot in his mouth. I can’t tell you much about that, but that scene on the bus stop is one of my favourites.
Q3: And your favourite quote?
L: OK, I’m going to don my “nerd cape” for this one, because I even clapped when I read this quote: “Dude, nobody actually likes Munchkin.” I read this and thought: at last someone admits it! And yes, in case you were wondering, I’m one of those people that doesn’t like Munchkin.
A: That’s easy! “Some people are game mechanically suboptimal. Get over it.” Someone mentions afterwards of getting it on a shirt and I SO agree with this. Definitely need this on a t-shirt!
Q4: What resonated the most with you?
A: The whole premise of the story. Of how you can meet people online that become really important to you. And looking at it now all my best friends are people I met online (or people I then met IRL through the people I met online). The internet just makes it so easy to get to know people all over the world. And without twitter I wouldn’t know so many awesome peeps I hope I can meet one day.
I still remember how worried my mum was when I started mailing with the girl who became my best friend because of course everyone on the internet is a 40 something year old pedophile.^^ And I also had people comment on how people you haven’t met personally are “different” than people you’ve met in person. I mean sure there’s the difference that you haven’t met them, but it doesn’t make the friendship any less real. So, the way this is portrayed in Looking for Group and how Drew’s friends reacted to the relationship with Kit, was what resonated the most with me because I experienced something similar before. Wow, this answer got quite long. Sorry! :))
L: Same as Annie, the whole premise was really interesting for me and hit close to home, since I’ve met a lot of my friends online (including her). Also, some of my friends in real life always seemed to think I was weird for talking with people online and developing actual relationships with them. I hate the expression “in real life” by the way, it makes it look as if the friends I’ve made online are less read or less friends, when they’re neither. And I would like to point out that all the dynamics in the guild felt like home to me, I could recognize them all from my gaming group.
Q5: Was there something you didn’t like?
L: Well, when it comes to Alexis’ books I never like the ending, because I just want them to keep going so I don’t have to leave their characters. But apart from that, I don’t think so, no.
A: “Didn’t like” isn’t exactly the right term, but it was a bit difficult to get into the story at first because of the game-lingo. I never played a MMO so it took me a bit to understand what was happening. (And I didn’t know that there was a glossary at the end of the book. That would have helped!)
Q6: And something you would have liked to be different?
A: Subsequently to my last answer I would have liked to first get to know Drew a bit and getting a bit of background info before diving into the MMO world. Because reading 20 pages of gameplay are not easy to understand when you have no idea what everyone is talking about. 😉
L: I would have really liked to see Drew spending some more time with Kit’s friends. I think Kit mentioned visiting Jacob every summer, I would love to see a scene about that with Drew included. Maybe if we are very nice, Alexis will write us an extra (I can dream, can’t I?)
Q7: Do you see yourself reflected in one of the characters? Why?
L: Yes, completely, I am Kit. I had a rough time my second year of University (actually, from that year on I think I had a hard time in general) and I turned to online friends. I spent hours playing with them, not the kind of game Kit and Drew play, but online board games, and talking in Skype. They were my escape when things got dark, but they were also my anchor to reality. And some of my friends in Uni didn’t understand that, didn’t get that they were real people and that I cared for them as much as I cared for the ones I could see face to face. So I really am Kit, and I loved that he got to have this relationships where no one judged him and he was loved, that’s what I needed during those times, too.
A: Similar to what Laura said, and as I said before, I met my best friend online. At first we’d write pages-long emails (gosh that’s so long ago. No one really emails anymore! xD) And then we’d chat on msn, skype, or fb and I’d spent hours online. So I’d also say that I see myself most in Kit. It was and still is so much easier for me to connect with people online. I’m uncomfortable and awkward when I meet new people and I’m really not a fan of it. But when I “meet” people online and get to know them a bit then it’s easier meeting them IRL because we already do know each other. And because of twitter and facebook and all the other social media pages I can be alone but I’m not lonely. 😉
Q8: What do you think it’s different from the previous Alexis Hall’s books?
A: It seems obvious but the narrative voice is a lot different than it was for Glitterland or For Real, which makes sense because it’s two 19-year olds Alexis wrote about. So of course they would talk and behave like teenagers. And he did an amazing job of that. I never once felt like it wasn’t teenagers I was reading about.
L: Again, what Annie said. I felt I was reading a 19 year old all the time I was reading the book, Alexis did a great job with that. I think that of all his previous works, this may be closest to Waiting for the Flood. In the way that it is a quiet and lovely story that just grows on you until you have to hug your kindle (please tell me that wasn’t just me).
Q9: And finally, if you had to recommend this book to someone, what would you say to make sure they picked it up?
L: I’d try to make sure they knew this is a nerdy book, though I don’t think that’s a deterrent, since the relationship part is really beautiful and I think anyone that’s formed a bond online (be it romantically or otherwise) can see that. And if they aren’t convinced with that, I’d show them the cover.
A: I’d tell them that this is a nerdy and cute story about two guys who are still figuring out who they are. That the setting of this story is pretty unique but so beautiful and a perfect example of how people can form all kinds of relationships online. And I’d tell them to just read the book! xD
This is what we thought about Looking for Group. But if you can think of any other question you’d like to ask us, don’t be afraid to comment and we’ll make sure to answer!