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?
*Review copy provided by the publisher
Play It Again is so. freaking. adorable! Such a cute, fluffy, feel-good story with charming and totally relatable characters. No exaggeration: the story captivated me from the first page!
I loved how Wayne introduced us into Sam’s and Dovid’s world by showing them doing what they love – and incidentally also introducing us in the way how their audience can see them. Play It Again starts with Dovid and his twin sister filming a review for their channel and Sam is first introduced doing a recording for his Let’s Play channel.
As someone who regularly watches YouTube videos – though I’m more for vlogs than gaming videos – I really enjoyed this aspect of the story immensely. I loved how it basically felt like I was watching Sam’s and Dovid’s videos even though I was reading about them. Plus you could feel their enthusiasm for recording more videos and interacting with the viewers.
It’s Rachel who finds Sam’s channel and tells Dovid about it. Even though he is resistant at first he agrees to check out his channel and it doesn’t take him long until he has binge-watched all available videos. When he notices that Sam has only about 400 followers he decides to plug him in one of his next videos – and this is how they meet. Over night Sam gains thousands of followers and when he investigates why the sudden influx in followers he becomes aware of Don’t Look Now, Dovid’s and Rachel’s channel. They start chatting and while at first it’s not a regular thing, soon they have a set time when they can best talk to each other about their life’s, Sam’s work, books and anything else.
I loved, loved, loved their interactions, the humor and playfulness between them and just seeing them getting to know each other. It was so cute and absolute pure. And with Dovid and Rachel being from Seattle/US-based and Sam being from Ireland, the long distance aspect of the story really was long distance.
I adored how Dovid became something like a mentor for Sam in learning to deal with the masses of followers, growing his YouTube channel; but I also really, really liked how you could see them falling in love as they got to know each other better. They even went on dates – which was so super cute! I loved how Wayne portrayed their closeness and intimacy, despite being thousands of miles apart. It was sweet and so beautiful and also a great example of a long-distance relationship in romance.
I really appreciated how Wayne handled Sam figuring out that he’s asexual. I loved how it happened naturally and that it was such a non-issue for either of the characters. We didn’t have any of the usual “is something wrong with me”-angst. Sam just realised that label fit him and that was that. Additionally Dovid – once he knew about it but also before – was careful and checking in with Sam about what he was comfortable with regarding their deepening relationship. As an ace reader all the consent and non-drama made me super happy.
Play It Again is a mostly fluffy and very low conflict romance that totally left me with a few (happy) tears and a very big smile on my face. It really should be on your tbr if you are in the mood for a super cute feel good, story with adorable characters and just the right dose of romance!
Content Warnings: Anxiety, mention of emotional abuse by parents, mention of bullying, car accident, mention of homophobia
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.
Genre: Contemporary Orientation: Asexual (+ace-spec) Orientation: Bisexual Pairing: M/M Publisher: Carina Press Review Tag: Celebrity / Famous Person Tag: Long Distance Tag: Own-Voices Aidan Wayne Play It Again