Book Review

ARC Book Review: Don’t Hate the Player by Alexis Nedd

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 384 pages
Author: Alexis Nedd
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Release Date: June 1st, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


By day, Emilia is a field hockey star with a popular boyfriend and a mother obsessed with her academic future. But by night, she’s kicking virtual ass as the only female member of a highly competitive eSports team. Emilia has mastered the art of keeping her two worlds thriving, which hinges on them staying completely separate.

When a major eSports tournament comes to her city, Emilia is determined to prove herself to the male-dominated gaming community. But her perfectly balanced life is thrown for a loop when a member of a rival team—Jake—recognizes her . . .

From an exciting new talent, this sweet and charming YA romance will win the hearts of gamers and non-gamers alike.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC. All opinions are my own!


It’s been a minute since I’ve read a book with virtual gaming at the forefront and I’ve missed it! This was a solid read that was quick to fly through and definitely had me smiling by the end.

Emilia was a strong heroine. Intelligent and geeky, with the perfect amount of snark and boldness. I loved her inner monologue. Em’s character felt high school appropriate, but not in the over dramatic way that can be too much. She’s a high schooler figuing it out. The pressure of parents wanting the best for her, wanting to choose something that’s only hers and finding her niche in the world. I love that Emilia was able to acknolwedge her mistakes and understand how she could improve. It was even better when she had that last tough conversation with her Mom and her parents understood her even better too. I love a good family chat.

Jake, bless his heart. He was SO DANG CUTE. Put him and Em together and it was the gamer romance I didn’t know I needed. They were adorable. I loved anytime Em and Jake were on the same page. The support and compassion was fantastic. No unnecessary miscommunications here. Just some great kissing scenes and young love flirtations.

My only eh thing was that sometimes the gaming aspects took up a lot of page time. Pages dedicated to very specific gameplay and breakdowns. I wanted more of the real-life characters over an extended play by play of the game.

All of the side characters were so fun and well rounded. They only added to the book and were perfectly placed throughout. Everything about this read was pretty fabulous. I found myself flying through it. The ending was great and worked out exactly like I hoped it would!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: racism, sexism, sexual harrassment of a minor, divorce, cheating (main characters + Jake’s parents), transphobia, doxxing, cyber-bullying

Instagram || Goodreads

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