ROMANCE

Conventionally Yours

Sourcebooks Casablanca. (True Colors, Bk. 1). Jun. 2020. 384p. ISBN 9781728200293. pap. $14.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
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This sweet new adult romance, the first in Albert’s (Off Base) “True Colors” series, brings together two gamers in their early twenties skilled at Odyssey but floundering in life. Forced to drop out of college when his parents withdraw financial support, Conrad is living paycheck to paycheck when his understanding landlady tells him she’s putting her house on the market. Socially awkward Alden is living in the shadow of an older sister who excelled academically and mothers determined their neurodiverse son will get into medical school on the second attempt—even if his heart isn’t in it. When their internet-popular Odyssey group is offered tickets to a con, with a chance at breaking into the pro gaming circuit, Alden and Conrad decide a tournament win is the solution to their problems—if only they can survive the cross-country road trip in one another’s company. As the miles pass by, they discover their mutual enmity giving way to compassion, curiosity, and something more. Though the book feels slightly overstuffed with plot elements, scenery, and blink-and-you’ll-miss-em secondary characters, against that kaleidoscopic backdrop Conrad and Alden come to the fore.
VERDICT In the end, this captivating, nerdy romance delivers a satisfying happily ever after.

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