Role Playing

Montlake. Jul. 2023. 334p. ISBN 9781662503979. pap. $16.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
In Yardley’s (Ex Appeal) latest, two middle-aged gamers form a friendship online that turns into love in real life. As her son struggles to make friends while away at college, divorced editor Maggie Le finds herself agreeing to get out more if her son will do the same, leading her to join an online video game guild, where she meets Aidan, a nurse with a hospice business who has moved back to his small hometown in East Washington State to take care of his aging parents. After circumstances cause Maggie and Aidan to finally meet in person, their friendship only grows deeper, but a fake date to a wedding helps them realize their true feelings. Yardley does an excellent job writing realistic characters who still manage to be swoonworthy in this romance full of gaming and nerdy pop culture references. The book also successfully explores sexual identity and the need to create boundaries with anyone who doesn’t accept that identity.
VERDICT Full of funny and heartfelt scenes with fierce yet kind protagonists; readers who love fandoms and geeky romances will adore this one.
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