Two Can Play That Game

Judges Comments

A charming “enemies to first love” story that targets the readership beautifully in a thoroughly PG style, despite being about slightly older teens. Although gaming is central to the premise — which in itself is wonderful for the intended audience — the reader needs no knowledge of the field to delight in this character-focused book. The rapid-fire dialogue and humour complement well-drawn family dynamics that consider what it can mean to grow up Australian-Malaysian, the responsibility inherent in being the eldest sibling, and the issues of living up to parental expectations. With captivating pop culture nerdery sprinkled liberally throughout, this debut novel is primarily driven by internal conflict, examining the little-discussed theme of how challenging it can be to “peak” in high school and framed by the gentle romance.

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