Title: Looking for Group
Author: Alexis Hall
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Length: 341 Pages
Category: New Adult, Contemporary, Fantasy, Comedy
At a Glance: Gamers will obviously go crazy for this book…but anyone who loves NA, sweet, funny romances, or wants to try something that is unique and extremely well-written, should give this a shot.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: So, yeah, I play Heroes of Legend, y’know, the MMO. I’m not like obsessed or addicted or anything. It’s just a game. Anyway, there was this girl in my guild who I really liked because she was funny and nerdy and a great healer. Of course, my mates thought it was hilarious I was into someone I’d met online. And they thought it was even more hilarious when she turned out to be a boy IRL. But the joke’s on them because I still really like him.
And now that we’re together, it’s going pretty well. Except sometimes I think Kit—that’s his name, sorry I didn’t mention that—spends way too much time in HoL. I know he has friends in the guild, but he has me now, and my friends, and everyone knows people you meet online aren’t real. I mean. Not Kit. Kit’s real. Obviously.
Oh, I’m Drew, by the way. This is sort of my story. About how I messed up some stuff and figured out some stuff. And fell in love and stuff.
Review: Wow. I just finished the book, and I’m a little giddy and swoony with how things turned out. Looking for Group was both nothing I expected and everything I hoped for all at once. It was nothing I expected because, despite having seen mentions from the author that it was heavy on gaming stuff, and was possibly quite different from his other books, I was not prepared for how MUCH gaming there was. I’m not gonna lie…I was skeptical in the beginning as to how much I was going to enjoy the book. Both the gaming references and actual gameplay were so heavy my head was spinning a bit in the beginning. But, I found myself getting in tune very quickly with the language and abbreviations, as well as with the writing style, and soon realized I was enjoying it quite a bit. Granted, I did cheat a little as far as getting comfortable with the language…I asked my thirteen-year-old son what some of the abbreviations meant. Ha! It gave us a cool bonding experience, though, which was fun; and, while I was reading he would periodically ask me how it was going or if I needed any more help. So cute.
The book was everything I expected, however, simply by virtue of it being an Alexis Hall book. I am a massive fan of his words. And no matter how obscure to me the surface subject matter may have been, underneath it all was a beautiful, quirky, funny, sweet story that absolutely resonated with me. I loved getting to know these characters, and found them just as easy to fall in love with as any of his others.
We first meet Drew as he’s applying to hook up with a new guild—I’m telling you, have a tab open on your device with gamer terms when you start reading this book—after rage-quitting his old guild over an axe. *nods* I know. Gaming is serious business. The new guild is what he refers to as a “casual” guild because they aren’t as hardcore about their raids being perfectly executed every time, etc. But, what he learns while playing with the new group—something he had lost with his previous guild—is that he’s actually enjoying the game again, and part of the reason for that recaptured joy of playing is because of one of his new guildies, Solace.
I completely adored Solace, who of course we later learn is Christopher, or Kit. He is smart and kind and just so sincerely sweet it was no wonder Drew couldn’t help falling for him. One night while playing HoL, Drew discovers that his joking around with his mates about Solace possibly being a guy is actually the truth, and his shock is understandable. Though he handles it with a fair amount of grace, and so does Kit, it still takes him a couple of days to realize that he doesn’t care. He wants to spend time with Kit, regardless. I loved the moments of them getting to know each other in person. Just being guys, and discovering their attraction, and everything they had in common, it was so lovely and fun. Of course, along with that discovery and all the growing pains of a new relationship and first love, also comes some discord.
Drew has a hard time not worrying about what others might think of him, or what others might be doing, things he might be missing out on, so he struggles with simply allowing himself to relax and enjoy doing the thing that is currently making him happy, which in this case is playing HoL and other games with Kit. He allows his friend Sanee to get him so wound up over the idea of being addicted to online gaming, and the fact that it isn’t “real life,” that he almost misses out on something that is very real indeed. He ends up unintentionally hurting Kit and learning a valuable lesson about what truly constitutes a friendship, and that a group of online friends can care about each other just as much and be just as real and positive in your life as your friends from school, for example.
I love what Alexis Hall did with this story. I am a strong believer of some online relationships and/or groups being every single bit as valid as any friendships one may have in “real life.” In fact, I shy away from using the term IRL because I feel that my online life IS real. And, it seems clear that Hall feels the same. I had a ton of fun reading this. And though I wouldn’t have predicted in the first few pages that I would have, I adored watching Solace and Ella fish together in Alarion. *whispers* You’ll have to read it to get that reference. 😉 Gamers will obviously go crazy for this book…but anyone who loves NA, sweet, funny romances, or wants to try something that is unique and extremely well-written, should give this a shot. Definitely check this one out, guys!
*I do want to mention that there is a wonderfully written glossary at the end of the book—which I didn’t know about until I got to the end of the book. It would have been fantastic if this list of terms had either been at the beginning of the book, or mentioned in a forward or author’s note of some kind. Just my two-cents. Maybe I’m the rare person who doesn’t read the table of contents, and most readers will see that there is a glossary.
You can buy Looking for Group here: