I read and reviewed the first book in the True Colours series last year. Conventionally Yours was pretty fun. But in some ways, Out of Character appealed to me a little more. I’m glad I picked this up to read but in some ways… It wasn’t quite what I expected.
Jasper Quigley wants to be the hero in someone’s life. He cosplays as his favorite Odyssey character to visit sick kids in the hospital and works part-time in a game shop. When his ex-best friend Milo Lionetti comes to him to ask for help? Jasper doesn’t want to say yes, but he’s never been able to resist Milo. So they make a deal, Milo will help Jasper at the hospital, and Jasper will track down the rare Odyssey cards that Milo lost.
This book was more about cosplay than it was the card game. But in a way, it wasn’t? Technically if you dress up in a costume, you’re cosplaying. But knowing the amount of work that goes into cosplay, it seemed a little weak to me that they were only wearing the costumes to play cards with kids. They weren’t even really acting in character when they did so. The costumes were just clothes. And I know the designer wasn’t one of the protagonists, but it was just a little disappointing.
I did find that I liked Jasper and Milo more than Conrad and Alden. I did like their relationship. Maybe it’s because they reminded me of a former OTP of mine, but I liked it. And I appreciated that a break-up was never really part of the storyline. Was it all smooth sailing? No. There was drama. But it was nice to see a romance that didn’t feature a break-up or cheating as the main drama.
Milo was probably my favorite. He wasn’t the best guy in high school, but he wasn’t a bully himself. Not really. He was confused and trying to protect himself. His home life wasn’t great, and yeah. I felt for him, and often I don’t feel for the characters who behave like that. So Albert did a good job.
For a new adult book, there was a strange lack of swearing. Like, heck was used a lot. Even by jocks. And I know they were working, but that doesn’t stop most people. It pulled me out a little, as it felt so unrealistic. Too clean in some ways, I guess.
There were some definite improvements from the first book. We got more nerdy references! Milo likes superhero films and there were Star Wars and DC cosplayers at the party. It felt so much more realistic to see these characters talking about these things, even if one of them wasn’t so openly a nerd. It just made more sense, and I’m glad to see that improvement.
But on the other side… it didn’t feel like I saw much about Odyssey or cosplay. I wanted to play the game last time, but this time there just wasn’t much. I didn’t feel an urge to cosplay or play card games. And that was a disappointment.
Though I feel like I did like this book more than the first one, it did get a lower score.
Title: Out of Character
Author: Annabeth Albert
Age Range: New Adult
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: Out Now