I’ve had this book for a while, and I’ve been very excited to read it with it being about a queer teenager who rps. But I decided to wait until HarperCollins had come to an agreement with the union. But now they have, and this review is only a few days late, ha! I was lucky enough to get a physical proof of this from the Harper360 blogger email, so thanks to the team there.
In this book, we follow Cass, a 17-year-old fangirl of the Tide Wars books who’d proudly describe herself as a fat lesbian. But what people don’t know is that she likes spending her free time roleplaying with her friends online. It might be nerdy, but it’s her escape from the world, whether she’s stressed over her parents fighting or how difficult it can be to date the resident cool girl. Her roleplay is becoming an addiction, though and as well as that, she thinks she might be falling for her online bestie, Rowan. As her lies build up, she has to decide whether, to be honest about everything and lose her safe space or be honest and watch everything change.
As someone who has been rping online since I was a teenager myself, this book was one that I was very much interested in. Roleplay has been great for making friends over the years, and it was wonderful seeing that side of it in this book. Admittedly, it’s never been so consuming for most of my friends and me. I do have to give a trigger warning for addiction. This is a gaming and roleplaying addiction rather than any substances. However, it’s still something that could make some people uncomfortable. There are some serious scenes in this book that made me sad in places, but it felt like Miller handled it all well. Cass’s friends and family are willing to help her through that, including her online friends.
I loved seeing the friendships in this book. Tate was a great friend for Cass in her real life, even if they were very different, and her online friends were fun too. I loved seeing all the jokes and support; it made me smile.
There is also some romance in this book. Taylor and Cass are very awkward from the off, but her relationship with Cass is pretty cute. Knowing their feelings for each other did make some of their rp scenes a lot more flirtatious and serious, even though they’re not their characters, and they aren’t claiming to be.
Obviously, I have to comment on the rp stuff in this book, as I definitely came into the book wanting to see that. Some of the dialogue used was a little weird, but I’m always aware that the author rped herself. So the terms she used could relate to her experience. But never seeing shortened versions of things like 1 x 1, rp, etc? It did feel a little weird and pulled me out. Also, that the threads were called scenes was something I’d never seen before. Oh, and not a comment on the book, just something that made my inner rp admin shudder was the rule people could play as many characters as they liked. Yeah, if you’re getting into running rps, I’d recommend you include a character limit. You don’t want to have only a few players for most of your characters unless it’s purposefully a small rp. So yeah, some of the rp stuff was against my experience, even being someone who does rp on discord. But I know there are multiple experiences, so I hope even after Cass’s current rp finishes, she makes more rps with her friends. As it’s all very fun.
I did have a lot of fun with this book, and I recommend it to people looking for something fun, nerdy and queer.
Title: Out of Character
Author: Jenna Miller
Age Range: Young Adult
Publisher: Quill Tree Books/Harper360
Release Date: Out Now!