coming out · Contemporary · diverse characters · lgbtqia content · new adult · romance

REVIEW: Conventionally Yours by Annabeth Albert

The Official Description: When two “big name fans” go head-to-head at a convention, love isn’t the only thing at stake.

Charming, charismatic, and effortlessly popular, Conrad Stewart seems to have it all…but in reality, he’s scrambling to keep his life from tumbling out of control.

Brilliant, guarded, and endlessly driven, Alden Roth may as well be the poster boy for perfection…but even he can’t help but feel a little broken inside.

When these mortal enemies are stuck together on a cross-country road trip to the biggest fan convention of their lives, their infamous rivalry takes a backseat as an unexpected connection is forged. Yet each has a reason why they have to win the upcoming Odyssey gaming tournament and neither is willing to let emotion get in the way―even if it means giving up their one chance at something truly magical

Just the facts: Enemies to boyfriends, gamers, Neurodiverse character

This was a fun romance set in the gaming world! Conrad and Alden are both more than they seem when they are forced to spend time together on a road trip. – Kinzie Things

 

My thoughts bit: This was a really cute story. I believe this is Annabeth Albert’s first foray into the world of New Adult Queer fiction and I think it’s a really good one. Basically? This is an enemies to friends to … maybe more… (I’m not telling) set in the world of competitive gaming and vlogging.

The basic concept behind the relationship may not be new but what Albert does with it is interesting! At the beginning of the novel, Alden and Conrad don’t like each other… in fact, they sort of tolerate each other’s presence because they game together and participate on a gaming channel. The interesting part comes about because they don’t really know each other.

As the novel progresses, Albert peels away the layers and it becomes clear that neither Alden nor Conrad are what they seem. I really enjoyed getting to know these characters as they got to know one another.

Alden was probably my favorite character. He is neurodiverse and finds it challenging to be in a lot of social situations. The other thing he finds challenging? The fact that his two moms have planned out his life for him. He’s definitely not on the same page as they but doesn’t have a real concrete idea of where he does want to be headed. Alden is sweet and I loved the way he was so hesitant with Conrad at first. In spite of the fact that he finds social interactions challenging, Alden’s first instincts always seem to be to help people and that makes him an endearing character.

Conrad is outwardly the “Popular” guy. He’s handsome and seems to have everything together. The problem is that behind the smile things aren’t all that great. Conrad is losing his accommodations, he’s struggling to work as many jobs as he can and he hadn’t finished school. He’s estranged from his family because of an emotionally abusive relationship with his father. He loves his sister… and has a strained relationship with his mother but stays away from them because of his father.

When a gaming convention comes up it seems like the answer to both Conrad’s and Alden’s problems. They agree to go and compete while vlogging… and embark upon a road trip even though they both expect to be irritated beyond belief by each other!

As the other members of the squad peel away until Conrad and Alden are eventually left alone, they being to actually get to know each. As the romance blossoms, the characters are revealed as being complex and likable. It’s unclear whether their issues will let them become more than friends… and what about the competitive nature of the tournament they have entered? Only one of them can win… and change his future. What will happen to their friendship and budding romance?

This book is light and an easy read. The characters were well-written, and I liked them. Probably have a bit of an understanding of the gaming world would help but don’t let that stop you from reading!

Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) Descriptions of homophobia and emotional abuse in the past.

Readalikes: Other stories that are similar or give the same feel.

Links: Goodreads // The Author // The Publisher

I received an ARC of Conventionally Yours by Annabeth Albert from Sourcebooks Casablanca via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

 

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