Team Phison by Chace Verity
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Full disclaimer: I was provided with an eArc in exchange for an honest review. And I know the author (but I'm trying not to be biased).
I'm reviewing a contemporary romance? What?
It's true, I don't usually care too much romance unless it's set on a spaceship or involves magic, but a) the description calls it funny and geeky, and b) the author wrote my favorite story in Circuits & Slippers, so I knew the writing would be excellent.
And I was not disappointed.
This is a cute story about two guys who meet while playing an online video game. There's a 27 year age gap, and Phil initially plays down his feelings for the younger Tyson while continuing to go on some truly awful dates and heal a broken heart, and it's just super adorable and sweet.
The characters really come alive and Phil's internal monologue is so funny. Some A+ swear words, too.
Also a lot of inner workings of a restaurant business stuff. I have no idea if it's accurate but it seems well researched.
My only criticism is that it doesn't take place on a spaceship or involve magic. :D Also, there is sex, which doesn't bother me exactly but it does make my brain go "ehhh, this is weird; I should give these characters some privacy."
But I knew that going in and I'm going to judge it based on story and writing alone. It wouldn't be fair to let my general lack of enthusiasm for the genre affect my review. It was a great story, well written, that made me laugh and feel happy and go "Why is it over so soon?" That's all it takes for a 5-star in my eyes.
(And I can't really judge the more explicit scenes because I have nothing to compare them to. I did enjoy them, though, because I knew how big a step it was for Phil and how happy he was being with Tyson. I feel like I maybe didn't enjoy them the way they were intended, but that's my brain being its kind of asexual self. It's like when you see a dog playing with a stick and you're like "I don't get the appeal but I'm glad he's found something that gives him joy.")
The supporting characters are a hoot. I want a sequel where the guys just hang out with Tamara and Frank and the girls and tease Frank for the whole book. I love to hate that poor guy and his double phone holsters.
Also, as a writer, can I just say how brilliant it was to establish early on that Tyson likes to use double exclamation points!! and question marks?? in his texts? The individual voices are strong and distinct, but I'm sure a lot of people (like me) get tripped up during conversations and forget who's saying what, but by having one character overuse punctuation and use "lol" and smiley faces, Verity has almost completely eliminated the need for dialogue tags in their texting! Brilliant, I say, brilliant!
And the epilogue with its nice little bookending - Phil not playing for the stories and Tyson getting bored by tutorials.
Overall, it's sweet as a Hallmark movie, but sarcastic and swear-y and with video games and a couple explicit sex scenes. Which is a description that probably doesn't apply to any other book. If you want a unique love story, check out Team Phison.
View all my reviews