Conventionally Yours (True Love #1)
Author: Annabeth Albert
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: June 2, 2020
Genre(s): Young Adult M/M Romance
Page Count: 320
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Read book blurb here
If this plot seems familiar - two young men meet, dislike each other, end up on a long road trip, get to really know each other and fall in love - yup, it's been done before. But do not let that deter you from picking up this book and simply falling in love with the characters and the setting.
Disclaimer: I know nothing about card-based game play so I'll apologize in advance for my appalling lack of knowledge. Albert has created a game called Odyssey that can be played online, in a team or individually against a group of fellow players. Card decks are purchased and new decks can be built using components that match the player's strategic plan.
Alden and Conrad are regulars on vlogger Professor Tuttle's Gamer Grandpa channel and when he surprises his team with tickets to Massive Odyssey Con West (MOC) in Las Vegas, Conrad and Alden end up driving a huge black Lincoln to Vegas, stopping in small game shops along the way to film content for the channel. Alden is 23, elegantly built, very smart and lives at home with his two moms who want him to go to medical school. Conrad is a bit younger, a small town Kansas boy who looks more like a baseball player than a gaming nerd, and he's had a helluva year due to family issues.
As the days and miles go by, Conrad learns that Alden is neurodiverse, hasn't been accepted to any medical schools, and feels very pressured by his moms to find a high prestige career. Conrad slowly reveals his family's reaction when he was outed and his struggle to survive each day. I love how Annabeth Albert uses elements and strategies from the game as metaphors for Conrad and Alden's lives - play your own game, small moves create big results, work to get just one more turn, one more turn, etc.
If you've read Annabeth Albert's "Out of Uniform" series, this might be a bit tame for you as it is fairly non-explicit (but give it a try, I think you'll reall enjoy it), and if you're a big fan of her "#gaymers" series, dive right in! 4.5 stars for "Conventionally Yours."
I received an ARC from the Publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.