Game All Night is the third book in Lauren Helms‘s Gamer Boy series, but all three can be read as standalones. (They’re all definitely worth reading, though, and the first two are available on Kindle Unlimited here and here.)
Link is a member of the gaming team (yes, they are professional gamers and yes that is a real thing!). Ruby is a journalist at a Buzzfeed-type web company and part of their circle of close friends. Ruby and Link have been close for a couple years, making videos for Link’s YouTube channel and having fun hanging out together. At one point in the past they *almost* hooked up, but Ruby stopped it and decided they should stay good friends, not wanting to mess up the group dynamic or their friendship if anything went wrong.
In the first third of the book, both Link and Ruby are involved with other people. Ruby’s boyfriend is a narcissistic sports reporter on the local NBC affiliate station, and treats Ruby horribly. Link is seeing someone basically as a distraction, and because she’s there. On the night of Ruby’s birthday, when her boyfriend doesn’t show up for her party and makes her cry, Link makes a comment that starts Ruby thinking that maybe she was wrong about the two of them just being friends.
Of course, life isn’t always easy or perfect. When Link and Ruby finally get together, it’s beautiful how good they are for each other. When they are faced with a life altering surprise, they handle themselves better than many 20-somethings in these types of books. But then, the book gets surprisingly deep. I was not expecting the events that happened, but I’m so glad Ms Helms wrote the scenes between Link and Ruby, and Ruby and her friends, like she did. I’m trying not to spoil anything, but it’s a subject that happens in that age group more often than you think, and gets brushed aside by well-meaning (or uncertain-feeling) friends and relatives. It’s important that readers can experience how the characters worked through this and recognize that it’s okay to not be okay.
What I liked: Link and Ruby as a couple. So good. Revisiting Dex and Morgan, Simon and Gia, and the other characters were like catching up with friends again. The whole handling of the “big events” as I said earlier.
What I didn’t like: Ruby’s mom should have been there longer!! And real talk, the first 20% of the book was hard for me to get into. I already liked the characters from the first two books, and ended up loving the book, but there was so much internal Ruby monologue that I just couldn’t get engrossed in the book like I usually do. But it picks up quickly.
Overall: Read this book! Get it here