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Publisher's Summary

It is Labor Day weekend in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and a boy and a girl collide on a dark street at two thirty in the morning; Lesh, who wears black, listens to metal, and plays MMOs; Svetlana, who embroiders her skirts, listens to Björk and Berlioz, and dungeon masters her own RPG. They should pick themselves up, continue on their way, and never talk to each other again.
But they don't.
This is a story of two people who do not belong in each other's lives, and who find each other at a time when they desperately need someone who doesn't belong in their lives. A story of those moments when we act like people we aren't in order to figure out who we are. A story of the roles we all play - at school, at home, with our friends, and without our friends - and the one person who might be able to show us who we are underneath it all.
©2014 Steve Brezenoff (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Marni on 06-10-14

Clever story, creative characters, loads of fun

This book has more layers than a simple young adult novel, and both my teenage children and I enjoyed the humor, characters and plot. Lesh is a metal head who always wears black, and Svetlana is an eccentric, artistic, creative tabletop gamer. They forge a tentative friendship at school, sitting at the same lunch table in several delightfully awkward scenes. At home, Svetlana's parents continually force her to join them in activities she finds torturous, while Lesh's parents are mostly absent yet he's grounded for 2 weeks with basically no parental supervision, during which time he begins gaming online out of boredom.

There are several chapters which describe, very humorously, the storyline of Lesh's online fantasy game, and I found these to be expertly narrated by MacLeod Andrews, causing me to laugh out loud MANY times. I'm not sure I would have enjoyed the gaming scenes as much had I read them in print! Anyone who has played or watched online RPGs will appreciate how perfectly Steve Brezenoff wrote the video game scenes, and even listeners with no gaming experience will be entertained by MacLeod Andrews' clever voicing of the fantasy characters. I felt Arielle DeLisle, with her sweet, clear, whimsical voice was a wonderful Svetlana, and MacLeod Andrews was able, as usual, to portray both Lesh's sulky teen boy voice and crazed, hormonal teen boy thoughts without missing a beat. Well done by both narrators.

Some sweetly romantic scenes plus a surprisingly clever twist at the end of the book gave it depth and raised some thought provoking questions about gender and role playing in real life. Genuine exploration of Lesh and Svetlana's journey towards making peace with their parents and their friends also kept this book from being a simple YA novel. I highly recommend it.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Emily on 08-17-17


Interesting, not Elenore & Park but good. What the freak kind of ending was that tho!?!?!?

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