Reading this book when I haven’t been able to attend a fan convention in person for nearly a year was both bittersweet and precisely what I needed at the same time. I’m not a cosplayer (you’ll find me over in the writing and fandom tracks), but Novak captures perfectly everything that I love about the con scene lifestyle, from the dichotomy of that “working vacation” feeling to only interacting with some people in person fewer than a handful of times a year. I can’t say that I’ve got an enemy-with-benefits to hook up with in convention center bathrooms, but Edward and Izzy’s frenemy run-ins almost make me miss the few convention regulars I’m not terribly fond of.

Edward verges into being a caricature in the previous book in this series, but this story shows how he uses his carefully curated personality as a defense mechanism. It’s no wonder that he and Izzy get under each other’s skin so well when Izzy is very much a “what you see is what you get” kind of guy. I had so much fun with the romance trope progression Novak follows for this book, from “enemies-with-benefits” to “there’s only one bed!” to “idiots in love.” Everything about it worked, even the random friendship with movie stars (I have my own wacky stories about the unexpected connections that can spawn opportunities thanks to that weird insular universe of the convention scene).

On the character side, Novak also does a great job showing how the “reality” of someone who is regularly invited to conventions is very different from what is portrayed on social media—and how that social media presence can skew reality. Obviously, the author wrote the events in this book to induce the romance element between the main characters. Still, it’s interesting to think how they could have gone on as they had been for quite a while if this book took place before the advent of social media (and/or if there had been more than one bed).

I’m so pleased that Novak decided this world needed to be a series because I’ve had so much fun with both books. I look forward to the next installment, and I hope the author rolls lots of natural 20s during her writing skill checks.

Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.