Can two IRL enemies find their happily ever after online?
Stella Greene and Wesley Clarke are Gene Connolly Memorial High School’s biggest rivals. While the two have been battling it out for top student, it’s a race to the bottom when it comes to snide comments and pulling the dirtiest prank. For years, Stella and Wes have been the villain in each other’s story, and now it’s all-out war.
And there is no bigger battle than the one for valedictorian, and more specifically, the coveted valedictorian scholarship.
But Stella and Wes have more in common than they think. Both are huge fans of Warship Seven, a popular sci-fi TV drama with a dedicated online following, and the two start chatting under aliases–without a clue that their rival is just beyond the screen. They realize that they’re both attending SciCon this year, so they plan to dress in their best cosplay and finally meet IRL.
While tensions at school are rising and SciCon inches closer and closer, the enemy lines between Stella and Wes blur when a class project shows them they might understand one another better than anyone else–and not just in cosplay.
Author: Meredith Tate
Publication Date: May 18, 2021
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
This book is basically WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE meets GEEKERELLA. We get two rival students vying for valedictorian while falling in love through an online fandom forum. But, of course, they don’t know the very person they’re falling in love with is the person they most can’t stand in the world.
I love a good secret identities books so I was really excited to read this one. I was especially happy that this one involved an external rivalry. It was fun to see Stella and Wesley act one way towards each other in real life and completely different online to each other. While their romance wasn’t my favorite, it was still cute. It did feel like there was a bit of a spark missing from them, but I’m not overly disappointed by them.
Bridget! Probably the most underrated character in this book IMO. She is the sister of Stella and in a completely different place in her life than Stella wants to be. For most of the book, she’s the example of everything Stella doesn’t want to be. She dropped out of high school, has a kid with a dead-beat guy, and works at some minimum wage jobs just to get by. I knew the book was building to a certain point with her so I was really happy when Tate did Bridget’s moment it justice. There are so many ways to be successful in life!!! Going to college doesn’t mean you’re going to be successful and happy in life. Not going to college doesn’t mean you won’t! I won’t ruin it all here, but I was just so happy for Bridget’s character and the lesson she was able to teach in this book.
The beginning was slow, but not in a completely uninteresting way. Not too much was happening as Tate established both Stella and Wesley’s characters and circumstances and also the Warship Seven fandom. I always wish for things to start with a bang, but I wasn’t bored at the beginning so I consider it a win.
Lastly, I wanted to see more of their friends! We only get a few scenes with each of their friends and even then, we don’t see much of them. I like having more involvement from side characters so I was kinda sad we didn’t get much from them. Also, one of Stella’s “best friends”, Em, is a character we almost never see. She’s mentioned every once in a while and shows her face sometimes, but I just kinda felt like she was plugged into the story as an afterthought.
Overall, while this book isn’t a new favorite of mine, I enjoyed it. It was fun, full of life-after-high school lessons, and had a sweet romance attached. Plus, I just really love the cover!
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed a gifted and advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
To check out my other reviews, click here. Or to check out more books by Meredith Tate, go to her Goodreads profile or her website.
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I have this on my radar since I seem to have this newfound love with rivals-to-lovers trope. Great review, Ariel!
The Book View says
Rivals-to-lovers is seriously the best!!