Review: Looking for Group by Alexis Hall

Note: This ARC was provided by Riptide Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

[Solace] whispers: Um, are you okay?
To [Solace]: not really no
[Solace] whispers: um
[Solace] whispers: you thought I was a girl, didn't you?
[Solace] whispers: That's why you were so nice to me
To [Solace]: don't want to talk about this

I love when a book pushes me out of my personal comfort zone and has me wanting to learn more about a subject I know only a little about. That's exactly what Looking for Group, the latest release from award-winning author Alexis Hall, did for me. I know only the very basics about massively multiplayer online games or MMO games, and this story involving two university students is the second one that's had me itching to Google and do a bit more research than usual about the world of MMO or MMORPG. Once Drew and Kit logged on to Heroes of Legend, they were immersed in a whole new world, familiar to them and to other gamers and members of their guild, Same Crit Different Day. While not MMO, I know how it is to be so into something that everything else fades away. So, whether you're a gamer or not, this early in my review, I'm highly recommending you add Looking for Group on your to-be-read list. This is my fourth Alexis Hall book and it's easy to see why every title he releases becomes a must-read as well as a favorite.

Whether they be at their respective universities or to the rest of the world away from their computers, they're Andrew and Christopher. But once they go online on Heroes of Legend, Drew becomes Orcarella and Kit becomes Solace. They used to belong to different guilds, but now, Drew has been welcomed into the Same Crit Different Day guild, aka SCDD. They strike up a friendship and Drew is indeed fascinated with the elf character he knows only as Solace. He swore he wouldn't go falling for some persona made of pixels on a screen but being with Solace is easy. When his online crush turns out to be a guy and not the girl he had imagined in his head, Drew is at a loss. Can he handle being drawn to Kit and does it really matter if there's a very real and distinct possibility that Drew is either gay or bisexual? Drew's feelings for Kit are far easier to manage compared to having to reconcile their online and offline lives. Drew wants Kit to be more into the real world than the world of HoL, but what's real may be not-so-surprisingly relative.

It was surprisingly easy to get into not just the story but the way it's presented to readers. The conversations between Drew and Kit and their extended discussions within their guild made me feel as if I truly was a part of each adventure and raid they were on. In the process, I learned more about the two main characters and saw how they were able to open each other's eyes to new things. Being online affords a lot of people more freedom to be themselves with a hint of caution. Both Drew and Kit had a strong circle of friends with far more wisdom to offer at crunch time. They weren't just there to debate which games were standouts and which were duds and what tactical plans they should come up with for a raid. The friendships and relationships you create online can be just as real as the ones offline and I've been fortunate enough to know that firsthand. Maybe that's why this book struck home with me. Of course, the fantastical writing didn't hurt either. Looking for Group is one of my top reads for 2016. Five-plus stars. ♥

Release Date: 29 August 2016

Date Read: 28 August 2016

Learn more about Alexis Hall.

Purchase Looking for Group on Amazon | B&N | Kobo.