On a LARP by Stefani Deoul is a young adult novel that kept me riveted. Told in the first person by the wisecracking, whip-smart Sid (don’t you dare call her Sidonie) Rubin, it takes us into the world of the dark web and a deadlier LARP game than usual.
Sid is on a field trip at a police station when she sees a photo of a murder victim and points out what no one has noticed so far. The woman was wearing an unusual costume—“Très Edwardian Mistress of the Steampunk”—that indicates she was LARPing (participating in a live action role play game) when she was killed. Her comment leads to a couple of detectives pulling in Sid and some of her equally smart and tech-savvy friends to do a little digging and see if they can find the information the police needs to catch a killer.
The first person narration works so well because it immediately immerses us in Sid and her distinct perspective. Sid is beyond curious and is almost too smart, and yet is also incredibly aware of her limitations like poor impulse control or her insecurity when her two best friends start dating. Her crush on one of the detectives is adorable, offsetting her super slick, mile a minute way of talking.
Sid is surrounded by a strong cast of supporting characters, between her group of friends, the detectives that approach them for help, and Sid’s family. The friendship between Sid, Jimmy, Imani, Ari and Vikram is written especially well. They may work well together to learn more about the victim and try to catch the killer, but they also have just the right amount of teenaged angst thrown into the mix.
The Writing Style
This is a short book and, whoo, does it ever fly. Sid’s narration keeps things moving along at a rapid clip, delivering just enough information about things like bitcoins, LARPing, and the dark web to keep the reader informed without ever bogging the story down.
By far and away, my favourite element of this book is Sid’s narration. She’s such a well-drawn character and I loved seeing things through her eyes.
Also, the cover for this book is INCREDIBLE. Finally, a lesfic cover worthy of the book’s contents!
If you want a fast, smart, fun read, definitely pick up On a LARP. Given that its subtitle is “A Sid Rubin Silicon Alley Adventure,” I’m already looking forward to more books with Sid and her pals.
Excerpt from On a LARP by Stefani Deoul
That is how I came to see Tessa Sargentino. I know it feels as though I should be saying how I came to meet her, but the truth is she was just a photograph on the wall of a room we were walking past. And because I looked up when I tripped and because I had seen that same photograph in the morning paper, I thought it a perfectly opportune time to nudge Flynn and point her out through the open door. Because my theory, which I had explained most enthusiastically to The Flynn earlier, was she had been to a LARP before she got killed.
And now, it was not only one, but a series of crime scene photos we could kind of, but not really, see through this partially open door, and along with the obvious tell-tale signs of murder (you know, a body impossibly skewed and lots of blood), I noticed the one from the morning news, the one in which she was wearing a striking and unusual outfit. Très Edwardian Mistress of the Steampunk. If she wasn’t lying dead in the photos, I must admit, I might have felt a twinge of envy at what would have been her obvious, uhm, flair in that bustier.
So as I am pointing through the door to the photo and saying, “I’m telling you, it was a LARP. Check out the outfit.”A rather bulky man gave a cursory “Ahem”while pushing right on by as though we weren’t actually standing there, and then turns back to finish his interruption of me and Jimmy with what novelists like to call a “curious look,”right before closing the door in our faces.
If perchance (isn’t that just such a great word? I love when I can find a place to use a great word) you are wondering if I had some kind of portent about this meeting, I will let my next words speak for precisely how I felt in that moment. I looked at Jimmy and proclaimed, “Asshole.”I
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781612940953
- Publisher: Bywater Books
Stefani Deoul Online
Note: I received a free review copy of On a LARP by Stefani Deoul. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.