Dave Barrett is a winner. He won the Nerdist Inkshares contest, sure, but more than that, he wrote a book that wins the hearts and minds of anyone who reads it. It’s All Fun and Games is the story of Allison, a normal girl dragged kicking and screaming into the world of Live Action Role Play. When a weekend of pretend fun becomes all too real, Allison and her friends will learn what they are really made of.
I like to call these sorts of books romps. It’s a YA novel, sure, but it’s so fast-paced and action-packed you don’t get any real time to learn more than the basics about your characters because they are too busy doing things. Those things in this case are fighting goblins and bandits, learning skills from the characters they are slowly starting to become, and figuring out that the way out is the way through.
I enjoyed this book. It was fun, pun intended, easy to read, and surprising in many ways — the greatest of which was the cliffhanger ending. I only realized that the action was going to continue to ramp right up to the end when I looked down at my Kindle and saw there was only 7% left in the book but the characters were still busy adventuring. The most interesting bit I found was actually about Chuck, the group’s sneaky little rogue, who slides furthest into his character persona and uses those newfound instincts to help his party win the day. For the rest we don’t get much time to learn about them, and I felt a little hungry for more character by the end of the novel, especially in contrast to Chuck.
I recommend It’s All Fun and Games for anyone a fan of the Fantasy genre, YA readers who are looking for an exciting adventure, and those who are looking for a quick read while traveling.