Title: Play It Again
Author: Aidan Wayne
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: April 22, 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 288
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 1 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
The videos are fun.
But it’s the host who has him coming back for more…
When Seattle-based blind YouTuber Dovid Rosenstein finds Sam Doyle’s Let’s Play channel, playitagainsam, he’s instantly captivated by the Irish gamer. Everything about Sam is adorable, from his accent to his personality, and Dovid can’t get enough of his content.
Dovid’s glowing shout-out on Don’t Look Now, his own successful channel, sends Sam’s subscriber numbers skyrocketing overnight. He has more comments than he can read. And while the sudden surge in popularity is anxiety inducing, Sam decides it’s only right to dedicate his next episode to Dovid…which soon leads to a heart-pounding exchange of DMs.
They may have never met in person, but Dovid’s never felt this close to anyone before. What they have feels worth exploring—no matter the distance. But is it possible to already be in love with someone who’s half a world away?
I’ve been pleasantly surprised in the past by Aidan Wayne’s novellas Loud and Clear and Counterbalance and was intrigued by the blurb for “Play It Again.” However, this book just did not work for me, for a number of reasons.
Dovid and his sister Rachel are Seattle-based social media stars with a very popular YouTube channel “Don’t Look Now” that provides restaurant and product reviews, as well as commentaries and interaction with their legion of subscribers. Dovid is blind so his restaurant reviews assess accessibility and he speaks to school children as well as charities about his life and overcoming challenges.
Rachel’s random mention of an Irish gamer’s Let’s Play videos sparks Dovid’s interest and after a shout-out, all of a sudden Sam’s life is changed, with new subscribers and a lot of interest in his videos. Sam, who has social anxiety, reaches out to Dovid for support dealing with this new phenomena and slowly they become friends, exchanging DMs and eventually phoning one another. Over time they begin to look forward to speaking with each other and slowly, very slowly, realize they might be falling in love.
I’m probably not spoiling anything here, but Dovid and Sam fall in love, and eventually meet one another. Dovid is bisexual and helps Sam figure out that he is a homoromantic asexual so there is no on-page sex, but a lot of mutually agreed and enjoyed hugging and cuddling here which is sweet and very tender. However, the pace of the story is glacial because there are months and months of DMs, followed by months and months until they meet, and then months and months until the foundation is laid for their HEA. In addition, we learn a LOT of information about YouTube videos, planning and scheduling video downloads, monetizing videos, setting up a Patreon account and providing subscriber incentives, how to film and edit videos, lather, rinse, repeat.
I felt there was little character development of the two MCs other than a lot of “I love yous” and so much of the plot was focused on monetizing their respective social media endeavors that I came to a point where I considered DNFing this book. Personally, I felt this story would have worked much better as a brief and focused 100 page novella, rather than a bloated 288 page book. I’ve giving “Play it Again” 2.5 stars and cannot recommend it.