what I’m reading: level up: a geek romance rom com by cathy yardley.

level upTessa Rodriguez is an introvert, and a bit of a geek, and is one of the few women working at a gaming company with her roommate Adam. Tessa’s dream job is to create code for video games. Unfortunately, it’s tough to get ahead in the male-dominated computer gaming workplace.

When Tessa becomes friends with a group of girls down on their luck, her dream has a chance at coming true when she volunteers to help the girls win a fan contest by creating a fandom-based video game in just 3 weeks. As Tessa breaks out of her shell, she finds not only her relationship with Adam changing, but with the other guys she works with as they work together to create the game.

I know nothing about coding or computer games. The only computer games I have ever played are those ones from BigFish, you know the hidden objects ones? (I think the one I played was called Ravenhearst.) And the last video game I played was Super Mario Bros. But you definitely don’t have to be a gamer to enjoy this book.

Tessa’s situation is real. She’s smart and talented. However, as one of the only women working at the gaming company, Tessa is constantly informed that gaming and coding are a man’s job. Tessa loves to build code and just wants to be recognized for her work.

The characters in this book were really enjoyable. The girls that Tessa befriends are hilarious and each one has their own special quirk. I thought I would dislike a few of them in the beginning but the more I learned about them, the more intriguing they became. I am hoping they will show up in subsequent books because I absolutely want to learn more about them.

And the relationship between Adam and Tessa was sweet and refreshing. There was no angst, no big misunderstanding, no drama. Instead, there was a good balance of sexual tension and romance and I was rooting for Adam and Tessa to get together.

This book does has a ton of pop culture references in it, which I could see potentially being an issue in the future. Because of all the references, I’m not sure how the book will age and hold up. However, I know a lot of people loved this book because of all the pop culture references so I guess it can go either way.

Additionally, I read this on my Kindle and I thought the formatting was a little wonky. The book will often jump from scene to scene or there will be a time jump without any warnings or indications. Signifiers such as either asterisks, dashes, or even multiple paragraph returns to mark the scene breaks could have greatly improved the reading experience.

I thought this was a fun and cute book. It was fairly short (151 pages) so I was able to read it in only a couple of hours.


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