Series: True Colors, #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on 2nd June 2020
Buy on Amazon
When two "big name fans" go head-to-head at a convention, love isn't the only thing at stake.
Charming, charismatic, and effortlessly popular, Conrad Stewart seems to have it all...but in reality, he's scrambling to keep his life from tumbling out of control.
Brilliant, guarded, and endlessly driven, Alden Roth may as well be the poster boy for perfection...but even he can't help but feel a little broken inside.
When these mortal enemies are stuck together on a cross-country road trip to the biggest fan convention of their lives, their infamous rivalry takes a backseat as an unexpected connection is forged. Yet each has a reason why they have to win the upcoming Odyssey gaming tournament and neither is willing to let emotion get in the way―even if it means giving up their one chance at something truly magical.
Annabeth Albert’s ‘Conventionally Yours’ is an unconventional NA take on queer relationships, set in a context so unusual that what it takes to get 2 rivals to lovers is a journey to a gaming competition that both have banked their entire lives on for various reasons.
I’m unused to Albert writing New Adult voices but this is a refreshing change, really, so far removed is this from her taut, tension-filled military romances as she brings together 2 young men so unsure of their places in life—and vying for a win in the competition at the expense of the other.
Relentless sniping and unkind poking are par for the course here as Alden and Conrad find ways and means to annoy each other both intentionally and unintentionally but the confined space during the road trip is where impressions start to change. There’s more of a teenage-feel-angst here that comes with unravelling wrong expectations and impressions as a result, and a whole load of geeking out that’s done in between.
The pacing is slow however and there were parts during this long road trip that I got impatient with, needing the momentum to start rolling onward, even though it’s an important bit where Conrad and Alden really start talking to each other. I couldn’t exactly get into the story as a whole despite Albert’s fantastic writing—the gaming bits did get a bit much but this is on me about a subject matter that just couldn’t pique enough of my interest to keep the story buoyant. You do know things are going to come to a head eventually though, and that’s what kept me going. My rating here is just that: a personal one that reflects my inability to get into the story, rather than it is a reflection of Albert’s work itself.
Nonetheless, give it a go, particularly if you’re keep into the gaming stuff—it’ll probably work out heaps better than it did for me.