Two Can Play That Game
Leanne Yong
Publisher: A & U Children
ISBN: 9781761063374
Awards Year: 2024
Category: Book of the Year: Older Readers


Funny and romantic, an upbeat YA novel about gaming, goals and getting even from a fresh new voice in contemporary fiction.

Sam Khoo has one goal in life: create cool indie games. She's willing to do anything to make her dream come true – even throw away a scholarship to university. All she needs is a super-rare ticket to a game design workshop and she can kickstart her career.

So when Jay Chua, aka Jerky McJerkface, sneakily grabs the last ticket, it's war. Knowing how their Australian-Malaysian community works, Sam issues him an ultimatum: put the ticket on the line in a 1v1 competition of classic video games, or she'll broadcast his duplicity to everyone. Thank you, Asian Gossip Network.

Meeting in neutral locations, away from the eyes and ears of nosy aunties and uncles, Sam and Jay connect despite themselves. It's a puzzle that Sam's not sure she wants to solve. But when her dream is under threat, will she discover that there is more than one way to win?

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The CBCA judges say...

A charming “enemies to first love” story that targets the readership beautifully in a thoroughly PG style, despite being about slightly older teens. Although gaming is central to the premise — which in itself is wonderful for the intended audience — the reader needs no knowledge of the field to delight in this character-focused book. The rapid-fire dialogue and humour complement well-drawn family dynamics that consider what it can mean to grow up Australian-Malaysian, the responsibility inherent in being the eldest sibling, and the issues of living up to parental expectations. With captivating pop culture nerdery sprinkled liberally throughout, this debut novel is primarily driven by internal conflict, examining the little-discussed theme of how challenging it can be to “peak” in high school and framed by the gentle romance.


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