A huge thank-you to NetGalley and the publisher for this advanced reader copy of Dungeons & Drama by Kristy Boyce.
Dungeons and Drama by Kristy Boyce is such a stand-out YA romcom and it absolutely deserves to be on your 2024 reading list. In this post, you’ll find out why.
I’m incredibly picky with the young adult romances that I pick up nowadays. Once upon a time, they were one of my favorite things to read, but the older I get, the harder it has become to fully immerse myself in the story. Normally, I wouldn’t request an advanced copy of a book in this category, but when I saw a preview of it on Threads in the middle of 2023, I knew I just had to get it into my hands as soon as possible. The idea of a gamer nerd and theatre girly romance spoke to my soul. That might sound dramatic, but that’s definitely the vibe with this book, so I’m fully leaning into it.
Mild spoiler alert (that I’m sure you won’t be surprised by): I loved this book! It was adorable and I’m really glad that I took a risk and requested the ARC. I was also lucky enough to be sent a completed copy from the publisher, which makes me so happy because it means I can pick it up again when I’m craving something cute and lighthearted. It’s definitely a feel-good story and one that I hope even the most YA-opposed readers dare to pick up.
Dungeons & Drama was released on January 9, 2024. Make sure to purchase your copy to enjoy today and keep reading to find out why I think it’s such a stand-out YA romcom for the year!
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My honest review of Dungeons & Drama by Kristy Boyce.
When it comes to romance, sometimes it doesn’t hurt to play games. A fun YA romcom full of fake dating hijinks!
Musical lover Riley has big aspirations to become a director on Broadway. Crucial to this plan is to bring back her high school’s spring musical, but when Riley takes her mom’s car without permission, she’s grounded and stuck with the worst punishment: spending her after-school hours working at her dad’s game shop.
Riley can’t waste her time working when she has a musical to save, so she convinces Nathan—a nerdy teen employee—to cover her shifts and, in exchange, she’ll flirt with him to make his gamer-girl crush jealous.
But Riley didn’t realize that meant joining Nathan’s Dungeons & Dragons game…or that role playing would be so fun. Soon, Riley starts to think that flirting with Nathan doesn’t require as much acting as she would’ve thought…
Looking for a stand-out YA romcom filled with fake dating, enemies-to-lovers, nerds, theatre kids, and tons of adorable moments? You absolutely must pick up Dungeons & Drama.
This book took me by surprise in the best way possible. Over the last couple of years, I’ve found myself less drawn to YA romances, because while they can certainly be cute and fun, there’s something about the age gap that disconnects me from the story. However, every once in a while, there’s a novel that stands out to me and fully captures my attention. That was precisely what happened with Dungeons & Drama.
I saw a lot of myself in these characters. Riley is a theatre kid to the max and since I was a theatre kid in high school, with the same tendencies to wear vibrant clothing and have a flair for the dramatic, it felt a little like reading about myself nearly 15 years ago. Sometimes, she really irritated me with her lack of honesty and inability to communicate, but she experienced so much growth throughout the book and I loved seeing how it only enhanced the best parts of her character.
Nathan is a gamer nerd and I love him to bits and pieces. He reminds me a little more of myself at this stage of my life: more likely to want to stay in for a quiet game night than take the stage for a school production. He had some of the cutest moments in the book since it was absolutely a “he falls first” situation, and I loved every second of it. His interest in Riley, despite her intensity, was really precious.
The romance was adorable in every way. I’m a total sucker for fake dating, and while I don’t always love when it’s paired with “trying to prove something to my ex,” I think it was well done in this book. The author did a great job showing what a healthy relationship can look like versus one that would definitely be filled with toxicity.
I also appreciated the relationship development between Riley and her dad. Things started out really rocky and I felt myself getting frustrated with Riley’s assumptions and unwillingness to have hard conversations–leaning towards outbursts instead–but the more I read, the more I understood the dynamics and loved how their growth together was handled.
There’s no doubt in my mind that this is a book I’ll read again. It gave me the same gleeful feelings I have when reading Emma Lord’s YA romcom books (and she’s been my favorite contemporary YA author for quite some time). It’s lighthearted, funny, and was one that I couldn’t get out of my brain even weeks after I finished reading it. A stand-out novel for sure!