This was stinking adorable. I enjoyed it so much!
I’ve been waiting since I read the first book for Reggie’s story, back when we first heard about her GirlsWithGlasses website. That felt like something you don’t just introduce and then leave alone. I would say that I wish she would have gotten a full book rather than a novella, except that I think this book was exactly the right size. Any longer and it would have dragged.
Reggie reaches out to an internet acquaintance when he takes down the archive of his livestreams, an archive which she had previously been using to lull herself to sleep (she likes his voice), asking if she can purchase some recordings from him. Said acquaintance is Gus Nguyen, who is an architect and puzzle enthusiast, and has been attempting to use both of his passions together become a creator of escape rooms. He just so happens to be building an escape room for Anime Con, an event Reggie is very invested in, for her favorite anime. Gus doesn’t understand the anime (he has autism, so he processes things a little differently), so he asks her to help him with the escape room, and then they discover they both live in Queens.
From there, they bond quickly. Each of them have satisfying emotional arcs. Despite thinking he’s not very good with emotional things, Gus is very emotionally open to Reggie, and Reggie, who is in a wheelchair due to ataxia (brought on by having viral meningitis when she was younger) and who has issues with her family, keeps herself firmly behind emotional walls. That’s really their only conflict, which is why this didn’t need to be a full book. Gus is so sweet, and he’s a good cook!
My only real complaint is that the conflict with her parents and her sister isn’t resolved and doesn’t even really make sense unless you’ve read the 2nd book in the series. I know that it does get resolved, but since it was brought up, I wanted to see it resolved here, too.
Overall, though, this was a short, sweet time and I’m actually really glad I saved this for last, even though it takes place before #3.