Book Reviews

Review: Two Can Play That Game by Leanne Yong

For fans of video games and rivals to romance, Two Can Play That Game is for you. It’s a fantastic and charming YA debut that made me laugh! Full of heart, Two Can Play That Game is a delight! Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


How did I let my sister talk me into going out when I have a game to fix and a jerkface to destroy?

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 Jaysen Chua, otherwise known as Jerky McJerkface, sneakily grabs the last ticket for himself, Sam is left with no choice. It’s war. Knowing all too well how their Australian-Malaysian community works, she 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?


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the author. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Two Can Play That Game is a book that was immediately made for me. It features video games, a competition, and rivals to romance. But even more so, it’s a story about dreams and ambition, about family and love, and friendship and fear. You know I love a girl in STEM and so I was already primed to love Sam. To root for her fighting tooth and nail for the chance at the workshop. Steeped in the sexism of gaming and coding, I felt for Sam from the get go.

But Two Can Play That Game is immediately a case of, “what if”? Of what if they weren’t rivals? What if this doesn’t work out? What if what we pinned our dreams to fails? What if there was a new way forward? One of the joys of Two Can Play That Game is that it explores this space of ambition and drive, but also about refilling our creative well. Of seeing the necessity for balance. We can feel like we can’t let our guard down, that a moment is all it takes, but it’s so important to give ourselves the space to recuperate.

(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. For more information you can look at the Policy page. If you’re uncomfortable with that, know you can look up the book on any of the sites below to avoid the link)

Two Can Play That Game is a gem of a YA contemporary. It is multi-faceted and glittering. A story about passion, dreams, and the people who support us. Find Two Can Play That Game on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon.


What is your favorite video game in a book?

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