Four friends from wildly different backgrounds have bonded over Dungeons & Dragons since the sixth grade. Now they're facing senior year and a major shift in their own universes. Math whiz Archie is struggling with his parents' divorce after his dad comes out as gay. Mari is terrified of her adoptive mother's life-altering news. Dante is carrying around a huge secret that is proving impossible to keep hidden. And when Sam gets dumped by the love of his life, everyone is ready to join him on a cross-country quest to win her back. The four quickly discover that the road is not forgiving, and that real life is no game. They must face a test of friendship where the stakes are more than just a roll of the dice--they are life and death.
The summer before senior year, four longtime friends, who bonded over weekly games Dungeons & Dragons, are drifting apart. Math nerd Archie is upset about his father coming out as gay and his parents' subsequent divorce. His crush, Mari, is distraught over her adoptive mother's recent cancer diagnosis and is simultaneously contemplating contacting her biological mother. Meanwhile, Dante's family and church shun him after they discover he's gay, and Sam's grades are dropping due to his obsession with his girlfriend, Sarah. When Sarah's family moves to Seattle, Sam and his friends embark on a cross-country road trip so he can win her back; along the way they become more honest with each other and themselves. While debut novelist Ribay gives the story a distinctively diverse and nerd-centric cast, the structure comes across as disjointed, with the first half of the book shifting focus among the four main characters before transitioning to a more conventional setup in the second half. Some overdramatic moments during the road trip overstuff a narrative already brimming with personal problems. Ages 14 up.