Review: Twelfth Knight by Alexene Farol Follmuth

Twelfth Knight by Alexene Farol Follmuth

Twelfth Knight
Alexene Farol Follmuth
Tor Teen
Published May 28, 2024

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Twelfth Knight

Reese’s Book Club Summer YA Pick ’24

“YA is a feeling. It’s a warm summer day reading in the sun, lots of nostalgia, gushing together over the characters in Twelfth Knight.”—Reese Witherspoon

From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Atlas Six (under the penname Olivie Blake) comes Twelfth Knight, a grumpy/sunshine YA romantic comedy and coming of age story about taking up space in the world and learning what it means to let others in.

Viola Reyes is annoyed.

Her painstakingly crafted tabletop game campaign was shot down, her best friend is suggesting she try being more “likable,” and school running back Jack Orsino is the most lackadaisical Student Body President she’s ever seen, which makes her job as VP that much harder. Vi’s favorite escape from the world is the MMORPG Twelfth Knight, but online spaces aren’t exactly kind to girls like her―girls who are extremely competent and have the swagger to prove it. So Vi creates a masculine alter ego, choosing to play as a knight named Cesario to create a safe haven for herself.

But when a football injury leads Jack Orsino to the world of Twelfth Knight, Vi is alarmed to discover their online alter egos―Cesario and Duke Orsino―are surprisingly well-matched.

As the long nights of game-play turn into discussions about life and love, Vi and Jack soon realise they’ve become more than just weapon-wielding characters in an online game. But Vi has been concealing her true identity from Jack, and Jack might just be falling for her offline…

Twelfth Knight on Goodreads

My Review

I really enjoyed Follmuth’s debut YA rom-com, My Mechanical Romance, so when I saw she had another book coming out, it immediately went on my TBR.

This one started off slow for me. I didn’t connect with the main characters. Viola is super intense and has a pretty short fuse when she feels like people are wasting her time. Jack can’t stop talking about how great he is.

In some ways, I think they were meant to be unlikeable at the beginning of the book to highlight the character growth they both experience and the fact that they have a lot more beneath those irritating surface characteristics. I get that, and I appreciated it because it became much easier to invest in the story as the changes started to happen.

Other than the bumpy start with the characters, I enjoyed this book. It’s got the whole mistaken identity thing going with Viola playing as a boy character online and telling Jack she’s someone else. It’s got sweet, tenderhearted moments exploring gaming as a girl and how high-powered or assertive girls are treated in many spaces. It celebrates online gaming and fantasy television.

I’m not familiar with the Shakespearean play, The Twelfth Night, which obviously inspired this book. Looking at the summary, I can see the character parallels and some of the similar beats the story hits from the beginning of the play, especially. The plot of the book diverges from the play quite a bit from the play, but it’s a fun read.

I think readers who enjoyed Alex, Approximately or Don’t Hate the Player by Alexis Nedd will definitely want to read this one.

Twelfth Knight on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 12 up.

Jack is Black. Viola is Latina. One minor character likes girls romantically.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
One f-bomb. Strong profanity used pretty frequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl. A girl confesses romantic feelings for another girl.

Spiritual Content

Violent Content
Descriptions of a football play that causes a serious injury. A boy makes it clear he expects a girl to date him because he has “been nice to her.” When she refuses, he calls her a derogatory word. A different girl reports a similar encounter later in the book.

Drug Content

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use but help support this blog. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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