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Two Can Play That Game - Leanne Yong
CBCA 2024 Older Readers Shortlist

Two Can Play That Game

By: Leanne Yong

Paperback | 31 January 2023

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Funny and romantic, an upbeat YA novel about gaming, goals and getting even from a fresh new voice in contemporary fiction.

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 Jay Chua, aka Jerky McJerkface, sneakily grabs the last ticket, it's war. Knowing how their Australian-Malaysian community works, Sam 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?

About the Author

Leanne Yong is an Asian-Australian author of Singaporean and Malaysian heritage who loves writing the diaspora experience into contemporary and fantasy YA fiction. She started her career as an IT business analyst (boring) and is now an escape room creator (much more interesting). She has designed internationally recognised games with her partner that weave unique puzzle mechanics with narrative. She currently resides in Sydney for work, but Brisbane is where her home, family and heart (i.e. her cat) are. Two Can Play That Game is her debut novel.
Industry Reviews
'A joyful and fun addition to the growing Asian-Australian Own Voices YA movement ... A gentle enemies-to-lovers romance exploring everyday challenges around establishing a young adult identity. Yong does this with a great sense of humour and deep empathy for young people trying to find a balance between the demands of two cultures.' Books+Publishing

'This is the perfect book for readers who are passionate and dream big. Yong has written an utterly charming, generous and affirming story about a young woman's ambition and the importance of stepping out of one's own way in order to find true happiness. I loved this story about the intersection of work, culture, romance and nerdiness! Young gamers and puzzle lovers will not be able to put this book down.' Michelle Law, acclaimed writer of Single Asian Female

'A gloriously nerdy debut about family, culture, passion and ambition. Two Can Play That Game is a love letter to games and puzzles of all kinds, including the biggest puzzle of them all - life.' Tobias Madden, bestselling author of Take a Bow, Noah Mitchell


'An oh-so-relatable, fire-cracking story about chasing your dreams, identity and how to rediscover the courage to truly be yourself. Sam Khoo stole my heart.' Wai Chim, award-winning author of The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling


'This novel took me on such an unexpected ride, I did not want it to end! It is witty, charming and full of heart. Perfect for anyone trying to be perfect, and learning that life often has other ideas.' Kay Kerr, acclaimed author of Social Queue and Please Don't Hug Me


'A super-smart, hotly competitive Asian-Australian YA gamer rom-com that celebrates burning your own path through life. This nerd loved it.' Rebecca Lim, award-winning author of Tiger Daughter


'An utterly gorgeous and heartwarming debut about family, creativity, ambition and believing in yourself.' Nina Kenwood, bestselling author of Unnecessary Drama


'This is such a warm, witty and big-hearted novel. Yong weaves together breathless game playing, epic trash talk, slow-burn romance, complex family dynamics and true friendships so effortlessly. I loved Sam Khoo's passion, grit and fallibility, and her battle with the heavy weight of her own expectations really struck home with me.' Leanne Hall, award-winning author of The Gaps


'Charming, funny, romantic and heart-warming, Two Can Play That Game is a dazzling debut from Leanne Yong. Gamers and non-gamers alike will delight in this story of girl meets boy meets game, in a romance that feels fresh, modern and relevant. Yong has serious game!' C.S. Pacat, New York Times bestselling author of Dark Rise


'An adorable love letter to Australian gamer culture. This charming debut won my heart - fun, laugh-out-loud funny and real. I wish this book had been around when I was growing up!' Vanessa Len, bestselling author of Only A Monster


'Hilarious, genuine and wonderfully geeky, Two Can Play That Game captures how it feels to be a young Asian-Australian person navigating career dreams, family expectations and first love. Sam and Jay's banter had me laughing nonstop; Sam's individuality and determination had me rooting for her to the final page. Leanne Yong is a delightful and long overdue addition to the Australian YA literary landscape.' Grace Chan, author of Every Version of You











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