Cover of Didn't See That Coming featuring a girl and guy with game controllers and headsets surrounded by purple flowers and macarons

About the Book

Title: Didn’t See That Coming (Well, That Was Unexpected #2)
Published: 2023
Swoonworthy Scale: 6

Cover Story: AFK
BFF Charm: Roger Murtaugh
Talky Talk: Real (Teen) Talk
Bonus Factor: Amazing Names
Anti-Bonus Factors: (Sexism in) Video Games, Bullying, Gut Punch
Relationship Status: No Second Date

Cover Story: AFK

As far as illustrated covers go, this is a cute one. I like the depictions of Kiki and Liam with their gaming gear. But I don’t get the flowers or the macarons (?) around the outside. Seems just like added fluff to me.

The Deal: 

Kristabellla “Kiki” Siregar loves to play video games, particularly Warfront Heroes. But she quickly tired of the sexism and gross behavior of many dudes who also play it and decided to hide her true self behind the gamer tag Dudebro10. Under the guise of that very male-sounding name, Kiki gets to play with a freedom she never had when people knew she was a girl. 

When Kiki starts at a new school, however, her decision comes back to bite her when she realizes that her best online friend—Sourdawg— who she might have more than platonic feelings for also attends the same school. When Kiki discovers who Sourdawg is, she thinks it’s too late to tell him who she really is … but when it all blows up in her face, she has to work to get back what her lies lost her.

BFF Charm: Roger Murtaugh

BFF charm with Roger Murtagh from Lethal Weapon's face.

Kiki is a headstrong, passionate young woman who loses herself when she begins her new school, but eventually finds herself again with the help of friends. She’s sweet and clever, but also extremely naive and frustratingly obtuse. She’s a teenager, natch, so all of that is believable. I just found myself more irritated than understanding. I’m definitely too old for her particular brand of shizz. 

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

Kiki is mad about her online BFF, Sourdawg, but he thinks she’s a dude. When she realizes they attend the same school, she panics, and she can’t figure out the “right” time to tell him the truth. And when she finds out who he is IRL, she’s even more uncertain about timing, even when she realizes that her feelings cross over from online to real life.

Talky Talk: Real (Teen) Talk

This is my first book of Sutanto’s, so I have no frame of reference to compare to, but Didn’t See That Coming came across in many ways like an obnoxious teenager. Perhaps this is Old Me coming out, but it was a struggle to read about Kiki and her shenanigans when they could have been so easily fixed. I applaud Sutanto for nailing the teen vibe, and I know complaining about a YA book that’s utterly teen is very much an “adult who needs to stay in her lane” situation, but there’s something to be said about characters who are a bit more thoughtful.

Bonus Factor: Amazing Names

Pacha from Emperor's New Groove with a pleased look on his face and his hands making the OK sign

Kiki attends school with a Eleanor Roosevelt Tanuwijaya (who’s older brother is named George Clooney) and a Sarah Jessica Parker Susanti. I loved the quirky names in this book, and reading about how Eleanor Roosevelt never wanted to be called anything shorter than Eleanor Roosevelt made me laugh.

When I first got to know her through her big brother George Clooney, I made the mistake of calling her Ellie. She gave me this look that seared all the way through my blackened soul and said, “My name is Eleanor Roosevelt Tanuwijaya. You can call me Eleanor Roosevelt.” I pointed out to her that even the original Eleanor Roosevelt probably didn’t go by Eleanor Roosevelt, and she said, “Yes, but I do.” And that was that.

Ed. note: I pulled this quote from an advanced review copy of this book. The final text might be different.

Anti-Bonus Factor: (Sexism in) Video Games

Video game controller

While I applaud Kiki for finding a way around the sexism that pervades online games, it truly sucks that she had to do that in order to play without being harassed. In my few forays into online multiplayer games, I’ve never experienced what she did, but that’s not to say is isn’t a prevalent problem. (And my gamertag being the non-gender-specific “mandustries” on most platforms likely helped.)

Anti-Bonus Factor: Bullying

A group of girls surround another girl by her locker and pick at her sweater with mean looks on their faces

Kiki is bullied at her new school thanks in part to her unwillingness to bend to the crowd’s whim. She’s called “Crazy Kiki” and videos and edits of her standing up for herself go viral. But she also does a bit of bullying herself, which is another reason I got so frustrated with her character. Two wrongs do not make a right and all that.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Gut Punch

Pink and white boxing gloves on a gray concrete floor

There’s a passage in this book that nearly made me put it down for good.

Cassie’s laugh softens into a sad smile. “Aww. Your online bestie! That’s so cute. It’s so, like, circa 2000. Like that ancient Meg Ryan movie that our moms are always watching.”

“Okay, it’s kind of different from You’ve Got Mail.”


Ed. Note: Same as above.

Relationship Status: No Second Date

While we had an entertaining time on the whole, Book, you’re just too young for me. I wish you all the best, and hope that you grow up to change the video game industry for the better. Goodness knows it could use some strong female role models!

Literary Matchmaking

Dial A for Aunties (Aunties #1)

If you enjoyed this book, you might also like Sutanto’s Dial A for Aunties, a contemporary adult romance.

I Hope This Doesn’t Find You

Ann Liang’s I Hope This Doesn’t Find You is also about a girl who used to be the GOAT falling to rock bottom.

Warcross (Warcross #1)

Marie Lu’s Warcross also features a young woman in a(n annoyingly) male-dominated video game field.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Delacorte Press, but got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Didn’t See That Coming is available now.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.