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Young Adult Fiction Lgbt

Who We Are in Real Life

by (author) Victoria Koops

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Feb 2024
LGBT, Contemporary, Religion & Faith
Recommended Age
13 to 17
Recommended Grade
8 to 12
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Feb 2024
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2024
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Fans of Rainbow Rowell and Casey McQuiston will fall for this story of tabletop gaming, romance and epic campaigns — both in game and IRL.

IRL, Darcy has just moved to the small prairie town of Unity Creek with her two moms. It feels like she left everything good behind in the city. She misses her tabletop gaming friends and her boyfriend — and is horrified by the homophobia her family faces in their new home. Then she meets kind, quiet Art, who invites her to join his Dungeons & Dragons game.

Art is mostly happy fading into the background at school and only really coming alive during his friends’ weekly D&D game — until meeting Darcy pulls his life off-course in wonderful and alarming ways. Suddenly he has something worth fighting for. But what if that something puts him in conflict with his father, an influential and conservative figure in their town? Can Art stand up against his father’s efforts to prevent Darcy and her friends from starting a queer-straight alliance at school?

Meanwhile, in game, Darcy’s and Art’s D&D characters join forces to fight corruption as they grow closer in the homebrew world of Durgeon’s Keep — as fantasy and reality collide.


Key Text Features



About the author

Saskatchewan author VICTORIA KOOPS never stopped playing make-believe and often writes while wearing a tiara. Her books are full of epic adventure and swoony romance, and navigate social issues through the power of fandom and geek culture. Who We Are in Real Life is her debut novel. As a practicing counsellor, Victoria lives with her family in Treaty 4 Territory. Victoria loves to sing off-key, tease her sisters and pretend that she’ll choose a different romance the next time she plays Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Victoria Koops' profile page

Excerpt: Who We Are in Real Life (by (author) Victoria Koops)

Darcy pulls her messenger bag closer and fiddles with a keychain hooked to the strap loop.

I do a double take, then I check my pockets. My keys are there, just like always.

“Hey!” I point at her keychain. “Where did you get that?”

“From Fantasyland—”

“Fantasyland Comics! In the city, right?” …


I pull out my keys and push them across the table to her. My d20 keychain looks like a long-lost twin beside hers, except that hers is colorful, swirls of pastel blues, pinks, and purples, and mine is solid black. She picks up mine. “Did you know that d20s are called icosahedrons?”

Of course I knew that. “Did you know that a full Dungeons & Dragons dice set includes seven types of dice?”

And that’s how everything changes. Darcy looks up from our keychains. A small, bashful smile tugs at the corners of her mouth.

She plays with my keychain. “So, are you a gamer?”

Editorial Reviews

A charming story about standing up for what's right.

Kirkus Reviews

Tabletop gamers, especially fans of Dungeons & Dragons, will appreciate Who We Are in Real Life.

Winnipeg Free Press

A great contemporary depiction of young adults' lives in high school, with the extra bonus of having diverse characters and representation from the 2SLGBTQI+ community.

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

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