Review: Twelfth Knight by Alexene Farol Follmuth

Posted June 3, 2024 by Lillian in Reviews / 0 Comments

I received this book via the publisher Tor Teen. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.

Review: Twelfth Knight by Alexene Farol FollmuthTwelfth Knight by Alexene Farol Follmuth
Published by Tor Teen on 2024-05-28
Length: 318 pages
Reviewing ARC from the publisher Tor Teen
Reading Challenges: 2024 COYER Unwind

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Atlas Six (under the penname Olivie Blake) comes Twelfth Knight, a 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 her school's star 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 realize 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…

This was such a fun read! Twelfth Knight by Alexene Farol Follmuth is a YA contemporary Shakespearean retelling about two teens with more in common than they think. Viola Reyes is a girl against the world. Opinionated and unafraid to voice it, Vi lets few people close to her and trusts even fewer. Jack Orsino, the bane of Vi’s existence, is the star running back and student body president to Vi’s vice presidency. The two butt heads at every opportunity. Then a football injury changes the course of Jack’s senior year, and suddenly he sees Vi like he never has before. Told in dual point of view, Twelfth Knight is about discovering how to be yourself and finding your place in the world.

Vi is not an easy character to like. She can be harsh to those around her, especially those that disagree. Honestly, if not for having her POV, I would have completely disliked her. However, her POV gives insight into her actions, and I was able to empathize with her. This is a girl who likes (and is good at) things that are geared towards boys, specifically an online game called Twelfth Knight which would be similar to World of Warcraft or Dungeons and Dragons. Because of some off-page online bullying that happened before this story began, Vi has created an online persona that is male. As Cesario, she dominates the game. It is a safe space for her until she gets a message from a gamer called Duke Orsino….

Jack is adorable. Like he is the all-around good guy that everyone likes and no one can get mad at. He’s a people pleaser, but something about Vi really pushes his buttons. After a bad tackle lands him on the sidelines for the season, Jack has to find something to occupy his time while he recovers. His best friend introduces him to the world of online gaming, and Duke Orsino is born.

I loved the interactions between Duke and Cesario and Vi and Jack. The two find common ground in the inside the game. Vi can be herself without judgment being passed on her. Jack is having fun and learning that there is more to life than football. BUT Jack doesn’t know Vi is Cesario. He opens up to Cesario about things he’s never admitted to anyone else. And Vi is feeling all kinds of guilty as she gets to know (and is falling for) Jack in real life. The romance is sweet and built on a fledgling friendship, my favorite kind.

Overall, Twelfth Knight is a sweet story about finding friendship and acceptance in a world that isn’t always kind. Jack and Vi start as antagonists, but it’s easy to see how much they have in common if they would just put their guard down. I loved the Shakespearean references. It made the book that much better. While my review focused on Jack and Vi, the side characters are amazing. I love Bash, Vi’s twin brother, and Olivia, Jack’s sort of girlfriend. They add so much to the story and Jack and Vi’s characters. I highly recommend this one to fans of YA contemporary romance.

About Alexene Farol Follmuth

Author Alexene Farol Follmuth

Alexene Farol Follmuth is a first-generation American, a romance enthusiast, and a lover and writer of stories. Alexene has penned a number of adult SFF projects under the name Olivie Blake, including the webtoon Clara and the Devil and the BookTok-viral The Atlas Six. My Mechanical Romance is her YA debut, coming Summer 2022 from Holiday House. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, new baby, and rescue pit bull. Find more about Alexene at @afarolfollmuth or

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