Characters have always been an important element for me to enjoy in a contemporary romance. Once I click with a character and empathize with their journey, including romantic built-up, the probability for me to love the story will be high.
In Beta Test, I fell hard with Tristan. Maybe because he is an introvert like me, maybe because I knew exactly what Tristan feels when he needs a time alone, or when he feels like he hit a quota of social interaction. I can't help feeling like Tristan and I share a soul spirit or something. So I definitely empathize with him and I cheered hard for Tristan when he fights for his happiness.
Ravi and Tristan are as different as the sun and the moon, but then when they are forced to spend time together -- ROAD TRIP, BABY! -- they realize that they are actually good together.
Ravi is the extrovert one, the impulsive one. Ravi loves to socialize, involves with various charity works. At the same time, Ravi is the one most likely to avoid any situation that feels uncomfortable for him -- case in point, avoiding his sister's wedding because he doesn't want to deal with his mother and grandmother.
Meanwhile Tristan is the introvert one, the planner one. He plans everything to the T -- with color-coded spreadsheets -- to make sure that everything goes well. But at the same time, for me, Tristan shows more of a rebellious streak compared to Ravi, including finding a job in a game developer company which is not what his parents have planned. Oh, and despite Tristan not exactly showing his 'gayness', but he doesn't exactly keep it a secret from his disapproving parents.
So Beta Test is a case of opposites attract done right. Ravi and Tristan's romance is developed slowly but effectively. You can feel the chemistry, how Ravi and Tristan compliment one another when they are together. Yes, there were conflicts but you know that in the end, Ravi and Tristan definitely learn from each other, from their differences, from their arguments, from their lovemaking, and realize their happy ending is worth fighting for ...
The only thing that stops me from giving higher rating is because in the beginning, the story felt a little bit off. It took me a while to get hooked. Maybe because I am not a gamer? Also some of the game talks went over my head, totally didn't understand any of the references *lol*. However, in overall, this one is another winner from the pen of Annabeth Albert.
The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.