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We Are Watching Eliza Bright

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Eliza Bright was living the dream as an elite video game coder at Fancy Dog Games when her private life suddenly became public. But is Eliza Bright a brilliant, self-taught coder bravely calling out the toxic masculinity and chauvinism that pervades her workplace and industry? Or, is Eliza Bright a woman who needs to be destroyed to protect "the sanctity of gaming culture" Eliza Bright was living the dream as an elite video game coder at Fancy Dog Games when her private life suddenly became public. But is Eliza Bright a brilliant, self-taught coder bravely calling out the toxic masculinity and chauvinism that pervades her workplace and industry? Or, is Eliza Bright a woman who needs to be destroyed to protect "the sanctity of gaming culture"? It depends on who you ask... When Eliza reports an incident of workplace harassment that is quickly dismissed, she's forced to take her frustrations to a journalist who blasts her story across the Internet. She's fired and doxed, and becomes a rallying figure for women across America. But she's also enraged the beast that is male gamers on 4Chan and Reddit, whose collective, unreliable voice narrates our story. Soon Eliza is in the cross-hairs of the gaming community, threatened and stalked as they monitor her every move online and across New York City. As the violent power of an angry male collective descends upon everyone in Eliza's life, it becomes increasingly difficult to know who to trust, even when she's eventually taken in and protected by an under-the-radar Collective known as the Sixsterhood. The violence moves from cyberspace to the real world, as a vicious male super-fan known only as The Ghost is determined to exact his revenge on behalf of men everywhere. We watch alongside the Sixsterhood and subreddit incels as this dramatic cat-and-mouse game plays out to reach its violent and inevitable conclusion. This is an extraordinary, unputdownable novel that explores the dark recesses of the Internet and male rage, and the fragile line between the online world and real life. It's a thrilling story of female resilience and survival, packed with a powerful feminist message.


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Eliza Bright was living the dream as an elite video game coder at Fancy Dog Games when her private life suddenly became public. But is Eliza Bright a brilliant, self-taught coder bravely calling out the toxic masculinity and chauvinism that pervades her workplace and industry? Or, is Eliza Bright a woman who needs to be destroyed to protect "the sanctity of gaming culture" Eliza Bright was living the dream as an elite video game coder at Fancy Dog Games when her private life suddenly became public. But is Eliza Bright a brilliant, self-taught coder bravely calling out the toxic masculinity and chauvinism that pervades her workplace and industry? Or, is Eliza Bright a woman who needs to be destroyed to protect "the sanctity of gaming culture"? It depends on who you ask... When Eliza reports an incident of workplace harassment that is quickly dismissed, she's forced to take her frustrations to a journalist who blasts her story across the Internet. She's fired and doxed, and becomes a rallying figure for women across America. But she's also enraged the beast that is male gamers on 4Chan and Reddit, whose collective, unreliable voice narrates our story. Soon Eliza is in the cross-hairs of the gaming community, threatened and stalked as they monitor her every move online and across New York City. As the violent power of an angry male collective descends upon everyone in Eliza's life, it becomes increasingly difficult to know who to trust, even when she's eventually taken in and protected by an under-the-radar Collective known as the Sixsterhood. The violence moves from cyberspace to the real world, as a vicious male super-fan known only as The Ghost is determined to exact his revenge on behalf of men everywhere. We watch alongside the Sixsterhood and subreddit incels as this dramatic cat-and-mouse game plays out to reach its violent and inevitable conclusion. This is an extraordinary, unputdownable novel that explores the dark recesses of the Internet and male rage, and the fragile line between the online world and real life. It's a thrilling story of female resilience and survival, packed with a powerful feminist message.

30 review for We Are Watching Eliza Bright

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    We Are Watching Eliza Bright is my favorite book I've read in 2021 so far! It has such an interesting and creative setup, and I really enjoyed reading it. I was confused at the beginning, but once you get into the rhythm of it, it's fascinating. This book stressed me out, and sometimes it hurt to read because it felt so real and personal. There's an unreliable narrator / hive mind, and it was a really intriguing choice for this story. It worked well, and I highly recommend checking this one out. We Are Watching Eliza Bright is my favorite book I've read in 2021 so far! It has such an interesting and creative setup, and I really enjoyed reading it. I was confused at the beginning, but once you get into the rhythm of it, it's fascinating. This book stressed me out, and sometimes it hurt to read because it felt so real and personal. There's an unreliable narrator / hive mind, and it was a really intriguing choice for this story. It worked well, and I highly recommend checking this one out. CW - misogyny, sexual harassment, doxxing, animal cruelty, racism, suicide, homophobia, transphobia

  2. 5 out of 5

    Stacy40pages

    We Are Watching Eliza Bright by A.E. Osworth. Thanks to @netgalley and @grandcentral for the e-Arc ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Eliza is excited to code as a new employee at a popular gaming company. When she experiences sexual harassment and complains, her personal file is released to the public and the harassment is immense. I was really into the story in the beginning. Around 50-60% in, it got more abstract and a little weird for me. Some of it got too techy. I think that true gamers and fans of the internet social We Are Watching Eliza Bright by A.E. Osworth. Thanks to @netgalley and @grandcentral for the e-Arc ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Eliza is excited to code as a new employee at a popular gaming company. When she experiences sexual harassment and complains, her personal file is released to the public and the harassment is immense. I was really into the story in the beginning. Around 50-60% in, it got more abstract and a little weird for me. Some of it got too techy. I think that true gamers and fans of the internet social world will enjoy this. There were a lot of conversations through text. Sites like Reddit and Tumblr take a major role in the story. For me it just warped a little too heavy on that side. I loved the main story. It was difficult reading what Eliza was going through but I know this was based on experiences that truly happen in the industry. “We live in a time where almost everyone has at least two bodies, and the second life is far more thrilling than the first.” We Are Watching You Eliza Bright comes out 4/13.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sana

    The key selling points be like 'important, timely commentary on the danger of the male gaze, the ways in which women are routinely harmed and subjugated, and the systems that help perpetuate this', inspired by #Gamergate, written by a trans (!) journalist who covered #Gamergate and 'the narrators of We Are Watching Eliza Bright are the unreliable collective voice of a subreddit of incels stalking Eliza and warm, comforting voice of the Sixsterhood collective' I'M HELLA SOLD The key selling points be like 'important, timely commentary on the danger of the male gaze, the ways in which women are routinely harmed and subjugated, and the systems that help perpetuate this', inspired by #Gamergate, written by a trans (!) journalist who covered #Gamergate and 'the narrators of We Are Watching Eliza Bright are the unreliable collective voice of a subreddit of incels stalking Eliza and warm, comforting voice of the Sixsterhood collective' I'M HELLA SOLD

  4. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth ✨

    “She is so much fun to consume. Her fear is a delicacy.” “But like - games. They’ve never just games. Just like they’re never just memes or just a joke. It’s all the culture, you know? Like all this, it’s the fabric of our lives. It’s all a reflection of everything we do, everything we believe. It’s how we communicate what we value to other people. It’s the way we socialize, the things we talk about. You know it’s not just games.” WE ARE WATCHING ELIZA BRIGHT is a taut, timely novel - a thriller “She is so much fun to consume. Her fear is a delicacy.” “But like - games. They’ve never just games. Just like they’re never just memes or just a joke. It’s all the culture, you know? Like all this, it’s the fabric of our lives. It’s all a reflection of everything we do, everything we believe. It’s how we communicate what we value to other people. It’s the way we socialize, the things we talk about. You know it’s not just games.” WE ARE WATCHING ELIZA BRIGHT is a taut, timely novel - a thriller and a mystery - about the extent of misogyny (and I mean that term in all of its woman-hating fullness) in gaming, online, and in our broader culture. It follows the titular main character as she experiences sexual harassment at work (a game development company) and backlash from coworkers and online gamers after reporting it. While the book is full of references to gaming and online culture, I found it accessible, though I’m not much of a gamer (I tend to throw the controller to my girlfriend any time rapid action is required) and I don’t spend much time on Reddit. And as the novel progresses, it becomes about so much more: community, friendships, alternatives to the police, intersectionality, the false division between the real world and the digital. It’s an incredibly well-written and constructed book; I haven’t read anything like it. Osworth narrates the story in the first-person plural, told from the perspective of a group of angry online gamer men, but it’s not a static voice. It shifts, feels things, fractures into multiple opinions, and drops out to highlight a subgroup of queer and gender diverse gamers. These sections were my favorite - Osworth has clearly hung out in some lefty queer communities, as their narration had me cackling with familiarity. They’re those so-intentional-and-righteous-it’s-almost-pretentious types, and it's both satirical and comforting. The male gamer narrating group is sometimes omniscient, given the availability of information on the internet and especially after the main character is doxxed and hacked, but sometimes they’re unsure, and the reader experiences a scene in triplicate, not knowing which one is real. Given the anger, violence, and horrific sexism this group embodies, reading from their perspective is intense; I would definitely consider the content warnings before reading. It’s an exceptional writing choice that increases the mystery, immerses the reader in the main character’s fear, and makes this novel a page-turner. While reading some reviews I learned that Osworth did a lot of reporting during the GamerGate events, and it shows. They manage to demonstrate deep understanding and almost empathy towards the group of angry misogynists, while also not forgiving or allowing for their perspectives and actions to be tolerated. I love how Osworth draws such in-depth characters, Eliza herself, the secondary characters, and the bad guys - a feat especially given the narration style. The reader sees the effects of the threats and harassment on Eliza, but also how it ripples out in different ways to affect her friends and colleagues and connections beyond. It’s an incredible book about what it takes for a woman to fight for her place online and at work, and the power of friendship and solidarity. Osworth dedicated this book to their community and it feels like a love letter to all of the queers, nerds, and people fighting for space. I highly recommend this unique novel, and please come talk to me when you read it! Thanks to Grand Central Publishing for the review copy. “While she’d been slowly losing her mind, her response hadn’t been to simply lie there, like we thought. Her response had been to do something. To, in the absence of any sort of savior, save herself.” Content warnings: suicidal thoughts, completed suicide, death threats, rape threats, revenge porn, sexism/misogyny, sexual harassment, physical assault

  5. 5 out of 5

    Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

    "'But like--games. They're never just games. Just like they're never just memes or just a joke. It's all the culture, you know? Like all this, it's the fabric of our lives. It's all a reflection of everything we do, everything we believe. It's how we communicate what we value to other people. It's the way we socialize, the things we talk about. You know it's not just games.'" We Are Watching Eliza Bright explores a tech industry scandal that begins when Eliza Bright is promoted to a small coding "'But like--games. They're never just games. Just like they're never just memes or just a joke. It's all the culture, you know? Like all this, it's the fabric of our lives. It's all a reflection of everything we do, everything we believe. It's how we communicate what we value to other people. It's the way we socialize, the things we talk about. You know it's not just games.'" We Are Watching Eliza Bright explores a tech industry scandal that begins when Eliza Bright is promoted to a small coding team at Fancy Dog Games. Her new colleagues are unimpressed, not only by her lack of formal credentials, but also the fact she is a woman. Eliza isn’t sure how to respond to their first incident of sabotage, it’s a juvenile effort easily rectified, but eventually decides to complain, only to be indulged with a performative response. Eliza’s annoyed, but one of her colleagues in particular is reassured by the lack of consequences, and after Eliza speaks to a journalist about his venomous rant, she is fired, doxxed, and suddenly the target of a maelstrom of misogyny online, and in real life. “He is emboldened now that he understands what we have always understood: there is protection in the brotherhood of gaming...” We Are Watching Eliza Bright is clearly inspired by #gamergate, as well as the #metoo movement, exploring the experience of sexism and harassment in a male dominated workspace that escalates into an online furore that then has terrifying real life consequences. It is both a frightening exposé of cultural misogyny and the increasing overlap between online and the real world, and a celebration of resilience, friendship and community. “It almost doesn’t matter what she says; it almost doesn’t matter what we think of her. What we want is to put our eyes on her, to possess her, to be involved. We want to know everything.” I have to admit the narrative perspective threw me and I never grew comfortable with it, even though I think is was a clever technique on the part of the author, emphasising the anonymous, voyeuristic way we consume similar real life scandals, while providing opposing viewpoints and insight. Much of the story unfolds from the perspective of the men in the novel, from the anonymous gamer mob who offer opinion, rumour and lies, fuelling outrage, to the seething toxicity of Lewis and the anonymous Inspectre, to the ‘good guys’ like Preston and Devonte, who don’t understand why their silence isn’t enough of an expression of their solidarity. Occasionally their voices are interrupted by a group known as the Sixsterhood, who protest the mob narrative and endeavour to defend Eliza. Transcripts of IM’s and texts highlight individual thought and opinion. “They’ll see he’s not a monster; his only crime is being smarter than everyone, needing the challenge. And as long as she confesses her sins, says she won’t try to ruin the world for his brothers again,.... He thinks perhaps he’ll confront her—give her the opportunity to compliment his prowess. He imagines she’ll admit her own inferiority.” The suspense lies largely in the escalating behaviour of an anonymous gamer determined to make sure Eliza, and all women, understand she is wrong - for speaking out, for invading his culture, for laughing at him. He has no doubt about the righteousness of his ‘mission’, and the outcome of such conviction is inevitable, but no less shocking for it. “This—this is a feeling deeper than love. It is an obsession. A second life.” With its unusual structure and provocative content, We Are Watching Eliza Bright isn’t an easy read, but it is a penetrating, thought-provoking and powerful exploration of modern culture.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    We Are Watching Eliza Bright is somehow systematic and slippery at once. It follows the titular character through a hard-fought promotion as a developer at primarily male-staffed Fancy Dog Games, where she is instantly met with demeaning misogynistic attacks from her coworkers and faced with the struggle of whether to speak up. Will anything change? Will it be worse after? Does she owe it to all the uncelebrated, hardworking women in games to call it out? Unfortunately for Eliza, she chose to fi We Are Watching Eliza Bright is somehow systematic and slippery at once. It follows the titular character through a hard-fought promotion as a developer at primarily male-staffed Fancy Dog Games, where she is instantly met with demeaning misogynistic attacks from her coworkers and faced with the struggle of whether to speak up. Will anything change? Will it be worse after? Does she owe it to all the uncelebrated, hardworking women in games to call it out? Unfortunately for Eliza, she chose to find out. Told from two opposing perspectives, Osworth cloaks the reader in anonymity so we too are watching Eliza Bright. We are not quite her, but not quite them either. We're first submerged in an obsessive, incel troll echo chamber that felt realistic enough to make reading difficult early in the text. We're subject to their pervasive assumptions and outright lies spreading like wildfire to fit their narrative and keep their world under (their) control. We get the small breath of relief of temporary shelter within a queer art commune, doting on Eliza with unquestioning love and community support. We eavesdrop on perspectives from both the antagonist(s) and protagonist(s). We are allowed to choose (though, if you truly see a choice, you've perhaps missed the message here). Osworth's writing was thoughtful and detailed. I was not surprised to read that they worked on this text for half a decade. The care showed. There was a surprising mix of tender and analytical. Humor and disgust. Cyberspace and meatspace. Ambiguity and clarity. Several of the secondary characters received enough detail and story arcs that they felt fulfilled instead of an untied thread. Most importantly, the story moved along and maintained its suspense while providing enough detail to created a virtual reality not completely unlike that which got Eliza into this situation in the first place. All in all, a very fun and thought-provoking read from a promising voice. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Megan Wilcox

    We are Watching Eliza Bright by A.E. Osworth is the story of a female video game coder trying to navigate her way in an extremely misogynistic culture dominated by male incels. The book is told in first person plural starting with the group of angry incels and then subsequently switching back and forth with The Sixsterhood, an artistic co-op that shelters in a secure warehouse. It's a violent game of cat-and-mouse that begins with Eliza being the victim of sexual harassment at the hands of her m We are Watching Eliza Bright by A.E. Osworth is the story of a female video game coder trying to navigate her way in an extremely misogynistic culture dominated by male incels. The book is told in first person plural starting with the group of angry incels and then subsequently switching back and forth with The Sixsterhood, an artistic co-op that shelters in a secure warehouse. It's a violent game of cat-and-mouse that begins with Eliza being the victim of sexual harassment at the hands of her male coworkers. The game quickly spirals into stalking and death and rape threats causing a doxxed Eliza to hide underground with The Sixsterhood. Osworth's narrative was inspired by GamerGate, which began in 2014 when several women in the video game industry were targeted by vitriolic trolls. I read in an interview with Refinery29 that Osworth was Geekery editor at Autostraddle during that time so they were there when the online gaming culture was laid siege by the hateful campaign. I was worried I wouldn't be able to get into this story due to my lack of gaming knowledge (which is comprised of occasionally taking out my 33-year-old Nintendo console to play Ghosts and Goblins with my 6-year-old 🙂). There was some gaming verbage but it didn't detract from the story. Once I got over my initial trepidation I was hooked. This story made me angry for all of the women trying to do something they love while having to wade through a shit pool of toxic masculinity; but it also made me hopeful for future female gamers because Osworth is giving those gamers a voice through their impactful storytelling. 🚨TW/CW: sexual harassment, death & rape threats, stalking, animal abuse, suicide, doxxing This 5-star read's pub date was yesterday and I highly recommend getting a copy! A.E. Osworth has landed on my list of auto-buy authors and I can't wait to see what they publish next! Thank you to Novel Suspects for a review copy.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ceci - csquaredreads

    I am not exaggerating when I say that reading this book made it hard for me to even look at a man after reading it. And when I say “a man” I mean “a man who, despite their intentions and actions, exists within and benefits from the patriarchy women are oppressed by.” This is a story about Eliza Bright, a female software engineer at a popular, interactive, gaming company who is sexually harassed by her male software engineer coworkers. She talks to her boss about it, and the males in question recei I am not exaggerating when I say that reading this book made it hard for me to even look at a man after reading it. And when I say “a man” I mean “a man who, despite their intentions and actions, exists within and benefits from the patriarchy women are oppressed by.” This is a story about Eliza Bright, a female software engineer at a popular, interactive, gaming company who is sexually harassed by her male software engineer coworkers. She talks to her boss about it, and the males in question receive a slap on the wrist. You know, tale as old as time. When her boss fails to take further action as harassment escalates, Eliza Bright takes her story to a journalist. It goes viral, she gets fired, as well as doxed, igniting harassment, threats, and violence from one of the worst corners of the internet - the men’s right activists, the incels, the white men who feel as they’ve been forgotten by society because they are white men (lol). Chaos ensues, and the story explores the effects of rampant male fragility, as well as the effects of male bystanders. It’s not just the men who actually harass Eliza that contribute to the problem. It’s the men who brush it off, who wonder why no one can take a joke, who stay silent, who do nothing, who enable the behavior. Neutrality only helps the oppressor, not the oppressed. I used to wonder why it was so triggering, rage inducing, for men, when even considering equal treatment for women. To even accept that women are oppressed for their gender. It’s so obvious to me now. Male existence, their place in society, is defined by their dominance, by their assumed superiority. Women achieving equality to men would eliminate male dominance, which threatens, what they perceive, as their very existence. If they are not dominant over women, then they are not truly men, and we live in a society where being labeled as “unmanly” is at best humiliating, at worst seen as a death sentence. I really enjoyed this read - it was suspenseful, unsettling, well paced, and was excellent at exploring the layers of misogyny in our world. It’s definitely an infuriating read as a woman, but it’s an important one.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Addie BookCrazyBlogger

    Eliza Bright is working for one of the hottest start-ups, Fancy Dog, producing one of the world’s most sought over video games. Being a woman in a male-dominated field, she has to work twice as hard and twice as long (as anyone whose a woman knows!) to get to the top where the men are waiting to gleefully push her back down. Fancy Dog Games has only one game but it’s in rivalry to World of Warcraft, called Guilds and is essentially WOW with superheroes and supervillains. When Eliza is promoted, Eliza Bright is working for one of the hottest start-ups, Fancy Dog, producing one of the world’s most sought over video games. Being a woman in a male-dominated field, she has to work twice as hard and twice as long (as anyone whose a woman knows!) to get to the top where the men are waiting to gleefully push her back down. Fancy Dog Games has only one game but it’s in rivalry to World of Warcraft, called Guilds and is essentially WOW with superheroes and supervillains. When Eliza is promoted, she works on a handful of coding to impress her boss and her colleagues Lewis/JP sabotage her code by making a sexist piece of code. When Eliza makes a formal complain, she enters the world of complete and utter male misogyny. What will follow is a male versus woman surrounding the gaming field-and someone will get hurt. I will never be able to understand the extraordinary lengths that human beings will go too in order to punish other humans for being who they are. This book is mostly told in second perspective which consists of incels who happen to game. Seriously, to all white men who whine and complain about how hard their lives are...who raised you? Talk about a victim complex. I wanted to simultaneously throw up, scratch these peoples eyes out and cry with Eliza-and I’m not even into games. This book draws you in brilliantly, pulling you into the story and making you feel the emotions that come with what is happening. This is a must read when it comes to understanding gamer culture and how a good deal of young white men are being radicalized through gaming. All of these white nationalists? They grew up on Call of Duty. They had sex with hookers on Grand Theft Auto. And they get no female companionship because they don’t understand how women work or how women could possibly match their superiority.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jakki Kenney

    This book was completely out of my comfort zone and I am so happy it was. It took me about 75 pages to get into the writing rhythm but once I did, I breezed through it. We follow Eliza Bright a game coder who is working in a ‘boys’ world, I use that word because she is dealing with boys not men who are threatened by a woman who could potentially be better at their job. She is rising quickly and two male co-workers in particular think a type of hazing/joking will go over well. Eliza are leading la This book was completely out of my comfort zone and I am so happy it was. It took me about 75 pages to get into the writing rhythm but once I did, I breezed through it. We follow Eliza Bright a game coder who is working in a ‘boys’ world, I use that word because she is dealing with boys not men who are threatened by a woman who could potentially be better at their job. She is rising quickly and two male co-workers in particular think a type of hazing/joking will go over well. Eliza are leading lady will not just be okay with a slap on the wrist for her colleagues and the harassment. Which leads to chaos for the Fancy Dog Games workplace. The newer gaming company is in the middle of launching a big release and the reports of harassment is the last thing they need. With accusations between Eliza and her boss, Eliza and her male coworkers, info getting leaked, it’s not looking good for Eliza. The book reads from another or others points of views and at times three different scenarios are given so you are always kept guessing. Who is watching Eliza Bright? Why are they watching her? Why do they not want her to succeed? I really enjoyed this read and the light/education that continues to be shed on these social issues we continue to see in the workplace and life. Also made me want to secure all my passwords and identity lol From the inside flap: This thrilling cat-and-mouse story explores the dark recesses of the internet and male rage, and the fragile line between the online world and real life. Thank you @hachettebooks for this ARC in return for an honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    Whether I buy a book or it was sent by the publisher, I pride myself on being honest in my reviews so here's the truth - after the first few chapters of 𝗪𝗘 𝗔𝗥𝗘 𝗪𝗔𝗧𝗖𝗛𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗘𝗟𝗜𝗭𝗔 𝗕𝗥𝗜𝗚𝗛𝗧, I was tempted to DNF. The POV is kind of an omniscient first-person plural "we" and it was hard to adjust to but the subject was so compelling that I couldn't put it down. I'm so glad I didn't give up. The narration not only grew on me but added to the tension and unease this book requires of a reader. The "we" chara Whether I buy a book or it was sent by the publisher, I pride myself on being honest in my reviews so here's the truth - after the first few chapters of 𝗪𝗘 𝗔𝗥𝗘 𝗪𝗔𝗧𝗖𝗛𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗘𝗟𝗜𝗭𝗔 𝗕𝗥𝗜𝗚𝗛𝗧, I was tempted to DNF. The POV is kind of an omniscient first-person plural "we" and it was hard to adjust to but the subject was so compelling that I couldn't put it down. I'm so glad I didn't give up. The narration not only grew on me but added to the tension and unease this book requires of a reader. The "we" character, for lack of a better word, is unreliable at best and pathological at worst as they share the story of Eliza Bright. We meet her after her promotion to developer at Fancy Dog Games where, her first week on the job, two men she works with insert 80085 into her code (think about it). When Eliza stands up for herself, she gets doxxed online, receives death threats on social media and becomes a target for one obsessed user who goes by "The Inspectre." The plot is reminiscent of 2014's Gamergate and the attacks on women, people of color, queer, nonbinary and trans people by online trolls, and while at times it gets heavy and unrelenting (as the attacks themselves must feel to those receiving them), there are moments of levity too. Don't be scared off by the video-game speak or the tech lingo because the themes are universal. A.E. Osworth's debut is a unique and thought-provoking depiction of how fragile straight white men can be and how much damage online harassment can do. 4.5 stars Thanks to Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for the gifted copy.

  12. 5 out of 5

    April Taylor

    Inspired by #gamergate, this novel takes readers far down the rabbit hole of hatred, misogyny, and white supremacy. And it does this through mostly the haters’ point of view, which is a good way of flipping the script. In a nutshell, Eliza Bright works for development company Fancy Dog (sounds an awful lot like Naughty Dog, eh?) and is upset by some immature ribbing from two of her male coworkers. When she speaks up, she’s told not to make it into a big deal. Then, when she goes to a journalist Inspired by #gamergate, this novel takes readers far down the rabbit hole of hatred, misogyny, and white supremacy. And it does this through mostly the haters’ point of view, which is a good way of flipping the script. In a nutshell, Eliza Bright works for development company Fancy Dog (sounds an awful lot like Naughty Dog, eh?) and is upset by some immature ribbing from two of her male coworkers. When she speaks up, she’s told not to make it into a big deal. Then, when she goes to a journalist with her story, everything quickly blows up. I won’t tell you what happens next, but this novel has a couple of truly shocking events. When the book isn’t told from the haters’ POV, it switches to the Sixsterhood. This is a group of queer people who live in an artist commune together. They’ve got a much more evolved POV. However, for some reason, they use a lot of run-on sentences and no punctuation. So, that was a bit troublesome to read. Overall, though, they were a group of people that anyone who likes having people around them would feel very supported by. I really appreciated what Eliza did before the book ended. This definitely raises many moral questions, but it answers them too. Here’s a hint: if you’re on the side of the haters, you’ve chosen the wrong side. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an ARC. This review contains my honest, unbiased opinion.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Eliza Bright is a female coder at Fancy Dog Games, the company behind the massive multiplayer online role-playing game, Guilds of the Protectorate. She reports sexism at the company. Ultimately, the story goes public, and she is doxed. This story is told from the perspective of the "we" who are watching. It's strange to get in to that head space. The voice is an uncertain one, raising possible versions of what happened, and many of those versions are sexist and racist. And so, we really are impli Eliza Bright is a female coder at Fancy Dog Games, the company behind the massive multiplayer online role-playing game, Guilds of the Protectorate. She reports sexism at the company. Ultimately, the story goes public, and she is doxed. This story is told from the perspective of the "we" who are watching. It's strange to get in to that head space. The voice is an uncertain one, raising possible versions of what happened, and many of those versions are sexist and racist. And so, we really are implicated. This book requires you to ask yourself what you believe and who you believe. As someone who has followed the misogyny in online video game development, I found this book fascinating. But it also felt horrifying and real. And I will be honest and say I thought carefully about what hashtags to use in this review and what audiences they might attract. Maybe that's a testament to the power of this book. I read the book in a single evening because I needed to know what happened next. While I felt the middle dragged a bit, I was incredibly impressed by the unique voice and storytelling. This is such an important topic to see covered. TW: sexual harassment, rape threats, suicide Thank you to @grandcentralpub and @NetGalley for this ARC.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    3.5 stars Ok, I'm going to write about We Are Watching Eliza Bright with perhaps an odd comparison. Thank you to Grand Central Publishing and Hachette Books for my gifted copy for review! Did you watch The Queen's Gambit on Netflix? If you're like me, I know nearly nothing about chess. And yet the story, the characterization, the whole feel of it, absolutely drew me in. The bonus featuring a strong, quirky female in a male-dominated field. I felt similarly about We Are Watching Eliza Bright. The ba 3.5 stars Ok, I'm going to write about We Are Watching Eliza Bright with perhaps an odd comparison. Thank you to Grand Central Publishing and Hachette Books for my gifted copy for review! Did you watch The Queen's Gambit on Netflix? If you're like me, I know nearly nothing about chess. And yet the story, the characterization, the whole feel of it, absolutely drew me in. The bonus featuring a strong, quirky female in a male-dominated field. I felt similarly about We Are Watching Eliza Bright. The backdrop is a video game-production company, Fancy Dog Games, and the production staff within it. I also know nearly nothing about gaming or coding, but the writing style and world created by debut author A.E. Osworth was irresistible. I may not really know what's being referenced but I enjoyed being in the atmosphere. Their writing is bold, modern and relevant, and themes of gender inequality and workplace toxicity holding nothing back. This is truly a unique read from an obviously very talented new voice in fiction (Osworth teaches at the New School in NYC) and I look forward to seeing what they put out next! If you're looking for something completely different, recommended! Released on April 13.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Isabella | ilashreads

    We Are Watching Eliza Bright is a trippy novel that promises to "explore the dark recesses of the Internet and male rage, and the fragile line between the online world and real life" CW: sexual harassments, online harassment, stalking, doxxing Reading this novel I found myself wondering what was happening. Which I suppose is the point of a mystery. Right off the bat we're introduced into opposing narratives that do they're best to let us know what's happening. It was unlike anything I've read befo We Are Watching Eliza Bright is a trippy novel that promises to "explore the dark recesses of the Internet and male rage, and the fragile line between the online world and real life" CW: sexual harassments, online harassment, stalking, doxxing Reading this novel I found myself wondering what was happening. Which I suppose is the point of a mystery. Right off the bat we're introduced into opposing narratives that do they're best to let us know what's happening. It was unlike anything I've read before. It focuses on what it's like for Eliza as a female in a male dominated industry. It shows how women in the workplace don't always have somewhere to express when they feel uncomfortable or like they're being sexually harassed. This was very techy and full of references to the gaming world. I enjoyed the plot as well as the characters. This was a thought-provoking read Thank you to NetGalley and Grand Centeral Publishing for providing me with an advance copy in exchange for an honest review

  16. 4 out of 5

    Staci Chynoweth

    This was a very creative and interesting story that tackles important issues regarding male rage and sexual harassment. I felt ENRAGED reading this book because of how accurate it portrays how toxic a lot of men are on the internet (and in real life). I also liked how this book commented on the whole “not all men” argument by having the “good guys” of the story stay silent when another man spews sexist garbage. There’s also a lot of real life connections that can be made from Eliza’s story becau This was a very creative and interesting story that tackles important issues regarding male rage and sexual harassment. I felt ENRAGED reading this book because of how accurate it portrays how toxic a lot of men are on the internet (and in real life). I also liked how this book commented on the whole “not all men” argument by having the “good guys” of the story stay silent when another man spews sexist garbage. There’s also a lot of real life connections that can be made from Eliza’s story because sadly a lot of women in male dominated fields (such as tech) have to deal with harassment. I’ve seen some reviews for this one saying they didn’t love it because of all the gamer speak, but personally I didn’t mind it. So if you’re like me and play no video games, I still think you can find things to enjoy about this story, especially if you’re someone who is active on social media, Reddit, or TikTok. This was a thought-provoking read and like nothing I’ve read before! Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for this review copy in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    This book was amazing yet brutal to read, because sometimes it felt all too relatable. I am a female engineer, and I understood more than I would like to Eliza’s feelings of ostracization and exclusion in her workplace because of her gender. AE Osworth did not hold back when depicting the viciousness of men on the internet feeling threatened by a woman. The strong female character of Eliza Bright was the heroine I didn’t know I needed, and it was inspirational to see her still fighting to do wha This book was amazing yet brutal to read, because sometimes it felt all too relatable. I am a female engineer, and I understood more than I would like to Eliza’s feelings of ostracization and exclusion in her workplace because of her gender. AE Osworth did not hold back when depicting the viciousness of men on the internet feeling threatened by a woman. The strong female character of Eliza Bright was the heroine I didn’t know I needed, and it was inspirational to see her still fighting to do what she loves despite the increasingly horrible ways she was treated by the men in this story. Even more inspirational was how her friends lifted her up, especially when Suzanne brought her to the Sixsterhood, a nontraditional living community. This was quite a timely novel, and I love how unafraid AE Osworth was to explore the darkness of humanity while also having appreciation for the beauty. I would rate this amazing read 4.5 stars. I really liked the unique writing style, but at times it could be a little hard to follow. Other than that, I truly loved this book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Shannon (The Book Club Mom)

    I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone when I agreed to read and review this book. I’ve never been much of a gamer or coder, so a lot of the lingo made me scratch my head. Sure, I could kick my brother’s butt at Mario Kart and Mortal Combat (Go, Sonya!) back in the day, but this virtual reality stuff goes WAY over my head. Ha! It was easy to look past all of that because of the extremely interesting storyline. Eliza is an elite video game coder, and calls out some toxic masculinity and chau I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone when I agreed to read and review this book. I’ve never been much of a gamer or coder, so a lot of the lingo made me scratch my head. Sure, I could kick my brother’s butt at Mario Kart and Mortal Combat (Go, Sonya!) back in the day, but this virtual reality stuff goes WAY over my head. Ha! It was easy to look past all of that because of the extremely interesting storyline. Eliza is an elite video game coder, and calls out some toxic masculinity and chauvinism in her workplace. The events that follow will make your jaw drop. I found the first half of this novel extremely fascinating. The second half took a weird turn, in my opinion. Things got extremely dark, morbid, and even a little gory. It made my stomach turn. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get past that, and was left with a sour taste in my mouth. The writing was a little dry and a tad confusing, too. Perhaps I just wasn’t the right reader for this book. Overall, this book did not work for me. 2.5/5 stars for We Are Watching Eliza Bright.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Summer E

    This book was very unique from any other book I’ve ever read. We are Watching Eliza Bright is very timely with it's subject matter. It shows the struggles women go through when working in a male dominant environment and how women can easily be put in a vulnerable position in the workplace when we speak out against sexual advances. We are Watching Eliza Bright did get a little too ‘techy’ for my limited knowledge. This book would be a hit with the “gamer’s” or techy people but for me, I did strug This book was very unique from any other book I’ve ever read. We are Watching Eliza Bright is very timely with it's subject matter. It shows the struggles women go through when working in a male dominant environment and how women can easily be put in a vulnerable position in the workplace when we speak out against sexual advances. We are Watching Eliza Bright did get a little too ‘techy’ for my limited knowledge. This book would be a hit with the “gamer’s” or techy people but for me, I did struggle some with these parts. But, I powered through and I was happy I did because I ended up loving the book. Overall this was a satisfying novel with a very memorable cast of characters and story. The writing, character development, and plot was excellent. I will definitely be reading the next book A.E. Osworth publishes.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ally Young

    A special thanks to @grandcentalpublishing for sending me a gifted copy! The message was powerful. I really enjoyed the friendships Eliza had and seeing them come together when everything goes bad. Love a book with women in gaming!! I also loved seeing how determined Eliza was throughout the story, she never gave up even though everything in her life was just crumbling down. Overall, I really enjoyed the topic A.E. Osworth is trying to tell the audience. I think the challenges women face in a ma A special thanks to @grandcentalpublishing for sending me a gifted copy! The message was powerful. I really enjoyed the friendships Eliza had and seeing them come together when everything goes bad. Love a book with women in gaming!! I also loved seeing how determined Eliza was throughout the story, she never gave up even though everything in her life was just crumbling down. Overall, I really enjoyed the topic A.E. Osworth is trying to tell the audience. I think the challenges women face in a male dominated field is real and it is something that we all need to work towards to make all work environments for everyone equal and comfortable. Star Rating: I am rating it 3 out of 5 stars because I liked the book, but I wasn’t obsessed. I would read more from Osworth in the future!

  21. 4 out of 5

    A.L. Major

    This book is absolutely brilliant. Brilliant. It is such an insightful examination of "white male nerdism" and how it can so quickly escalate into "radicalized white nationalism" if left unchecked. The unconventional narrators are fascinating—hard to read for all the right reasons. Frequently, as I read, I thought about how powerful stories are—how the collective white cis narrators in this story work so hard to uphold a narrative that consistently positions white cis men as the victims of a pro This book is absolutely brilliant. Brilliant. It is such an insightful examination of "white male nerdism" and how it can so quickly escalate into "radicalized white nationalism" if left unchecked. The unconventional narrators are fascinating—hard to read for all the right reasons. Frequently, as I read, I thought about how powerful stories are—how the collective white cis narrators in this story work so hard to uphold a narrative that consistently positions white cis men as the victims of a progressive society. It reminds me of how dangerous it can be when certain stories are told uninterrupted, uninterrogated. This book is so damn genius because of this. A dark satire. A propulsive read. Funny as hell. It makes my heart very very happy that a book like this exists in the world. 

  22. 5 out of 5

    oohlalabooks

    Wow this is a crazy cat and mouse mystery! Just when Eliza Bright’s life is on a high it soon comes crumbling down! Eliza is a game coder at Fancy Dog Games. She’s the first woman to ascend this high in ranks and it ruffles the feathers in a male dominated industry. Eliza’s career and life changes after she reports a workplace harassment; she’s fired! Terrible things begins to happen to Eliza’s avatar and it’s now overlapping into her real life. Her identity is revealed, people watching her, and Wow this is a crazy cat and mouse mystery! Just when Eliza Bright’s life is on a high it soon comes crumbling down! Eliza is a game coder at Fancy Dog Games. She’s the first woman to ascend this high in ranks and it ruffles the feathers in a male dominated industry. Eliza’s career and life changes after she reports a workplace harassment; she’s fired! Terrible things begins to happen to Eliza’s avatar and it’s now overlapping into her real life. Her identity is revealed, people watching her, and creating a hostile environment; it’s quite intense and at times maddening! A wonderful debut from author A.E. Osworth! Thank you so much to the publisher and author for a gifted copy!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    A gift from Netgalley. This title should come with a trigger warning that only gamers will understand most of it. In the first part the narrator promised a maelstrom, which in my opinion never happened and broke the cardinal rule of show not tell. Then there was some omnipotent viewpoint, which is something beginning writers shouldn’t tackle. Then we go onto “choose your own adventure” except you had to read completely through all the choices. Gamers may like this book, but I’m not a gamer and i A gift from Netgalley. This title should come with a trigger warning that only gamers will understand most of it. In the first part the narrator promised a maelstrom, which in my opinion never happened and broke the cardinal rule of show not tell. Then there was some omnipotent viewpoint, which is something beginning writers shouldn’t tackle. Then we go onto “choose your own adventure” except you had to read completely through all the choices. Gamers may like this book, but I’m not a gamer and it was a bad choice for me.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Laguna

    To be honest, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this one. "'But like--games. They're never just games. Just like they're never just memes or just a joke. It's all the culture, you know? Like all this, it's the fabric of our lives. It's all a reflection of everything we do, everything we believe. It's how we communicate what we value to other people. It's the way we socialize, the things we talk about. You know it's not just games.'" There were a lot of good things in here--about sexism and r To be honest, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this one. "'But like--games. They're never just games. Just like they're never just memes or just a joke. It's all the culture, you know? Like all this, it's the fabric of our lives. It's all a reflection of everything we do, everything we believe. It's how we communicate what we value to other people. It's the way we socialize, the things we talk about. You know it's not just games.'" There were a lot of good things in here--about sexism and racism and stereotypes and how dangerous some mindsets can be. But this was also too long and there were times when the narration was confusing. Overall, this is worth reading if you have the time, but if you miss it I wouldn't worry about it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ellie Coggins

    CW: sexual assault, harassment, rape, misogyny, stalking, animal cruelty, suicide In their debut novel, Osworth has crafted such a sharp, gritty, and suspenseful thriller that flows nearly seamlessly between Eliza's real life nightmare, after she reports the workplace sexual harassment she faces at Fancy Dog Games, and the virtual world full of the men who view her as a threat to the game they love. It is dark, mysterious, and disturbing in many ways. What I loved most was the unreliability of th CW: sexual assault, harassment, rape, misogyny, stalking, animal cruelty, suicide In their debut novel, Osworth has crafted such a sharp, gritty, and suspenseful thriller that flows nearly seamlessly between Eliza's real life nightmare, after she reports the workplace sexual harassment she faces at Fancy Dog Games, and the virtual world full of the men who view her as a threat to the game they love. It is dark, mysterious, and disturbing in many ways. What I loved most was the unreliability of the narration -- told from the POV of the online community of men constantly watching Eliza and waiting to strike. As a woman, it was absolutely terrifying. But as a reader, it was a hell of an experience, allowing me to zoom in on Eliza's moves. The story was full of twist and turns I didn't expect. It was also a sharp commentary on misogyny in the workforce, reminiscent of the real-life events of Gamergate several years back. I was both engrossed with the story and Eliza, but also shocked to think about how what she faces not be far from reality. I totally recommend this one if you like thrillers, suspense, social commentary, urban settings, or gaming, particularly MMORPGs.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kim Narby

    I just finished this book and already know I’m going to be thinking about it for a long time. I was captured by the narrative from the beginning. It is one of the most unique books I’ve ever read and I truly don’t believe enough people are talking about it. I could not put it down. I loved living in Eliza’s world - as fucked up and crazy as it was. I want every story I’m ever told in the future to be told from this ‘we’.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    DNF for me, unfortunately. I really tried to get into this one, and while the premise was really intriguing, there was something off about the execution of the story. It was so dry and technical, I just wasn't able to get into it. I wasn't able to connect with the story or the characters, and nothing about it was holding my interest. I ended up giving up on it because I was starting to get annoyed that I wasn't enjoying it. DNF for me, unfortunately. I really tried to get into this one, and while the premise was really intriguing, there was something off about the execution of the story. It was so dry and technical, I just wasn't able to get into it. I wasn't able to connect with the story or the characters, and nothing about it was holding my interest. I ended up giving up on it because I was starting to get annoyed that I wasn't enjoying it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I received a free copy of this book from a Goodreads giveaway, which I was very happy about because I'd wanted to read this already after seeing it on a "most anticipated books of 2021" list and I really enjoyed it! Honestly it was difficult to get through at some points, but as a person who is not involved with gamergate or gaming culture but likes hearing about it/reading about that kind of stuff and finds it interesting, this was something I was very much into. I received a free copy of this book from a Goodreads giveaway, which I was very happy about because I'd wanted to read this already after seeing it on a "most anticipated books of 2021" list and I really enjoyed it! Honestly it was difficult to get through at some points, but as a person who is not involved with gamergate or gaming culture but likes hearing about it/reading about that kind of stuff and finds it interesting, this was something I was very much into.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Colline Vinay Kook-Chun

    Excellent writing with brilliant metaphors. The narrator is the all-seeing male WE of the internet - except when narrating from the viewpoint of the sisterhood. Osworth has a unique writing style which may not be enjoyed by all readers - but is one that I found refreshing.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lis

    Thanks to Grand Central Publishing + Netgalley for the e-ARC of "We Are Watching Eliza Bright" by AE Osworth. This is a book that is certainly going to stick with me. I had read A. E. Osworth's article on Mashable a while back (Trolls thought I was a man. That saved me.). I knew I would want to read their book when it was published. "We are Watching Eliza Bright" centers around Eliza Bright, a video game developer who calls out harassment in her workplace. Truly, this is an emotionally difficult Thanks to Grand Central Publishing + Netgalley for the e-ARC of "We Are Watching Eliza Bright" by AE Osworth. This is a book that is certainly going to stick with me. I had read A. E. Osworth's article on Mashable a while back (Trolls thought I was a man. That saved me.). I knew I would want to read their book when it was published. "We are Watching Eliza Bright" centers around Eliza Bright, a video game developer who calls out harassment in her workplace. Truly, this is an emotionally difficult book, full of unreliable narrators, horrid abuse and harassment, and all sorts of uncertainty.

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