Bywater Books is pleased to announce that Zero Sum Game by Stefani Deoul has been awarded the 2018 Delaware Press Association Young Adult Fiction Book of the Year.


Zero Sum Game by Stefani Deoul

Zero Sum Game finds our high-flying lesbionic brainiac Sid Rubin and her unlikely posse of friends, grounded, with wings clipped from their live-action-role-playing misadventures in On a LARP.

To break out of parental jail, Sid, Jimmy, Imani, Ari, and Vikram enter a school robotics competition. But just as things get interesting, Vik learns that his super-star status and hard-won trophies from the frantic online game Contagion have been stolen.

Faut pas toucher mes amis. You do not mess with my friends.”

Watching Vik fall apart, Sid is determined to track down the trophy thief, no matter how much late-night gaming and sleuthing it takes. Sid and the gang join newcomer Ze to chase ghosts and trawl dungeons in a frenzied race against time to save not just Vik’s bevy of stolen gaming goods, but also the life of a teenage gamer held hostage.

From the DPA Judges:

Zero Sum Game is brilliant. The narrator’s language and characters’ dialogue completely capture youthfulness and the teen thought process. Descriptions are creative, concise, and natural. Diversity is so normal in Zero Sum Game that it feels like “other” no longer exists. It offers a safe world for younger readers to explore questions and emotions they may not feel comfortable bringing elsewhere. The time and thought put into developing Zero Sum Game are obvious.


“Sidonie Rubin returns in Stefani Deoul’s second YA novel. Readers who fell in love with Sid in her first outing (On a LARP), will cement that relationship in Zero Sum Game. Sid is back with her unique cadre of friends for yet another technological thrill ride. Deoul never talks down to her audience, especially when in the techno-realm of things—but it is the heart and soul of her characters that will truly capture readers. Populated with much diversity, this series is perfect for our newest generation of “woke” teens.” —KRISTOPHER ZGORSKI, BOLO.com

“The characters are charming, the plot convincing and the crime all too easy to believe. The inter-relationships between the gang, school colleagues and family members add depth and grounds the personalities into reality. And most of all we can feel the love shine through from author to page and from Sid and her friends, bathing us all in the light.” —VELVET LOUNGER, The Lesbian Reading Room

“I feel for Sid, I weep for Sid, I adore Sid and her wit, her forays in love and her ability to try and turn everything around for everyone. It’s an amazing story and one I recommend to so many people. Young or old, Deoul’s writing is spot on and for everyone to enjoy! Highly recommended!” —JOEY PAUL, JoeyPaulOnline

“This is a high speed, clever book that is a whole lot of fun to read, so if you enjoy a healthy dose of sarcasm mixed with a touching side of feels, then this book is for you.” —MICHELLE BLAKEY, The Lesbian Review


The annual Delaware Press Association Communications Contest is open to all professional communicators in Delaware and encourages and rewards excellence in communication. The contest is judged by out-of-state communications professionals to ensure impartiality and provides an opportunity to compete in various print or electronic broadcasting fields.

Zero Sum Game will go on to compete for national honors in the National Federation of Press Women Communications Contest.

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