Out Of Play by Joy Norstrom

Release Date: 10.14.2016


Gillian Campbell is out of patience.

Her husband is choosing his hobby over her. And the hobby in question? Live Action Role-Play, or ‘larp’. Larp involves dressing up as a character (be it medieval knight, banshee or centaur) and participating in imaginary battles for entire weekends.

Gillian is not impressed. She seeks professional advice and is surprised when her therapist encourages her to try larp. “Who knows? It may make you smile. It may make you laugh. It may even improve your sex life. How terrible could it be?”

The advice seems super sketch to Gillian, but she decides to don a costume and give it a go. If larp doesn’t work a marital miracle, Gillian will be able to walk away knowing she tried absolutely everything before giving up.

Will going on her own role-play adventure heal Gillian’s marriage, or will the game shed light on everything that is wrong?


Loved this story so so much.

I was sold after I've read the blurb but this book surprised me for its depth.

Ralph and Gillian are not the first couple to have some communication troubles after many years of marriage but Gill way to try to understand her husband's hobby is extreme and really funny.
I've found the main characters very relatable,I was so caught up in the story that I've felt their every single emotion.

"Life could not be the same.But it wouldn't just pass by anymore either.I knew that now.I could choose a new direction and transform.I wouldn't be sitting on the sidelines.I'd grab life and shake,until whatever goodness it had in store for me poured out." 

The writing is flowing and it doesn't feel like a debut novel at all...I can tell Joy Norstrom has found a new fan.


If I was truly serious about following through on my therapist’s plan, I might as well start putting the idea into action. I went downstairs to the kitchen, making a detour to our home office for our laptop, and brewed myself some strong coffee.

It wasn’t hard to find the live-action club Ralph belonged to. Although the business card in our laundry room was no longer around, there were other ways. Neither of us kept passwords on our home email accounts so it was easy to peruse his account for the latest larp update, then search for the club name on the Internet. And, bam! There it was. I sipped my coffee and did what any curious person would do first.

I watched their YouTube video. It depicted a battle, and it was as I expected: boffer weapons, costumes, and the great outdoors. What I hadn’t expected: people chanting stuff like normal blow four, normal blow four and killing blow one, killing blow two, killing blow three as they enacted a mock fight. Hmmm. No one was laughing. No one was even grinning. I wondered how they could stay so serious.

Somewhat relieved not to have seen my husband in the video, I closed the YouTube window and went back to the club website. A list of upcoming gaming dates and links to costume suppliers – is this where Ralph had planned to advertise his boffer-business scheme? I meant to read up about the club, but the site contained several photos of people posing in costumes and I was easily distracted. I zoomed in on one.

Why was that man holding his hands six inches above someone else’s head? Was it some type of pretend curse? I gritted my teeth. This was…perhaps not going to work. No matter what Dr. Torres thought – my God, was that cleavage for real? – larp was not golf.

Okay, I’d tried. Against both my and Jas’s better judgement, I’d at least been open to the idea. I could tell Torres I had gone as far as checking out the larp website and watching some battle videos, but experiencing all this in person? No. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. Torres was welcome to check it out herself if she thought it was no big deal. I laughed, visualising my very proper therapist in armour, hollering kill blow one, kill blow two!

My mind made up, I was about to click the mouse on the red X in the top righthand corner of the screen, forever shutting down this idiotic idea, when my hand stilled. I spotted an announcement that had previously escaped my attention:

Don’t have a costume but enjoy cosplay?
Come out to camp as a NPC!
Join our monster camp and bring a new villain to life every day.
Use of our costumes and makeup included.
This is your chance to experience live-action excitement at an affordable price!

If that had been it, there was no doubt I’d have turned the website off instantly. But below was another announcement:

Enjoy a live-action weekend for free.
The comfort of heated bunks, flush toilets, and hot meals included.
What we need from you:
Assistance preparing meals with our friendly community of kitchen wenches.
Discounts available for those needing to rent costumes.

My hand froze over the mouse as a plan began to percolate.


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