Saturday, January 1, 2022

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall


BOYFRIEND MATERIAL has been sitting on my Kindle for ages and I'm sorry to say that I've never gotten around to reading it until now. Sorry to say because it's actually really amazing. Luc is me. Or, at least, he's the me I'd be if I were the gay son of a rockstar. I loved his socially awkward grumpy snarky self, and I found myself really relating to him the way I haven't related to another character in a while. It also has FAKE DATING which is one of my favorite tropes in romance and here, it was done really well, with valid reasons.

Luc is the son of a man named Jon Fleming, who's kind of like Ian Anderson but more of a jerk. He works at a conservation charity for dung beetles and their donors are very conservative and don't take to, ahem, flamboyant stereotypes of gay men. Which, given what happens to Luc at a club after a bad pick-up attempt and a binge drinking sesh, kind of ends up being how he's portrayed in the tabloids. To gain back his clout-- and his donors-- he needs a fake boyfriend to reupholster his image, and that's exactly what Oliver-- buttoned-up barrister, vegetarian, ethical covert-ops gay-- represents for him.

There was so much I liked about this book. I liked the chemistry between the characters. I liked the banter and the witty observations. I liked Luc's friends and coworkers even though they were a little too quirky (two men named James Royce-Royce??? who are married?? WHAT). I liked the nod against bisexual erasure and I liked how so much of their relationship building was about boundaries, consent, and standing up for one another and accepting themselves, flaws and all. Really, the only thing I didn't like about this book was the third-act drama/break-up/misunderstanding. I HATE THAT.

BOYFRIEND MATERIAL was basically everything I was hoping for from RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE and did not get. It's an opposites attract/fake dating extravaganza filled with delightfully British humor and two men learning to accept themselves and find that missing piece in their lives. LOVE.

4 to 4.5 out of 5 stars

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