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by Alexis Hall
Category: Gay Romance, Contemporary Romance
Tags: MM Romance, Opposites Attract, Fake Relationship
This book had me at Brittish MM romance book but it had so much more.
Boyfriend Material had two of my favorite romance book tropes wrapped into one book. It was an opposites attract love story set off with a fake relationship. That was hook enough to have me want to read my first Alexis Hall book. Overall, it delivered with a few hiccups, but it’s worth a read for fans of these romance tropes.
Let me be honest and say that Luc O’Donnell is a bit of a train wreck. He’s been burned (pretty badly) in the past and has had to live in the quasi-famous limelight cast by his famous rock star parents. Since his father is trying to re-invent himself and make a comeback, Luc’s every move is all the more scrutinized (and falsely embellished) in the tabloids. One compromising photo too many however puts his job at a non-profit in jeopardy when donors start backing out of a high-profile event. His one chance at redemption turns out to be a fake relationship with a respectable boyfriend to clean up his image. That “job” falls to Oliver Blackwood, a barrister, who is the opposite of Luc in every way.
Overall, I liked this book but at times the things that I enjoyed went a bit too far making me cringe. For example, I loved the tone and writing style of this author. The witty banter was spot on and there were several clever one-liners, jokes and little tidbits dropped along the way that I enjoyed (like the Marie Kondo reference to spark joy and the clever take on dick pics). Other times however the prose was just too wordy and I found myself skimming.
Luc’s friends were a great group who stood behind him 100% despite his curmudgeon ways. But even their antics were a bit much and over the top when it wasn’t necessary every time they were mentioned. Alex, Luc’s coworker, was a hoot and yet several of his scenes would go on and on long after I was over his nonsense.
There is also a fine line between self-deprecation and depressing and Luc crossed that line a few times for me. I understood that he unfairly had to deal with the ugly side of fame while not personally being famous at all and that really wrecked his self-esteem. But his paranoid, untrusting and unhappy ways often left me just depressed for the guy and questioning what Oliver saw in him to want to deal with that. Yet he had his moments when honesty finally came through, especially when he shared about his ex-boyfriend so you could understand his inability to trust and be vulnerable with another person.
Oliver was my favorite. He was such a nice guy. He was so empathetic and understanding with Luc and yet he didn’t let Luc walk all over his feelings. His stuffy vocabulary made me smile and I loved the way he stood up for Luc when others were not so kind. Toward the end we learn more about him and his motivations which made my heart hurt for him. It was nice to see the role reversal when Luc stood up for him.
As a newbie to Hall’s stories I enjoyed this book. Was it the best of the year, no, but fans of Brittish rom-coms and fake relationship romances will find it a good read.
*Thank you to NetGalley for the advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
What’s your favorite Brittish rom com? Share in the comments!
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