Friday, September 24, 2021

Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade (Review/Rant)

Image: Two drawn figures lean in for a kiss. The man is blond, tall, and lean wearing a black and gold coat with black pants and gloves. The woman is shorter and fat with red hair in a white dress. They both have closed eyes. His one arm is around her waist and her one arm is around his neck with a hand on his chest. The background is teal with white line drawings of trees, buildings, and what looks to be the Golden Gate Bridge.
Marcus is an actor who secretly writes fanfiction about his own show. April is a fat geologist who writes fanfiction (unknowingly) with Marcus and does cosplay. When April's plus-size interpretation of a character goes viral in a mixed way on Twitter, Marcus asks her out to stick it to the trolls... realizing only during the date that she's the beta reader and friend he's had online for two years. But, if anyone finds out he writes fanfiction, he will never work in Hollywood again. 

I really wanted to like this book. It seemed a little like a fat girl fairytale with a bunch of geeky stuff thrown in. Meeting up with your server pals at a convention? Yes, please! Size acceptance in a romance? Always welcome. However...

April's body is basically described as a bunch of circles and softness. On repeat, really. We never know her dress size, just how spherical she is with red-blond hair and brown eyes. Oh, and freckles!

She has body image issues, which I understand, but she has them to such a degree she should not be dating. Marcus invites April to the gym with him because he has to maintain his figure, and she sees it as him trying to change her; she does not ask him if this is what he is trying to do... she just ends their outing coldly. Afterward, he proposes a date she does agree to:  Taste-testing donuts! Nope, not kidding. April sabotages things due to her size more than once, and Marcus is always floundering to please her.

Marcus pretends to be vapid and shallow as a shield because his parents made him feel unintelligent due to his undiagnosed dyslexia. They were teachers at a prep school, but never figured out their kid had dyslexia and how best to help him... they just made him feel lesser. I don't buy that they never considered it or tested him. 

A lot of Marcus' and April's issues stem from their parents. April's father was all about appearances to the point where the mom had to maintain a specific weight and therefore put her anxiety on her daughter. Marcus feels like he has nothing to offer but a pretty face because his parents made him feel like he had nothing else. There are difficult and angsty conversations with both of their families. I know families can be a difficult thing to navigate, but the way everything goes down makes it seem like April and Marcus are in their early 20s trying to figure out their identities (she is 36 and he's 40).  

Secondary characters are mostly bland with only a couple being fleshed out at all. Marcus' best friend is another actor who has ADHD, also looks like a god, is very rich, and loves extraordinarily fat ladies... what are the odds? But, at least Alex has more to him than most of the other side characters. I keep thinking most of these people are teenagers and not professionals who are adults.

The incident/secret that temporarily splits up the couple is ridiculous.

Sex scenes are graphic but also boring. There are only so many different ways a vanilla couple can get it on. There is plenty of swearing and dirty words for genitalia, though!

I did read it all the way, so the story must have been proficient in some form. But, ultimately, I do not recommend this book. What could have been fun and interesting became bland histrionics.

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