Review: Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

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Title: Boyfriend Material
Author: Alexis Hall
Genre/Themes: contemporary, m/m romcom, fake relatioship
Release Date: 7 July 2020

Author's links: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

My rating: 5 Stars

Blurb

Wanted:
One (fake) boyfriend
Practically perfect in every way

Luc O'Donnell is tangentially--and reluctantly--famous. His rock star parents split when he was young, and the father he's never met spent the next twenty years cruising in and out of rehab. Now that his dad's making a comeback, Luc's back in the public eye, and one compromising photo is enough to ruin everything.

To clean up his image, Luc has to find a nice, normal relationship...and Oliver Blackwood is as nice and normal as they come. He's a barrister, an ethical vegetarian, and he's never inspired a moment of scandal in his life. In other words: perfect boyfriend material. Unfortunately apart from being gay, single, and really, really in need of a date for a big event, Luc and Oliver have nothing in common. So they strike a deal to be publicity-friendly (fake) boyfriends until the dust has settled. Then they can go their separate ways and pretend it never happened.

But the thing about fake-dating is that it can feel a lot like real-dating. And that's when you get used to someone. Start falling for them. Don't ever want to let them.

Review 


I am a long time fan of Alexis Hall and this has been one of my most anticipated romance releases of year and it lived up to my expectations and well beyond them. I loved everything about that story, the main and side characters, the romance, the growing up both Luc and Oliver go through, the humour that made me laugh out loud more than once. It's a truly hilarious story,  I can't remember when was the last time a book made me laugh so much! There are so many memorable lines in it - the dick pics jokes, Alex and Miffy (short for Clara), the CRAPP foundation, and more.

It’s a light-hearted romcom with unexpected depths of feelings. It’s mostly drama-free though some serious life issues show their heads. It’s an opposites attract fake romance that gets real pretty fast. The story is told from Luc’s POV and we get to see a messy young man find his way towards a more fulfilling life. Oliver is all prim and proper (on the surface), with a good career, seemingly in complete control of his life.  As the story progresses we see that he has his own issues, just like the rest of us. It does take him a while to accept that and the allow himself to be loved for who he is and get the help and support he needs. 

I liked the very Britishmess of the setting and characters, it shone through in every scene and it made me very happy. What I like the most about Alexis Hall’s stories in general is how real and relatable his characters feel to me. Yes, there are over-the-top moments and situations, all the more here since it’s a romcom, but at the same time it all feels real - the relationships, their fears and dreams and coping mechanisms and the things that bring them joy and frustration. We see a multitude of characters here, both straight and queer, upper and middle class, successful and struggling. All of them stand on their own, have their quirks and weaknesses and make mistakes and grand gestures. 

It's a low-heat romance with more focus on the getting the characters to talk honestly to each other than of their sexual relationship. The heart-to-hearts of Luc and Oliver were most tender ones, so much truth and feelings in simple, everyday words and actions. 

We get to meet found and bio families in all their glory and heart-break, they both can be amazing and fun and supporting but also destructive and abusive and we see it here. 

My only minor complaint is that the ending felt rushed, or I simply wanted more time with Luc and Oliver dealing with their personal issues together as a couple that loves and supports each other. 


CW: homophobia, cancer scare, gaslighting, emotional manipulation

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