Review: Paris Daillencourt is About to Crumble by Alexis Hall


Title: Paris Daillencourt is about to Crumble 
(Winner Bakes all #2)
Author: Alexis Hall
Genre/Themes: queer romance, reality TV baking competition
Release Date: 1 Nov 2022

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

My rating: 5 Stars


Paris Daillencourt is a recipe for disaster. Despite his passion for baking, his cat, and his classics degree, constant self-doubt and second-guessing have left him a curdled, directionless mess. So when his roommate enters him in Bake Expectations, the nation’s favourite baking show, Paris is sure he’ll be the first one sent home.

But not only does he win week one’s challenge—he meets fellow contestant Tariq Hassan. Sure, he’s the competition, but he’s also cute and kind, with more confidence than Paris could ever hope to have. Still, neither his growing romance with Tariq nor his own impressive bakes can keep Paris’s fear of failure from spoiling his happiness. And when the show’s vicious fanbase confirms his worst anxieties, Paris’s confidence is torn apart quicker than tear-and-share bread.

But if Paris can find the strength to face his past, his future, and the chorus of hecklers that live in his brain, he’ll realize it’s the sweet things in life that he really deserves.


This is a brilliant NA queer romance and two young men coming into their own and learning to love each other in the process.

This book is very much on the vein of Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake - contemporary queer romance, a bit darker even, with serious focus on character growth.

The story is told from Paris who has undiagnosed and untreated anxiety for most of the book. It doesn't make for a light reading, there are some very dark moments. I found many of Paris' experiences relatable in some aspect that made me pause and put the book aside. At the same time I desperately wanted Paris to get better, to be happy and loved, so I rushed back to the book to see how this will happen because I trusted fully the author that Paris will get there in the end. 

The parental neglect which is furthest from my experience hit me the hardest. Paris texting his parents made me cry and I am never forgiving anyone for treating their child like that and I am super happy Paris didn't either.

Both Paris and Tariq are in their 20s and act like it - with all the dreams and confusion and mistakes of youth. I appreciate the focus on kindness and the realistic presentation of mental illness throughout the story.

I loved Paris while also realising how exhausting he could be. I could see how he wanted to be a decent human being but his fears and anxiety made annoying and self-centered, hurting the people that cared about him. I think he was (mis)guided by his belief that he is unlovable, he is too much and there is nothing that can be done about it. It was honestly painful to read.

But then there was Tariq who was all light and brightness and glitter and carried the promise of fun, the possibility of love.

As the story goes on we see that things are not quite perfect in Tariq's life either. There are/were issues in his family but there is also honesty and communication and working together through the hard stuff. Something that was completely missing from Paris' life.

I liked how Alexis Hall explored the issues of power and privilege - Paris is a white, rich, cis queer man yet when we first meet him he is absolutely vulnerable, devastatingly lonely and unable to maintain healthy relationships (lovers, friends, competitors on the reality baking show).

Tariq, on the other hand, is like a ray of sunshine - easy going and friendly and loving Paris. He is a gay Muslim Indian, middle class, really quite underprivileged and vulnerable in the eyes of society but atthe some time he is moving through life with self-confidence and poise.

They try a relationship but it couldn't really happen until Paris got the medical help he needed. Tariq also had a lot to learn about himself and what being in a relationship meant. It was a process of growth for both of them and loved seeing it. .

As usual, loved the author's sense of humour that lightened an otherwise heavy story. And as usual it all made me emotional and made me cry. And as usual the supporting characters were great, Tariq's family (no shying away from the problems there as well), Paris' roommate and basically only friend, the baking show - colourful backdrop to Paris and Tariq's journey towards their true selves and the couple they get to be in the end.

This review has become more personal than my usual reviews but very often Alexis Hall's books speak to me on a deep personal level and make me emotional which in turns makes my reviews of his books emotional messes of incoherent praise and sharing personal experiences.

As I have often said about his stories - they are not easy, glossed over romances, rather they show some harsh truths but are ultimately hopeful and that is what I like best about them - the promise of happiness, the potential for everyone to love and be loved.

CW: anxiety (undiagnosed and untreated for most of the book), panic attack, homophobia, islamophobia, going viral on SM, cyberbullying 

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