Review: Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

boyfriendmaterialWherein Kristen gets approved for a NetGalley and squees about it for like an hour.

Thanks to the author as well as Sourcebooks Casablanca via NetGalley for the review copy.

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 go.

“Will you come for a drink with me after work?” he said. It wasn’t exactly a blurt, but it had definite blurty qualities. “That is, I think we should be seen together more often. For the sake of the project.”

“The project? This isn’t an episode of Doctor Who. But if you’re that keen to observe the integrity of Operation Cantaloupe, we’ve had an invitation to an expensive private members’ club from the biggest nitwit in the Home Counties.”

This was one of the best books I’ve read this year so far. Totally adorable, sweet when it needed to be, heart wrenching at times, and often absolutely hilarious.

This is the story of Luc O’Donnell, who is the son of a famous rock star from the 80s who spent much of the time between the 80s and the present in and out of rehab. Luc’s never met his father, but now that his dad is making an epic comeback on reality television, Luc is getting more and more press, and his public image is starting to go down the toilet. If he doesn’t find a nice, respectable boyfriend to bring to a work event to prove that he’s not the disaster that the press paints him as, he’s going to lose his job.

Cue Oliver Blackwood. He’s handsome, single, a lawyer, a vegetarian, and is also in need of a plus one to an important event. So, they make a deal. They’ll be fake boyfriends until each event is over, and then they can go their separate ways.

These guys are adorable idiots and I would fight a feral tiger for them. We get this story from Luc’s point of view, and so we get to know him a bit better than Oliver. Luc is a bit of a dick (okay, more than a bit) but he’s been through some rough stuff over the last few years, and being dickish seems to be a shield he uses. Because it’s told in the first person, we see Luc during a lot of his more vulnerable moments, and so it was very easy to latch on and want all the best for him.

The relationship between Luc and Oliver was a nice slow burn, and reached levels of adorableness that may yet be unmeasurable. As I said though, these guys are adorable idiots, and so there is plenty of idiocy from both sides when it comes to how a healthy relationship (fake or otherwise) works. Enter the heart-wrenching bits. But despite idiocy on both sides, both characters grow in wonderful ways due to the influence of the other. The last 15% or so of this one did me a solid kick in the feels, in a way that made the ending itself even better.

All told, a lot of this book reminded me of Bridget Jones’ Diary, only gayer, and I was all the way here for it. There’s even a character named Bridget, and I want to believe that was on purpose. I loved every second of it. 5/5 stars!


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