I love the fake dating trope and felt that this one was exceptionally well done. The story follows a young man named Luc, who is the son of famous rock star parents, meaning his life is under the constant microscope of the paparazzi. Because of this, a few “unflattering” photos of him have made it into the newspapers, and his reputation is in dire need of fixing.
So when his boss tells him in no uncertain terms that he needs to clean up his image…or else, Luc decides to find a nice normal boyfriend and sets his sights on Oliver, a rather stuffy and uptight vegetarian barrister who is in need of a date for an important family event. After a disastrous first date, the two men decide quickly that they don’t like each other, but they do agree to be each other’s fake boyfriend for the next several months, after which each man can go his separate way. Of course, our guys have to keep in mind the first rule of fake dating: don’t fall in love.
What I enjoyed about this story is that it was also an endearing romantic comedy of opposites attracting, as these two men couldn’t be more different. It was so much fun watching the ups and downs of their budding relationship as they slowly begin to develop real romantic feelings for each other once the lines of their “fake” relationship begin to blur. I also loved witnessing Luc’s journey as he went from a place of super-low self-esteem and low self-worth to being a confident and self-assured young man.
While the fake dating/romance theme does take front and center, the book delves into some serious topics as well, including abandonment issues, toxic family dynamics, homophobia, trust/mistrust, mental health, parental estrangement, and self-acceptance. In this way, the book is much more than a light, fluffy romance; it has quite a bit of depth.
It was refreshing that our main characters did not jump into bed right away just because they are fake dating, which we often see with this trope. And when the sex does finally occur, it’s mostly off-screen and fade to black, so if you’re looking for a sexy, steamy and explicit romance, this isn’t it. But what you will get is an emotional, gripping story with plenty of heart. It was so easy to fall in love with these characters as they’re amusing, somewhat angsty, super sweet, determined, flawed, and real.
I thought this book was hysterically funny, and the banter made me cackle out loud on several occasions. It’s also heartwarming and touching, with wry descriptions and excellent pacing — it’s the sort of book you’ll clasp to your chest with a happy sigh after you finish it. If you like witty banter and shenanigans, this is the book for you.
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