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.
Gay fake dating. Was there really anything else that I needed to know to want to read this book? Not really, because that’s what sold me. There’s also enemies-to-lovers, having nothing in common, and a guy needed a respectable boyfriend to clean up his image. Yeah, I was ready to dive right in from “gay fake dating”, but now I was completely ready.
This book was extremely different than I thought it was going to be. I thought it was going to be all fluffy romance, but there are hidden depths to this book. I was also expecting to be told from the perspectives of both Luc and Oliver, so it was a bit of a shock to find out that Luc was the only narrator. Still, after I realized where this book was going, I enjoyed it a whole lot.
I didn’t think I would be starting off this review with the emotional journey, but I’m starting off this review with the emotional journey. Luc carries so much pain. He’s depressed and he’s anxious and he’s angry. This book manages to let those emotions seep through, but the book doesn’t take on a heavy feeling. Luc struggles, but he also tries to work through his emotions. It’s hard and it’s uncomfortable, but he knows it’s what’s healthy for him so he finds the strength to do it. I really, really liked how Luc’s character development went. I could relate so much to what he was feeling, even if I haven’t experieced everything that he has.
Oliver also has his own mental issues that he needed to work through. They weren’t as to the forefront as Luc’s were, but that makes sense since he didn’t have a POV. Despite them being kind of on the sideline, I loved how Oliver’s emotions played into the story. Luc’s emotions feel so loose, like they could spill all over at any second. Oliver, on the other hand, holds and locks up everything so tight. He tries to be perfect and he tries so, so hard to do whatever he does well. It liked seeing both of them reflect off each other and I loved how they both had such different emotional struggles, but still be able to help each other.
This book was also hilarious. Pretty much all the jokes stuck the landing. There were also SO MANY different kinds of humor. There was sarcasm, there’s obliviousness, there’s banter. The way these characters interacted and the inner workings of their relationships set up such a hilarious dynamic. I was laughing pretty much throughout the entire book.
The romantic relationship was also the cutest thing. It was rocky, but that’s how relationships are. Sometimes mistakes are made, sometimes there’s mutual irritation, sometimes it’s easier to pretend to be in a fake relationship than to be in a real one. But there was so many cute moments and I loved how they grew and came together.
If you want a book about a sad, messy guy learning to pull himself up, an uptight perfectionist, beetle charities, sarcasm, and lots of big words used (but made fun of plenty), then this is definitely the book for you!