From the publisher:
Olivia Dade bursts onto the scene in this delightfully fun romantic comedy set in the world of fanfiction, in which a devoted fan goes on an unexpected date with her celebrity crush, who’s secretly posting fanfiction of his own.
Marcus Caster-Rupp has a secret. The world may know him as Aeneas, star of the biggest show on television, but fanfiction readers call him something else: Book!AeneasWouldNever. Marcus gets out his frustrations with the show through anonymous stories about the internet’s favorite couple, Aeneas and Lavinia. But if anyone discovered his online persona, he’d be finished in Hollywood.
April Whittier has secrets of her own. A hardcore Lavinia fan, she’s long hidden her fanfic and cosplay hobbies from her “real life”—but not anymore. When she dares to post her latest costume creation on Twitter, her plus-size take goes viral. And when Marcus asks her out to spite her internet critics, truth officially becomes stranger than fanfiction.
On their date, Marcus quickly realizes he wants more from April than a one-time publicity stunt. But when he discovers she’s Unapologetic Lavinia Stan, his closest fandom friend, he has one more huge secret to keep from her.
With love and Marcus’s career on the line, can the two of them stop hiding once and for all, or will a match made in fandom end up prematurely cancelled?
This book had a lot of buzz, especially for a first novel, but I had a hard time getting into it. The chapters are a mix of story, scenes from the TV series, occasional texts, and fanfiction making this very much a 21st century epistolary novel. The TV series is a fantasy along the lines of Game of Thrones, especially the much maligned last season. I read Game of Thrones, the first book, when it came out so a very long time ago. I rarely read fantasy anymore, and I didn’t watch the show, but I know enough about popular culture to definitely see the similarities.
I am also not a fan of fanfiction; in fact, I’ve never really read any, and I can’t think of a TV show or movie that I would want to explore in that genre. My daughter writes fanfiction, not that she’d even tell me what kind or where she posts it, but she was my translator for some of the terminology that I wasn’t familiar with, like “pegging” and “OTP”. (Even this Beginner’s Guide to Fanfiction Terminology didn’t have pegging!) But I kept hearing good things about this book, so I finally sat down and just read it.
I admit to skimming most of the fanfiction/TV series stuff, but I got the gist of it. I did like the rest of the story once I got into it. The main character, April, is fat. She is quite clear about that. She is also confident but has been hurt before. Her best friend is an online fanfic writer and reader, and they critique each other’s work. Then she decides to post a picture online of her in costume, but her body is now out there for everyone to see.
The Twitter trolls go after her, but the star of her favorite show asks her out. Most people, including April, assume it is a publicity stunt. But when they meet, there is definitely an attraction. They both have a lot of baggage and issues like fat-shaming, dyslexia, family/parent emotional abuse issues and more made this a surprisingly powerful read at times. It also made me smile, a lot. There is also some hot sex!
This is a storyline similar to the movie, You’ve Got Mail, where the male protagonist, Marcus, knows April’s online persona, but she is not aware of who he is. Deceptions abound but thankfully, there is a happy ending.
If you love You’ve Got Mail (and I do) and/or Rainbow Rowell (and I do) this book is definitely in your wheelhouse. It is an auspicious start for a new writer, and there were some hints dropped throughout that there might be a sequel in the works. I’m looking forward to it.
11/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
SPOILER ALERT by Olivia Dade. Avon (October 6, 2020). ISBN 978-0063005549. 416 pages.
This entry was posted on Friday, November 6th, 2020 at 8:00 AM and is filed under Book Reviews, Fiction, Romance. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.