I am so excited that I found the time to read Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall. When it first came out this summer, I heard nothing but praise for it, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy. I knew nothing about the story other than what I read in the synopsis, in the hopes of not having super-high, unattainable expectations, but I’ve got to admit, I dove in ready to be delighted.
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.
This book was exactly what I thought it was going to be and more. It was funny, filled with witty banter, and precisely the feel-good story I was after. There was even an enemies-to-lovers trope thrown in that I wasn’t expecting, but that, as you know, is my absolute favourite when it’s done well.
This is a storyline we’ve all heard before: hopeless single person makes an agreement with another single person that they will pretend to be a couple in order to attend an event together and—spoiler alert—they end up falling for each other. But the way the writer tackles the plot makes it feel fresh and exciting, and it’s not just because the protagonist is gay. The secondary characters are well designed (the James Royce-Royces are a clever nod to the interchangeable tertiary friends) and the banter is second-to-none. I rarely laugh out loud at books, and this one got me at least a dozen times. My husband kept asking me what I was laughing at, because he couldn’t believe it was at a book.
My only criticism would be of the main character, Luc, who is almost too down on himself to live the type of life he led, but Oliver and any of the other characters make up for his shortcomings. Don’t let that turn you off of the story.
Fans of Christina Lauren, fans of great LGBTQ+ stories, fans of the famous enemies-to-lovers trope and people who like to read well-written, witty dialogue (and want to laugh) will love this.
“’Are we really bad at this?’ I asked. ‘We’ve been fake dating for three days and we’ve already fake broken up once.’ ‘Yes, but we’ve fake resolved our difficulties and fake got back together, and I’m hoping it makes us fake stronger.’” —Alexis Hall, Boyfriend Material
Thank you to Lareised Leneseur on Unsplash for the featured photo of the men holding hands.