Meh. Fine I guess.
Another instance of I wanted this book to be so much better than it was.
Plot-wise, this has all the elements of something I would enjoy. Melody Joy is a Korean-American woman who creates a hugely high-profile mobile game about strippers surviving in an apocalypse. She is belittled and doubted for both her race and for being female, and has to overcome not only that but just the general existence of internet trolls all while developing her game and dealing with Nolan, a man assigned to be her intern that she begins to develop feelings for. On paper, it seems like this would be a fun home run but to me, it feels super flat.
The characters in this novel are the real issue as everyone just felt a bit flat? I think part of the issue is the way in which this book was marketed. Everything I’ve read about it in publication blurbs and professional journals makes it out to a typical romantic comedy book starring characters in their late twenties to thirties. Hell, even the cover art is the exact same color scheme and style as basically every popular rom-com novel of the past two to three years! This book, however, does not read at all as a romance. It feels more like women-centered fiction with an element of romance, as the relationship between Melody and Nolan never really felt like it took off or had enough chemistry in order to be publicized as a romance.
This more closely follows Melody’s story as she deals with sexism and other aspects of the games industry, which is great in its own right, I just expected more of a romance aspect. Because of it having a heavier focus on the gaming aspect, it was a bit of a slog to read because it’s SUCH a downer. Aside from Melody and Nolan, pretty much everyone else in this book is an asshole, including all men and Melody’s parents. Also, there is an entire stalker storyline that’s just DROPPED?! Like this woman has a pretty terrifying stalker and after a certain point in the book it’s just dropped, he’s not caught or found out or anything. It just fades away. There’s just so much harassment and shitty reminders of the things women go through on the internet every day, the romance wasn’t nearly enough levity to make it a feel-good story that you want to keep reading for the characters or relationships. This is not the kind of book to be reading right now when everything in the world feels shit, so I can’t honestly recommend it unless that’s what you’re looking for.
Title: Loathe at First Sight
Author: Suzanne Park
Three Descriptors: Heavy topics, Workplace Romance, Own Voices
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