I would like to thank Edelweiss and the publisher for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts expressed are my personal opinion.
Description Summary | Upbeat yet extremely thoughtful and truthful in one of the best romance novels I’ve read yet. Unique in writing and character and brilliant representation of plus size MCs. Warning: Mature and explicit content.
Book Summary | (Skip to Review)
April Whittier has had enough. She has had enough working in a place where she has to constantly hide herself in order to be accepted “professionally”. She has had enough of people shaming her body, forever deemed “the fat girl”. And she has had enough of people making fun of her obsession of God of the Gates.
A proud cosplayer and fanfic writer of the series, April one day decides to upload a full body pic of her on Twitter cosplaying her favorite character of the show. Of course this invites malicious and not so nice people trolling her and making fun of her.
Marcus Caster-Rupp has a pretty decent life. He’s a successful actor on the tv show God of the Gates playing as warrior demi-god Aeneas. He’s got a big house in L.A worth probably millions and an even prettier face worth probably more. Here’s the thing: he’s really tired of being seen as a pretty face and only a pretty face. But being “The Well Groomed Golden Retriever” served him well, lots of good publicity, less drama.
He has a secret though: Marcus is one of the main fan fic writers on the server. And if word ever got out that he wrote fan fic, everything he’s ever maintained will fall apart in a blink of an eye.
That doesn’t stop him from asking April to go on a date with him after the disgusting onslaught of trolls who claimed that Aeneas aka Marcus would never want someone who looks like her. Little did they know that one date can change everything.
I practically squealed like a girl who found her golden ticket after seeing that I’ve been approved for Spoiler Alert. As soon as I read the synopsis of this book I knew I would love it. And love it I did. This nailed my 5 star prediction and I’m so glad it did not disappoint.
Here’s why I’m so happy with the book:
This isn’t your popular kid falling for the outcast trope, this isn’t your knight in shining armour falling for the “fat girl” making it look like that he’s the savior to the girl’s misery and tragedy. Oh no..no..no.. this book has both of our love interests falling for each other, making mistakes, actively trying to change for the better, gaining self confidence, and understanding each other. This is a truthful relationship with both partners having issues and both partners are trying to work around through those issues as they explore the blossoming feeling of falling for each other.
Speaking of issues, I loved that Dade included not only external stigma relating to body issues but also internal issues in the form of disability and identity issues. Now I’m no expert in psychology so I can’t say the accuracy of ADHD and dyslexia and how they’re represented in the book. But personally as a reader, even though I’m not familiar with both, I felt the way Dade wrote them is extremely raw and made me feel empathetic despite me not having or knowing anyone with ADHD and/or dyslexia.
Honestly wouldn’t change anything about the story except maybe make it less smutty?… Look I prefer my intimate scenes to be “poetic” but that’s just a preference for me as a reader and at least this wasn’t cringe like other smut filled books (I’m looking at you ACOTAR).
Growing up as a fat girl and teen (I lost weight now due to health concerns posed by my doctor so I had to force myself to lose the pounds though I still relate to that girl so much), this book nailed so much stuff right on the head. Especially the toxic positivity that can come from your closest loved ones; here its JoAnn our MC April’s mother. I literally shed tears when April confronted her mother and wrote that monologue about what it is to be body shamed.
These two MCs acknowledged the mistakes they’d made if they did, actually carried out their promises, and made a conscious effort to maintain what they have. Amazing.
April was so much fun and witty. I loved how intelligent she is, I loved her vibe and how she’s unapologetically herself. I really loved that emphasis was placed that Marcus fell for her because of her wit, intelligence, and personality foremost. It’s really refreshing. She’s like Lizzo’s soul sister or something.
Marcus my darling Marcus. Props for Dade for showcasing that even good looks is not enough to have a fulfilling and happy life. They’re definitely not a factor for having a relationship either. Marcus was shy, inquisitive, and so caring. I loved how he wasn’t afraid to show his love to the woman he adores in front of the whole wide world.
It’s really sad when stars utilize their physical beauty or adjust their looks to base their “brand” upon it. Marcus was not different but it was beautiful seeing him shed his layers and cast off his masks, slowly settling in the most truthful version of movie star Marcus: himself and only himself.
Do I recommend? I think I have gushed enough, so absolutely yes!