Boyfriend Material is a 2020 queer romance novel by Alexis Hall. The blurb reads:
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.
I don’t know whether or not I liked this book. There is very little actual communication between the two main characters. The reason why they don’t like each other is unclear. And the reason why they all of a sudden need a fake boyfriend is also quite iffy. I’m not convinced of the premise. I do like the grumpy sunshine trope. Though it is exaggerated into one grumpy, anxious, self-loathing partner who is constantly mean. And the sunshine partner isn’t that sunshin-y either. He is quite reserved but at least always open about his feelings and respecting of his partner.
But the fake dating is almost never actually fake. Since they don’t communicate and kind of do like each other immediately beneath their dislike for one another, there isn’t any yearning or stifled feelings. If only they communicated, it would all be solved quickly. Also, there is barely any romance, I thought. It’s also touted as enemies to lovers, but I don’t agree. One is a grump, constantly insisting on hating the other, and treating him badly. The other is a bit repressed and quiet, but never mean or acting out, always taking the other’s shit. I did not like their relationship.
My judgment? Meh!
If you disagree, let me know!