ALC Review: Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Wanted:
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.

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Thank you very much to Libro.fm for providing me with an advance listening copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Boyfriend Material is out today!

Purchase the novel here:
Libro.fm | Amazon | Booktopia

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CN: cancer, homophobia, parental emotional abuse, eating disorder

Alexis Hall’s new novel Boyfriend Material is going to be the best romcom of the year. I’m calling it already. It’s like a mash-up of Bridget Jones’ Diary meets Four Weddings and a Funeral, but ten times funnier and much more swoon-worthy.

Luc O’Donnell is sort-of famous. He’s the child of a rockstar and an 80s popstar who split 20 years earlier, and he’s also never met his famous father — nor does he care to. After being betrayed and traumatised by so many people in his life, Luc doesn’t want much to do with other people. But when an embarrassing photo is spread around news sites and affects his job, his boss tells him he needs to find himself an upright boyfriend to change his image and to save the company’s fundraiser. Cue Oliver Blackwood, a stuffy, ethical vegetarian lawyer. Luc embarrassed himself in front of Oliver years ago, but he desperately needs a fake boyfriend and it just so happens Oliver needs one too. So the two men decide to devise a plan to help each other and accidentally catch feels along the way.

This book makes me feel so damn happy. Honestly, with the state of the world right now, I haven’t smiled over something in a very long time, and Boyfriend Material is the perfect book to read during these tumultuous times. You want to laugh out loud, to the point where people will be staring at you? Read this book. You want to wildly ship two amazing characters together to the point where you don’t care about anyone else except for Oliver and Luc? Read this book!

Initially, I wasn’t that interested in Boyfriend Material. Many early readers kept comparing it to Red, White & Royal Blue, so I believed it was a book about politics (and I definitely wasn’t interested in another political book — not in this climate, thanks!). But it’s not! Not even close. I’m also not the biggest fan of the fake dating trope, which I’m sure has shocked some readers. But I’m so glad I took a chance on this marvellous book because it has dug its way deep into my heart.

The characters are without a doubt the stars of Boyfriend Material. Luc is very relatable character and the definition of a disaster gay. The antics he gets himself into are genuinely hilarious, and I often found myself pausing the audiobook because I was laughing too much and I missed what the narrator said next. Luc is also a character that you will feel protective over, due the circumstances of his life. His father is trash and the fame his father has amassed has rubbed off on Luc in a wrong way, leaving Luc feeling like he’s unable to trust anyone. So he pulls himself away from people whenever he feels as though they’re getting too close, in order to protect himself. But Oliver has a way of breaking down Luc’s walls. I loved the development of their relationship from tentative friendship to genuine caring about one another to eventual love.

Oliver is such an amazing love interest, one of the best I’ve read in a long time. At first, he comes across as absolutely perfect, and Luc feels inadequate compared to him. It seems as though Oliver can do no wrong: he’s an ethical vegetarian, he can easily assimilate himself into any situation with any type of person, and people rely on him. But that’s a massive facade: Oliver is terrified of people thinking anything negative about him, and will do anything he can to protect himself and his heart. It broke my heart when I discovered the reasons behind Oliver’s attempts at perfection.

While Luc and Oliver are wonderful characters and proof that opposites attract, but they’re not the only amazing characters Boyfriend Material has to offer. The rest of the cast are just as fantastic and super engaging. I wish I had Luc’s friends because they’re all hilarious, loving and so supportive. I’m pleasantly surprised that this novel has such a focus on friendship groups, which is not always something you see in romance books. But both Luc and Oliver’s friends are dynamic characters who you will also fall for. I especially loved Luc’s hysterically funny colleagues. Every single scene they were in made me laugh out loud, which garnered a lot of weird looks (as I was on a walk while listening to the audiobook).

Joe Jameson, the narrator, is the perfect choice for Boyfriend Material. He pulled off all the individual British accents perfectly, and it was so easy to distinguish between the characters. I adored Oliver’s voice especially, it was deep and swoon-like. I will definitely be checking out any other novels Jameson has narrated.

Boyfriend Material is the perfect book to read during these difficult times. This novel made me so happy, even during the more sadder scenes, and the second I finished it, I wanted to start the audiobook all over again. Do yourselves a favour, and get your hands on the audiobook of Boyfriend Material today!

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