By: Alexis Hall
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.
Boyfriend Material is the fake boyfriend trope. It also has a bit of only one bed as well. It isn’t quite enemies to lovers, but they have a ton of misunderstandings at the beginning, mainly because Luc is suffering from my serious self-worth worth issues.
Luc is the son of a former rock star and finds himself frequently in the tabloids. Sometimes for things he’s done, sometimes for misunderstandings. He’s at rock bottom. Depressed and filled with self-loathing, he is not a very friendly person. He’s got a solid support system in his mother and close friends, but they haven’t been able to help him. I was kind of annoyed that no one ever seemed to recommend therapy. His issues definitely could have been helped if he’d gone that route.
Oliver is a barrister, vegetarian, and all-around eco-conscience individual, as well as superhot. A mutual friend has tried to hook them up before, but it didn’t work due to Luc’s issues. Then they both find themselves in need of a boyfriend. Luc because he works at a charity funded by homophobes and Luc because he doesn’t want to go to his parents’ anniversary by himself. Things go from there.
The romance was there right from the start. It was clear to the reader that they were both attracted to each other. Luc did everything in his power to push Oliver away and was frequently an asshole to him. He always assumed the worst, and there were a few awkward moments. Oliver ended up building up Luc’s confidence, and Luc started to come out of his depression. It did sort of bother me that Luc started improving because of a man, but at least it wasn’t because Oliver was pushing him to be better. Oliver always seemed to accept Luc for who he was.
The humor was very British, think Bridget Jones’s Diary. I didn’t get several references, and Luc was probably less of an asshole than I thought he was. I’m pretty sarcastic myself, but the British take it to a whole new level.
Boyfriend Material’s end was mostly satisfying. You find out some things about Oliver’s life that explains why he is the way he is. I liked that he ended up having to go to Luc. It was a nice role reversal. I wish there had been more justice with Luc’s father. At least Luc told him off at the very beginning. I also wish there had been an epilogue, maybe a glimpse at how they were doing a couple of months down the road. Something.
I ended up really enjoying Boyfriend Material. Even though it was long at no moment did I get bored or feel like it was lagging. The romance was super sweet, and I enjoyed the characters. It’s a one-shot, and unless Hall wants to continue their story, I don’t see this being the beginning of a story. I’m okay with that, though.