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London Calling #1

Boyfriend Material

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Romance (2020)
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.

425 pages, Paperback

First published July 7, 2020

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About the author

Alexis Hall

51 books10.8k followers
Genrequeer writer of kissing books.

Please note: I don’t read / reply to DMs. If you would like to get in touch, the best way is via email which you can find in the contact section on my website <3

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Displaying 1 - 29 of 16,581 reviews
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,861 reviews5,637 followers
February 20, 2021
Boyfriend Material spoke to me.

I was truly not expecting to love it. I've had mixed experiences with Alexis Hall in the past, and I honestly didn't know he could be so funny. This book is hilarious, especially if you like kind of snarky, British humor, and I found myself laughing out loud to myself in bed, shoulders positively shaking (my husband did not appreciate this).

But that's how this book gets you. Under the humor lies the feels.

The emotions that I felt for these characters snuck up on me, and before I knew it, I was hooked. I really couldn't stop reading, and I stayed up nearly all night to finish.

I know it sounds cliche, but I laughed, I cried, and I would do it all over again.

It's funny, because plot-wise, nothing much happens in the story. It's sort of a meandering series of events in the MC's life where nothing seems to go quite right. The MC screws everything up time and time again, and puts his foot in his mouth so many times it might as well be permanently lodged there. However, he grows on you. The main characters are so multilayered that they feel like real people, and the secondary characters are so unique and well-conceived that you'll want them to have their own stories.

This story has self-righteous vegans, dung beetles, banana curries, dick pics, posh/idiot co-workers, and humor woven around each and every thing that makes it all come together effortlessly. But while you are laughing, be prepared for the feelings, a surprising amount of angst, and the strong, strong chemistry to hit you right when you least expect it. These guys are great for each other, baggage and all, and I was rooting for them like I haven't in a long time. But don't read this story if you are expecting steam, because this story is fade-to-black. However, I didn't mind the lack of steam with this one.

My favorite Alexis Hall book to date, Boyfriend Material delivered right when I needed it to most. I think the author did something special with this story.

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*

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Profile Image for chai ♡.
321 reviews153k followers
August 11, 2022
This is one of the best romance novels that I've ever read. Tender, patient, and raw as a confession, the experience of reading this novel felt like talking with an old friend by the hearth of a fire on a rainy day. I loved Luc's narration, with its endless vulnerability and chafed honesty. It had taken me several days to finish this book because I kept turning his words over and over, like tumbling a stone inside my mouth, letting them sink into me even as I sank with the weight of them. The romance between Luc and Oliver is everything: the softness of it, the joy of being seen, of being known, of being utterly held.

I will probably never write a full review for this book, simply because something about it still feels like a small treasure that had been in the water for a very long time and had washed up on the shore just for me. Something I’m not sure I'm quite ready to share.
Profile Image for Alice Oseman.
Author 66 books70.2k followers
Read
August 11, 2022
Been really into audiobooks this year and this narrator was one of the best I've heard... shout out to Joe Jameson for all the excellent voices!
Profile Image for Talia Hibbert.
Author 30 books28.4k followers
July 8, 2020
Basically the book of my dreams. The perfect romcom. Flawless. An instant classic. Hot-mess POV hero who you will want to cuddle. Enigmatic, perfect love interest who’s not so perfect after all, except I love him, so he is. Iconic friendship group. Glittering, knife’s-edge prose. I have lost the ability to sentence because I will never be as good at it as Alexis Hall so what's the point. I'm not even mad I'm just ready to read it all again. Six stars. Seven. Ten. Let's GO
Profile Image for Maryam Rz..
220 reviews2,652 followers
August 27, 2022
The core ingredients in my fighting-depression arsenal:

➊ book with an i-am-dying level of hilariousness
➋ book with an i-shall-overdose level of adorableness
➌ book with an oh-my-rainbow-heart level of LGBT+ rep
➍ accordingly chosen music for playlist ➾ Spotify link
Or, you know, in short: this book aka Boyfriend Material.

“I’m in love with you, Lucien. But it seems hardly adequate.”

You need to understand, the humour in this book shines quite blindingly through every scene, be it awkward, sweet, or emotional, making it less a hot and sexy adult romance and more a lethally cute and funny one. Honestly, it’s just heart emoji if it had two covers and 400+ pages.

So if you’re looking for a rolling on the floor laughing my ass off type of book about fake dating going horribly wrong (or right, depending on your perspective), sprinkled with life as adult gay men, clueless posh English nobles, being haunted by rockstar parents, some insight to life as a vegetarian, work as a barrister, and a job at a charity (I mean insights into getting people to give you their money without shouting “give me your money you potato burger”), dripping with too-adorable lessons on the complications of relationships and trust and generally oh my god I have feelings what do I do for a hedgehog main character...you’ve come to the right place.

I loved it, not least because it was not set in America thank you lord?

“You really do own your illiteracy, don’t you?”
“Yeah, I’m thinking about moving to America and running for public office.”

Guys I swear I made an effort to keep it short this time I swear but then I started writing, and I have no idea what happened next.

CW ➾ homophobia, abandonment by parent, narcissistic parent, emotional abuse



The Humour That Be

You all know me, I’m a clown, I admire clowns, and I value humour most in my books. And I realise that I’m also an unstable weirdo who laughs at worldwide disasters and a crack in the wall (which in reality is funny but that’s another conversation) BUT, oh my god this book is absolutely hilarious. Like, asphyxiation, suffocation, choke you till you die hilarious (which is not as grim as it may sound—a worthy end to a life, really).

The writing is so witty and absurd; it makes jokes the way you chat up ab attractive lady slash dude slash whocaresaboutgender—rather smooth and disarming, is what I mean. The banter is only the start of it, what’s most unique about Boyfriend Material is its creativity in creating iconic and insisting patterns and brands of humour and weaving them all throughout the pages from one cover to the other. I had a blast with every page.



The Representation That Be

Anybody can put together a cast of lesbian, gay, bi, etc characters and call it a yay-day, but it’s quite something else for the baggage they drag into the page to make them feel less like boxes ticked off a grocery-like list and more like, you know, actual human beings. With Boyfriend Material, even though the aforementioned baggage is not fully and deeply opened and stifled through, it’s constantly present and considered in the character’s everyday lives and conversations to be real rather than fake or overwhelming.

“You should never let anyone tell you it is wrong to be how you are.”

Too many LGBT+ books are about only the most painful and/or prominent moments of a person’s life, and while there is never enough books on stepping out of the closet and finding yourself and your place, this community also needs easy rep of everyday drama.

What if you’ve come out to all your friends and family and have a healthy relationship of love and acceptance with all the people in your personal life? What’s next? How do you live a normal life and deal with all the different people out in the world, having their own understanding, ignorant, or (veiled) homophobic opinions? Those are the exact type of questions Alexis Hall tells a story about.



The Characters That Be (this got long whoops)

Protagonist:

Luc is the human equivalent of a hedgehog. You might want to hug him but as soon you get remotely near you should pick up a shield because ohmygod ohmygod vulnerability alert cannot deal i repeat cannot deal ready for launch. I’m not even kidding.

“It’s just…it’s going to be all hard and messy.”
“Lots of things are. Many of them are still worth doing.”
It was a sign of quite how fucked up I was feeling that I didn’t try to make a joke out of hard, messy or, indeed, worth doing.

He’s such a haunted, wounded, pessimistic, self-deprecating, miserable, sarcastic, paranoid mess of a drama queen (rightfully so because, when all you see of yourself is what the tabloids show you, what else do you expect) who’s rather fond of his teenager mode that I just want to hug the 28 yo bellend, damn being impaled. His growth was handled so deftly and smoothly, with the necessary bumps in the road of course, and it was so heartfelt and precious to see him learn to communicate and trust.

Love Interest:

I have zero idea what to do with Oliver because oh my god this dude. Really, as Luc put it, “Normally I didn’t do sweet but, well, Oliver.” He’s the very definition of a gentleman, ugh. Respectful and considerate yet opinionated and ethical (I mean jeez only Oliver could turn a brownie into an ethical quandary), clean and serious yet secretly funny and rebellious, soft and delicate yet protective and slightly controlling. So patient, so caring, so outrageously thoughtful.

And he’s trying so hard and, ugh, dammit, it turns him such an adorable secretly anxious lion-looking puppy—which makes no sense, what with one being from the dear old cat family and one the loyal dog one. I just cannot resist sharing his texting panic:

I was unexpectedly de-sleeped by a buzzing from my phone at 5:00 a.m.: My apologies. Next time, I’ll send a photograph of my penis. And then several further buzzings.
That was a joke.
I should probably make it clear that I’m not intending to send you any pictures.
I’ve never sent that sort of thing to anybody.
As a lawyer, it’s hard not to be aware of the potential consequences.
I also realise you’re probably asleep at the moment. So perhaps if you could just delete the previous five messages when you wake up.
Of course, I should emphasise that I am not meaning to imply any judgment about people who do choose to send intimate photographs to one another.
It’s just not something I’m comfortable with.
Of course if it is something you’re comfortable with, I understand.
Not that I’m suggesting you have to send me a picture of your penis.
Oh God, can you please delete every text I’ve ever sent you.

He had me frustrated yet amused and drowning in adoration, shaking my head and going awwwwwww every other chapter while, frankly, if I met him in real life there would probably be less amusement and adoration and more devising an evil plan to shake his life to the core, driving him right over a metaphorical cliff questioning all his beliefs and messing up all the meticulously ordered aspects of his life. Don’t look so surprised, you already know I’m evil.

Now that I really think about it though, I’m starting to come to the conclusion that I have, indeed, met him in real life. He’s my eldest brother *insert poker face* I...I don’t quite know what to do with that information.

Sidekicks:

You know that friend (or maybe not friend, maybe it’s yourself) who is so absurd or weird or different that ends up always standing out like a sore thumb, whenever and wherever, for good or worse, and has people whispering that one is such a character? That’s all the characters in this book.

Like Alex The Posh And Incomprehensible Co-Worker who, if you held an exam on puns with scores from 0 to 100, would get a pretty minus with adorable bunny ears. No, scratch that, he’d receive a full mark and forever ruin all kinds of jokes for you—I honestly don’t think I can listen to the knock-knock joke or the elephant ones without thinking of his take; which is a good thing, I believe, since it would drive me to laugh harder than asked for by the dear joker. Seriously, the man uses hashtags like this:

#ColeopteraResearchAndProtectionProject
AnnualFundraisingDinnerAndDanceWith
SilentAuctionOfEtymologicalSpecimensAlso
KnownAsTheBeetleDriveAtTheRoyalAmbassadors
HotelMaryleboneNotTheOneInEdinburgh
TicketsAvailableFromOurWebsiteNow

Or Priya The Only One With An Automobile AKA Truck who, even in her short scenes, managed to steal my heart with her ice-thorny attitude and steadfast support. Not gonna lie, it might be because she unbelievably reminded me of Amren from my other current read.

Or Bridget The Group’s Token Straight Girl and her publishing industry dramas, sweeping in with a you are not gonna believe what happened and an I can’t really talk about it but and a I’m definitely gonna get fired. I was literally sitting with my eyes glued to the metaphorical door waiting for her to make a hasty entrance and steal the stage.

“Either you never trust anybody ever again, and pretend that stops people hurting you when clearly it doesn’t. Or, um, don’t do that. And maybe your house will burn down. But, at least you’ll be warm. And probably the next place will be better. And come with an induction hob.”

Or even Sophie The Evil Lawyer From The Other Gang who I immediately became obsessed with. Or, truly, Tom who was the rare sensible one among them and I have no idea why he would bother to hang out with these nuthouses except if he’s got a secret weird fetish for their weirdness and needs them in his life the way you’d need puppies. Or Dr. Fairclough whom I can’t begin to summarise in one sentence—I mean I could, but I don’t want to.

I’ll be honest, at first I felt as if the friends and family coming along for the ride all sounded the same, but that is so not the case. Yes, the MC and most of his group of friends do have constant banter that feels on the same wavelength, but of course it makes sense that birds of a feather flock together. Most of their gang and even his, duh, mum speak the same language (seriously, I have the same out-of-nowhere back-and-forths with folks who share my crazy or are compatible with it) while that very humour applied to people outside of their circle could invite amusement, bewilderment, or nothing, falling flat with a loud, awkward thump. It was when I could say which of the two James Royce-Royces (yes they’r married, don’t even ask) was speaking that I saw how real these words on a page had become to me.

The way I see it, what makes these characters remarkable and tangible is their small quirks, annoying habits, and persistent figures of speech and thought—I know that’s not an actual thing but, please, bear with me. Such as the way Luc’s mum could say such well-meaning clueless things that would be possibly harmful but are not because she succeeds in getting her wisdom and actual meaning across. Somehow.



The Relationships That Be

This was why relationships sucked: they made you need shit you’d been perfectly happy not needing. And then they took them away.

I don’t think I’m actually in fit condition to discuss this...beautiful, unforgettable, filled-with-endearing-arguments, so-palpable-it-was-about-to-step-out-of-the-page-and-murder-me...matter, seeing as I’ve had a couple of peculiar near-death experiences from cuteness overdose. So forgive me as I skip this step and just very calmly thank the author for having the characters quickly address problems arising from lack of communication.

The wholesome, fully developed friendships and familial bonds despite—or should I say because of—complications were also nothing short of marvelous. And I wholeheartedly appreciated how the family struggles were concluded realistically, if not happily, or in one case only began to be dealt with—it was refreshing, so there’s that. Shoo now.



The Themes That Be

(If you were not wondering whether I’d misplaced or forgotten my let’s dig deep and see what the book really had to say and generally overanalyse everything part, that you do not know me my dear—which is for the best, really. Do say a prayer of thanks.)

“I’m coming to the conclusion I might be unbelievably terrified.”
“Me too,” I said. “But let’s be terrified together.”

With all its jokes and fun times, Boyfriend Material is about dealing with and facing life head on because the more we try to hide from something, the more power we give it. It shows why you need to accept that you need help, and realise that no one else is going to sweep in and suddenly turn your life upside down; no matter how much they help you move forward and see your path more clearly, it’s you who walks it. And more importantly, it’s about understanding and taking the first step and the second step and the third one, rather than finishing a journey that doesn’t really have an end. That, in the end, the world is not going to become heaven populated by nice and kind people.

And that, really, it’s not about the three words, it’s about everything that came before it and everything that comes after it.
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews155k followers
December 8, 2020
description

OHMYGOSH. Goodreads Choice Nominees are here and My Reaction Video is up! Don't forget to vote!

The Written Review

description

Luc O'Donnell, also known as the son of two incredibly famous rock stars, has hit the (yet another) speed bump of his life.

His dad just picked up another show and his fame is on the rise (again)...and with that comes increased paparazzi for all those tangentially related...like poor Luc.

Luc's latest scandal (though relatively minor) was enough to send his bosses heads flying and the donors for his work scrambling away.

The only solution? Find a cute, stable and SAFE boyfriend to settle down with until it all blows over.

Enter Oliver Blackwell - the epitome of the bring-home-to-the-folks trope.

He's a barrister, he loves spending the night in and above all, he's scandal-free. AND he needs a fake boyfriend to bring home to the folks as well.

Only what once was a clear-cut fake relationship is quickly feeling incredibly and permanently real.

Overall - I LOVED this book.

I know, I know. It definitely looks like just another fake-to-real boyfriend trope but the way it was executed - flawless.

I've read so many of those books that every moment of this book, (I thought) I had a pretty solid prediction of where it was going.

BUT I was wrong nearly every time (and the few times I was right, I was SO happy the book was taking that direction).

So much of the book is pure dialogue but the two main characters had such sass and class - their quips and quotes had me literally laughing out loud.

All in all, I adored this book. I loved this book. I'm going to be devastated if there isn't another one.

With thanks to Netgalley, Alexis Hall and Sourcebooks for sending me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

description

I'm so excited to get a copy to review - folks are saying it's the next Red, White and Royal Blue. Fingers crossed!

(PS. check out this week's BookTube Video to see why I'm psyched about this one and the other fabulous books I picked up!)

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 59 books8,136 followers
Read
April 3, 2020
Imagine a book like a Four Weddings-era Richard Curtis movie (and *not*, let me be clear, like the vomitous Love Actually), with the feelgood elements and the genuine romance and the terrific cast (only more diverse than Curtis is capable of), and real pain and emotion grounding the hilarious banter. Sounds amazing? Well, here you go.

The joyfully queer British romcom escape book I desperately needed. It's absurdly funny--like proper laughing out loud--and swoonily romantic, with a sharp edge of wit and observation that keeps the story bounding along, bad actors that you can really dislike, a lovely supporting cast of friends and family, and two flawed but deeply likeable leads. An unbridled 'one-more-chapter-oh-no-it's-3am-oh-well' delight.

(Disclosure: I had an ARC from the publisher and share an agent with the author. Notwithstanding, I don't leave rave reviews if I don't mean them.)
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
531 reviews34.5k followers
December 18, 2020
**I received an advance copy of this book from SOURCEBOOKS Casablanca and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Thank you so much for approving me for this ARC!**

I’m aware I rarely say this about books, but this was FANTASTIC! Once I started to read “Boyfriend Material” I couldn’t stop anymore and with every chapter I read, I was drawn even more into the story. The conversations between the two MCs, Luc and Oliver, were so much fun and I found myself clutching the pages while laughing out loud.

Sure, not everything in this book is hilarious and Alexis Hall tackles plenty of serious topics as well. The author always does it with a little humour though and this made this a really enjoyable and entertaining read. For instance Luc’s boss is a horrible person. I mean I get it, beetles are important for the environment but boy, does she lack the finesse of human interaction. Some of the things she said at the beginning of the book were flat out rude and inappropriate and if Luc wouldn’t have been such a nice person she probably would have lost her company a long time ago.

The good thing about those moments is that they were all either called out or challenged by some of the characters and I really appreciated this approach. Alexis Hall deals with prejudices, bias and a good dose of discrimination but the author does it in a healthy kind of way. For such a funny book this is quite remarkable and before I dwell on those topics even more I’ll just go for the good stuff! Namely the easy banter of the two MCs , the fact that Luc (whose full name is Lucien btw and we all know about my weakness for that name! ;-P) is a disaster gay and the amazing portrayal of friendships which gave this all such a wholesome and healthy vibe!

“What if someone asks? I should know for verisimilitude.”
The corners of his mouth twitched slightly. “You can say I’m a gentleman and we haven’t got that far.”
“You” – I gave a thwarted sigh – “are a terrible fake boyfriend.”
“I’m building fake anticipation.”
“You’d better be fake worth it.”
“I am.”


I swear Luc and Oliver were such a formidable couple! Yes, they might have started fake-dating because at that point of their lives they both needed it to save their reputation; they were always honest and forthright though! And this was so, so, so, so refreshing!!! Most of the conflicts in “Boyfriend Material” didn’t come into being because of some miscommunication between the MCs but because the characters were used to deal with their problems on their own. They were stuck in their habits and problems and had a tough time letting anyone in, which considering both of their backstories was actually pretty relatable.

“Are we really bad at this?” I asked.
“We’ve been fake dating for three days and we’ve already fake broken up once.”
“Yes, but we fake resolved our difficulties and fake got back together, and I’m hoping it’s made us fake stronger.”


As were their friendships! I loved Bridge and the funny dynamic between Luc and his other friends. They were exactly like you’d expect good friends to be and their support for Luc was amazing! Funnily enough I even liked Alex, Luc’s gullible, innocent and totally clueless co-worker who wouldn’t even notice if he would put his foot in his mouth. Let’s just hope the Alex’s of this world will never be confronted with harsh reality. XD

This said, the only thing I didn’t like were the two storylines about Luc’s father and Oliver’s family. Whilst the plot that dealt with Luc’s father might have been dissatisfying but realistic, the part that focused on Oliver’s family fell short for me. I really wish we would have gotten more of his storyline throughout the entire book and not only on the last 30 pages. I get why Alexis Hall did it that way and I appreciate the point the author made, but for me this came out of the blue and kind of spoiled the ending.
I guess this might be a typical "it's not the book, it's me" situation though. Well, at least so far no other reviewer seems to have mentioned it.

“I'm conscious this could be rather burdensome to hear, but you remain the thing I have most chosen for myself. The thing that's most exclusively mine. The one thing that brings me the deepest joy.”

All told I really enjoyed “Boyfriend Material” and had a more than just tough time to put it down. The hilarious humour and easy banter made it really addicting and before I even knew it I found myself rushing through the pages. If you’re looking for a sweet rom-com that isn’t afraid to tackle a few serious topics and will make you laugh out loud, this might be exactly the right book for you! ;-) Happy reading!

_____________________________

It’s time to tackle this before my ARC runs out! >_<
(My time management still erm... s*cks. *lol*)

Anyway, let’s do this!!!
I’m sooo ready to be swept off my feet! XD
Wish me luck, I hope this is going to be a good one!
_____________________________

First things first:

Thank you so much SOURCEBOOKS Casablanca and NetGalley for accepting my request and giving me permission to read and review this book!

And now that this is out of the way:

OMG!!! OMG!!!! OMG!!!!
ADFADKFASJFDKSADFJASJ! I've been dying to read this and I got approved!!! YAY!!!
And now excuse me while I jump around in my flat and do an embarrassing happy dance! *lol*

I can't believe I got approved for this ARC! T_T <--- *happy tears*

P.S: For some reason my first pre-review for this got deleted. I'm so happy right now that not even a goodreads glitch could destroy my excitement! <333
Profile Image for Joel Rochester.
62 reviews17.3k followers
February 11, 2021
2.5 stars

I'm glad that I read Boyfriend Material because it delivered a cute fake dating opposites-attract romance, albeit a few things that I personally couldn't get behind in the novel. I found that whilst I was enjoying it, it was in a more detached kind of way. I didn't feel like I was a part of the story, I was just watching it, and it wasn't always interesting. This lowkey feels like this is something that would've taken place in the early 2000s England, as opposed to being a modern-day english story. I emphasise england.

On the positive side, I loved Oliver for 90% of the novel, the way that he treats Luc and seeks to defend him is so cute and he's just the sweetest bean. I also feel like he was the character that felt the most grounded to me, even though we didn't get to see him fully fleshed out. I also appreciated the England setting and how everything was set out — although, the slight jokes about Wales were... there. I didn't hate them, but I didn't really get the point either.

Their "dick" pics were also hilarious, I need that in my life. The humour of this story was spot-on and I found the writing of them to be hilarious and it's where Hall's writing exceptionally shines. Plus, the development of some of the main characters was pretty good!

But, I just wasn't a fan of some of the side characters or some scenes which were overly drawn-out. Those words could've been used to develop the relationship, Oliver or any of the secondary characters more. I really would've loved to see the side characters a lot more, given how they help influence Luc's direction in the story. Oh shit, I haven't spoken about Luc yet. He was okay — I fully empathise with him having a tough relationship with his father, given my own personal history. His actions are also quite justified, given the way he acts selfishly and how he's unwilling to trust people again because of his previous relationship, his relationship with his father, and the tabloids.

There's also the question of believability in this story, as being fired for being "the wrong type of gay" just felt highkey illegal to me and something Luc could've definitely taken them to court for as per the Equality Act 2010, something Oliver could've assisted with, and oh shit, it would've thrown the entire case in disarray if that's how they fell into their romance— ok, let's not try to rewrite the novel.

This is also where the novel also failed for me, the amount of emphasis they put on the right type and the wrong type of gay, like people are just... gay? Sexuality doesn't define you as a person so I just didn't vibe with that. Can I also just talk about the fact that there is blatant homophobia professed by some of the characters in this novel and... nothing is done about it? It's literally like "oh wow that's homophobic" and then they move on with their lives as if nothing happened. ?!?!?!

OKAY BUT ALSO CAN I TALK ABOUT THE FACT THAT ONE, THEY LITERALLY HAVE A CONFLICT IN THE LAST 10% THAT'S RESOLVED SO QUICKLY AND TWO, THAT THEY INTRODUCE A PLOT THREAD IN THE LAST 1% OF THE NOVEL WITH NOTHING ELSE TO LEAD UP AFTERWARDS LIKE ?!?!?!?!?!? WHAT

I'd recommend this if you're wanting a light, hilarious and fluffy story with some tension of external conflict and angst for the characters.
Profile Image for emma.
1,825 reviews48.5k followers
August 22, 2022
Turns out my reputation of eating sunshine for breakfast and stomping out rainbows and generally being a curmudgeonly grump might be warranted.

But to be fair, I WANTED to like this book.

It's got my favorite trope (fake dating). It's a romance (which I always desperately want to enjoy). There's a tinge of enemies to lovers (the other best trope of all time).

And yet.

The fake dating is almost never fake!!! There's none of the yearning and miscommunication and stifled feelings! The romance itself hardly feels present! And the enemies to lovers simply consists of one character being an absolute sh*tstorm to the other, who simply takes it!!!

This book had more tragic backstory and descriptions of unholy curries and friends who appear and disappear with an eye to plot convenience that would make deus ex machina jealous. Like, as a concept.

I think Alexis Hall's writing style might just not work for me, and so with a hint of mourning designed to draw your sympathy and a far-off look into the distance I must say...

Bottom line: Nope. Sorry.

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pre-review

i've said it before and i'll say it again:

FAKEDATINGFAKEDATINGFAKEDATINGFAKEDATINGFAKEDATINGFAKEDATINGFAKEDATINGFAKEDATINGFAKEDATINGFAKEDATINGFAKEDATINGFAKEDATINGFAKEDATINGFAKEDATING

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reading all books with LGBTQ+ rep for pride this month!

book 1: the gravity of us
book 2: the great american whatever
book 3: wild beauty
book 4: the affair of the mysterious letter
book 5: how we fight for our lives
book 6: blue lily, lily blue
book 7: the times i knew i was gay
book 8: conventionally yours
book 9: the hollow inside
book 10: nimona
book 11: dark and deepest red
book 12: the house in the cerulean sea
book 13: the raven king
book 14: violet ghosts
book 15: as far as you'll take me
book 16: bad feminist
book 17: a song for a new day
book 18: one last stop
book 19: to break a covenant
book 20: honey girl
book 21: check, please!
book 22: the subtweet
book 23: if we were villains
book 24: everything leads to you
book 25: you have a match
book 26: ziggy, stardust, and me
book 27: all the invisible things
book 28: heartstopper
book 29: boyfriend material
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,202 reviews40.8k followers
October 20, 2022
Normally slow burned books with less action more inner conflicts don’t fit with my expectations! But this one... oh boy... This is quiet an exception! I desperately fell for this book! The humor, the vivid characterization, tempting chemistry captivated me!

Actually I know the reasons why I enjoyed my reading so much. I always love faking- pretending theme including fake boyfriends, fiancees, husbands! And polar opposites who fall for each other kind of storylines always warm my heart! I’ll go blind for them without a second! I love slow building undeniable attraction, huge chemistry!

Of course this amazing formula including a complicated hero who is haunted by rock legend parents, and another more reliable hero who has no common interest with him ( he is bold enough to tell even he is the last man on the earth, he never considers dating him!) and we have lots of posh nobles and stupid posh coworkers but also entertaining sidekicks! So I gathered my popcorn and favorite red blend, molded into my couch to create a bigger dent and I enjoyed every word during my journey!

Let’s take a closer look to learn more about the characters and their dilemmas:

Luc is the great representation of moody, depressed hero, suffering from dysfunctional family issues, resisting to grow up and form a nurturing and proper relationship. And the media coverage about his exploits start to threaten his rising career! His colleagues suggest to find him a right man to fake date for damage control! His best friend gives him a perfect boyfriend idea: ladies and gentlemen I’d like to introduce you the sexiest, most charming barista : here comes Oliver! Nice, sweet, ethical and truly dependable man! He has second thoughts to fake date idea but for his own benefits he finally accepts the offer.

I can predict what will happen next or how this story will end. This is long book and there’s not much happening in this story but I still enjoyed it so much because seeing Luc’s personal growth was so worth it! And Luc and Oliver’s hot as hell chemistry, intimate love story were perfect! But most important thing I truly liked this book is the smart humor! I laughed so much. I had tears!

Normally I don’t like unnecessary angst or unreasonable break up scenes which make me scream to the characters’ face to gather their wits and find their way to each other. But this time angst parts are not horrifying like I expected. Actually it fed the story and added more emotional depth!

No more words! Get my five stars! This is one of the best romance reads of the year!
Profile Image for mwana .
371 reviews207 followers
October 29, 2021
It was just so fucking... heart emoji that I actually had to take a moment.
Permission to squee for the rest of all time. I know I have often referred to romcoms leaving me a pile of warm gooey goodness, but I can't help it if it's true.

The year 2020 is one that will go in the history books as one where the world went topsy turvy. My 2020 disasters bingo card basically became obsolete when China diagnosed the bubonic plague and there was a rabbit ebola outbreak in the US. Clearly the universe is telling us something, but like the admirable ostrich, I shall bury my head in the sand and lose myself in books that make me feel part marshmallow and swan feather pillows.

Boyfriend Material is my favourite fake boyfriend book along with Trick Play. But while Finley's book was a formulaic contemporary romance, this one isn't. It's a delightful breath of fresh air.

Our narrator, Lucien is a hot mess who works for a dung beetle charity. He is the son of a Mic Fleetwood wannabe who fought with Alice Cooper over a grammy and a French lady who is the best book mum I have come across since Molly Weasley. Lucien is also the funniest narrator I've read in a while, but that may be because I'm partial to sarcasts and Brits. His conversations with his mum may have been my favourite thing ever.
"Your father," she declared. "He has not aged well."
"Good to know."
"His head is bald as an egg now and a funny shape. He looks like that chemistry teacher with the cancer."
This was news to me. But then I haven't exactly gone out of my way to keep in contact with my old school. To be honest, I haven't exactly gone out of my way to keep in contact with people who live on the wrong side of London.
"Mr. Beezle has cancer?"
"Not him. The other one."
...
"Do you mean Walter White?"
"Oui oui. And you know, I think he is too old to be hopping around with a flute these days."
Perhaps the best part about this rom com, aside from the obvious slow burn romance, is the colourful cast of side characters. They're all so compelling I could almost ask for a book about all of them. There is the James Royce-Royces (yes, they're both called James Royce-Royce), Bridget who is always dealing with a literary crisis that deserves a series all on its own, Priya the tiny metal art sculptor, Luc's workmates at the dung beetle charity, most memorably Rhys Jones Bowen who has only recently heard about hashtags on Twitter and just discovered the instagram.

Lucien and Oliver's love grows so strong and sure because their flaws are there for us to see. I am also beyond ecstatic that the entire book is in first person. The book also managed to subvert a bunch of romcom tropes going as far as giving us a sunrise reconciliation scene rather than one in the rain, or the airport, or the hotel where the love interest ran away to etc.

I can only hope that we get a sequel because I'd love to see Lucien and Oliver when they're playing boyfriend and boyfriend for real. I mean it was so heartwarming to see these 2 men who have to pretend to be a couple for their own reasons and in the process fall in love and learn how they are people worthy of love and though they're imperfect make perfect boyfriend material... Ooooooooh....

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for ☆ Todd.
1,350 reviews1,485 followers
November 5, 2020

Although I did really like both Luc and Oliver, in the end, after TWELVE DAYS of stop and start reading, I found this book slightly tiring to get through.

At a reported 427 pages, I found the pacing to be significantly slower than I prefer, so I kept putting it down over and over, with less and less enthusiasm to pick it back up again.

I think that if the level of banter had been higher, that would've helped, but as written, to me at least, it felt like the story couldn't really decide if it wanted to pick up the humor and run with it, or stay on the more subdued side.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Luc's (eventual) personal growth, but was less than thrilled about all parts of the story relating to Luc's dad. The non-resolution to the dad plot points left me extremely unsatisfied. I was almost rooting for the man to be hit by a bus by the end, just for *something* to happen on that front.

For those looking for steam, this was very much a fade-to-black story in regards to the bedroom, with the story also, for the most part, keeping the angst to pretty moderate levels.

The story also included a , of which I was *not* a fan. It came totally out of the blue and made absolutely zero sense to me, feeling as if only being included as some sort of "Insert Big Contrived Plot Event Here" formulaic nonsense.

Maybe the story was slightly over-hyped, but with the lower level of feels, more subdued comedy, and dragging pacing, while I "liked" the book, it never turned into "love" for me.

I'd rate it at around 3.5 stars, but still round up due to the consistently good writing and editing.

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Profile Image for Warda.
1,153 reviews18.4k followers
October 17, 2021
Luc:“Genuinely? Do you ship them? Do you have a Tumblr as well?”

Oliver:“I don’t know what any of those words mean.”

The inevitable end conflict of a romance book can either ruin or elevate the story and this one slightly ruined it for me. It dragged, it was unnecessary, I wanted to backhand them both.

But I slept on it and despite all that, I enjoyed it for the most part. Oliver and Luc are too precious.

If you’re looking for books along the lines of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue and Red, White and Royal Blue, I highly do recommend Boyfriend Material.

It’s sarky, it’s British, it’s swoony, it’s fuckin’ sweet, it has a great friendship group, Luc’s mother deserves her own book, Oliver’s parents deserve…hell.

And Luc and Oliver deserve the world.

But really, this book is just joyous. Every time the plot took centre stage, I became irritated because I wanted to be around Oliver and Luc. So yes, I’ve formed an unhealthy attachment to them. As I should.

And I’ve found a new favourite author too.
Profile Image for Angelica.
805 reviews1,130 followers
May 5, 2021
This book. Go read it. You'll like it. I promise.

Before reading I saw some people compare this book to Red, White, and Royal Blue and I got nervous because I really didn't like that book (sorry, not sorry). Still, curiosity won out and I decided that I simply had to read it. And I'm so glad I did because not only was this book kind of hilarious, but it was just plain good!

My favorite thing about this book was the characters. Simply put, I loved them. Every single one of them. The main two, Luc and Oliver, of course, but also all of their friends and all the side characters. Everyone was so likable. So fun to read about. So wonderfully well written!

Luc was such a fun narrator. To be honest, his life is a mess and I fell in love with him. He was sarcastic, salty, and a little mean. He was also sad, lonely, and a little tragic.  On top of that, his inner thoughts were hilarious. I laughed too many times while reading, and when I wasn't laughing I was grinning like a madwoman at everything he thought and said.

Oliver who was honestly, just as sad, lonely, and a little tragic, was also equally as great. I just wanted to shield them both from the harsh realities of their world because neither of them deserved the crappy parents and horrible circumstances they were dealt in life.

Both are dealing with issues of self-perception and self-worth. Luc has spent years in a spotlight that always casts him in a twisted light and he has come to believe about himself all the horrible things the world perceived him to be.

Meanwhile, Oliver has spent his life being held to a standard he can never achieve, causing him to feel inadequate, and like he's always falling short of something, despite striving so hard to seem perfect. And yet, when they two get together they see the best in each other. They see all the parts that they hide from the world and learn to love each other, and especially themselves, despite their many flaws. 

Throughout all other this, the characters, especially Luc, have such wonderful support systems. Luc's friends were such a great group, always having his back. I would have loved to see more of them. Oliver's friends seemed great too but we see far less of them as the book is from Luc's POV. Then there was Luc's mom, whom I loved. His dad was trash, but his mother was everything!

In the end, I enjoyed this book so much. Reading for me is a hobby. I do it because it makes me happy and so, that's what I look for in books. And this book accomplished that. This book just plainly made me happy while reading. For that alone, I recommend it. I am now very curious to see what the author's other books are like.

**I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.**

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Profile Image for Nicole.
446 reviews13.5k followers
November 5, 2021
4,25/5
Świetnie się bawiłam, dużo humoru, nie za bardzo denerwujący główny bohater. Polecam.
Profile Image for Kevin (Irish Reader).
274 reviews3,928 followers
June 30, 2021
If you liked “Red, While and Royal Blue”, then you must read this next!

I absolutely adored this book, it was such a wholesome and cute romance story. The cast of characters was probably one of my main highlights. Both of the main characters, Luc and Oliver, felt so authentic and real to me. The fact that both of them had their own struggles and flaws, really made them feel fully fledged out to me. The side characters were also great and provided so much humour and great one liners. This romance was also a slow burn and fake dating trope, which I just love so much! There was so much tension between the two characters and I was eagerly awaiting for them to admit their feelings. Overall, this was just such a great read which made be laugh and smile. The perfect read to end of pride month! Highly recommend!

I also read this book for my Patreon Bookclub I do every month with my top tier patrons. There is a full video review/reaction to me reading that book available on their if anyone is interested to hear more of my thoughts: patreon.com/irishreader
Profile Image for Nataliya.
745 reviews11.9k followers
June 25, 2022
I’m not a romance connoisseur - most of romance-ish stuff I read tends to have at least some sort of other genre crossover - but I gotta admit this one was kinda adorable.

Before I get any further, I just want to give an appreciative nod to the author: I bet the only reason why Lucien goes by “Luc” is so that when he meets his estranged male parent, we can be treated to the Vader-esque “I am your father” line. Nicely done.
“Luc…” Mum stood, actually wringing her hands. “I know you won’t remember him very well, but this is your father.”

Anyway, I spent a while trying to figure out if this was a standard romcom full of tropes and cliches or whether it was a clever book poking fun at all those cliches by appearing hyper-aware of them. I think I finally settled on the latter. I mean - come on! - the whole plot is deftly summarized early on by Luc and his straight best friend:
“That reminds me. How did your date go?”
“It was awful. We have nothing in common. I think I might have sexually assaulted him. But we’re going to pretend to give it a go anyway because we’re both desperate.”
“I knew you’d work it out.”
I rolled my eyes, but only because she couldn’t see me. “That’s not working something out. That’s making something up.”
“Yes, but you’ll slowly discover that you’re not as different as you initially assumed, and then he’ll surprise you with how thoughtful he is, and then you’ll come to his rescue in an unexpected moment of need, and you’ll fall madly in love with each other and live happily ever after.”

Apparently I was not aware of the “fake boyfriend” trope where two people pretend to be a couple until the fake relationship matures into a real one. What can I say - I’m not a romance connoisseur and it shows. And that’s the trope played here. Luc O’Donnell, a celebrity kid with low self-esteem, a gaggle of devoted lovely friends and a habit of “being a prick as a defence mechanism” for largely unimportant plot contrivance reasons comes to an agreement of forming a “fake boyfriends” relationship with Oliver Blackwood, a “conventionally successful and conventionally attractive” lawyer with low self-esteem, asshole parents, ethical vegetarianism, prissy controlling nature, abs of steel and heart of gold. They are obviously very much into each other, and eventually realize it, and despite several attempts at breaking up for silly reasons required by the plot realize that they are meant to be.
“I think people surprise you and, really, what do you have to lose?”
“Pride? Dignity? Self-respect?”
“Luc, you and I both know you have none of those things.”

And what saves it from complete romcom cheesiness is that for most of the story the book doesn’t take itself very seriously, mocks everything and everyone involved and gives us the whole story through Luc’s immature humor and snarky worldview.
“You’re beautiful, Lucien. I’ve always thought so. Like an early self-portrait of Robert Mapplethorpe. Um”—I practically heard him blush—“not the one with the bullwhip in his anus, obviously.”
I wasn’t sure, but I thought Oliver Blackwood had just called me beautiful. I had to be gracious and calm and mature. “Pro tip: When you’re complimenting someone, avoid the word ‘anus.’”

The situations and people are completely ridiculous and absurdly funny in that ridiculousness - from Alex Twaddle who is unbelievable in his good-natured upper class cluelessness and possibly negative numbers IQ to the surreally absurd conversations in the gentlemen’s club to the obliviously evil interactions that Oliver’s parents have with him — I refuse to believe that those scenes were done seriously and not sarcastically. Because if done sarcastically, they are kinda awesome and that’s how I chose to read it.

And no, I’ll never understand what about Luc was actually attractive to Oliver, or why would Luc’s friends tolerate him all this time or why the paparazzi even care about Luc, and why would James Royce marry James Royce and hyphenate the names for both to become James Royce-Royce, and - really - how Alex manages to walk and breathe at the same time. Not to mention the dung beetle-saving charity named CRAPP. But somehow all that actually gives this book a non-serious slightly absurd charm and I kinda love it for this. And in the end Luc and Oliver are totally sweet.

And I love their version of “dick pics” — sending pictures of old famous men named Richard. Aww...
“You’re prissy and insecure and uptight and use pretentious language because you’re afraid of making mistakes. You’re so controlling you keep your bananas on a separate hook and such a god-awful people pleaser that it borders on self-destructive. Which is weird because you’re also convinced you know what’s best for everybody—and it never occurs to you to actually ask them. You’re smug, patronising, and adhere rigidly to a set of ethics I don’t think you’ve thought through anywhere near as well as you pretend you have. And I honestly think you might have a little bit of an eating disorder. Which you should probably see someone about, by the way, whether you go out with me or not.”

So yeah, 3.5 stars. A perfect distraction in the week when I decidedly tried to avoid politics for the sake of my own nerves and sanity.

——————
Also posted on my blog.
Profile Image for Richard Derus.
2,894 reviews1,927 followers
May 17, 2022
So it's sweet & cute & sneakily hilarious...but really, a 4.75* read for me.

I'm about done with 2020 and its shuddering horrors. I opened this library book to get away from nastiness and grimness. It was a pretty good decision. I slept four hours & even dreamed of these two. The pace dragged twice, once in the Cadwallader Club, once in Milton Keynes, but what a joyous rollicking ride it was getting there then getting away.

I loved laughing so hard it hurt, I loved misting up because the foolish boys couldn't find their common sense with both hands, and mostly I loved and treasured my time away from reality and its ugliness.

While there was, thankfully!, no redemption for the dreadful, awful people here, there was also a bit more "aren't men dumb, when they aren't awful" stuff that didn't ring true to the genre of M/M romance. Not confined to the screwed-up main characters, I mean, that's the entire joke of the book so no downs on that. The mens' fathers, for example, were insensitive boorish users. Yes, one of the mothers was truly ghastly and irredeemable too. But the arch-twit Alex, the caricature hair-trigger Welshman, the delightfully dotty old Earl, well...it felt like there was a really short supply of nuance outside the PoV couple.

But you know what? I laughed so hard it hurt more than once, and if these absurd wankers come around again I will definitely read their further fuck-ups with great hopes and expectations. This is a solid hit. Someone give it to Henry Cavill and tell him to study up on Oliver.
August 27, 2021
| | blog | tumblr | ko-fi | |


Boyfriend Material reads less like fiction than fanfiction. No one acts their age, we have an exceedingly angsty protagonist, a plethora of silly side characters who express themselves using a Tumblresque sort of lingo, unlikely interactions, and a lot tropes.
The novel's sitcom-like structure was predictable and often unfunny. Luc O'Donnell's friends, colleagues, and acquaintances had very one-dimensional roles: we have the straight friend who is always having a crisis at work (one more ludicrous than the other), the lesbian friend who is short and angry, the gay couple that share the same first and last name (and are both referred as James Royce-Royce) and have opposing personalities, a few ridiculously posh characters (who had no clue of anything related to contemporary culture or social norms), the fanciful French mother (who is very much the British idea of a French person), the estranged rock star father...
Luc was so self-centred and monotonous that I soon grew tired of him. He has a few genuinely funny lines (when he's told not to give up he replies: "But I like giving up. It's my single biggest talent") but these are far too few in-between. The narrative tries to make us sympathise with him because he's been sold-out by his ex-boyfriend and because his dad had 0 interest in acting like a father...and yeah, those things aren't great but they don't make his self-pitying narcissism any less annoying. Most of the conversations he has with other people, Oliver in particular, revolve around what he has experienced, what he feels, wants, and fears. I just wish he hadn't been so focused on himself as it made him rather unlikable.
The other characters are really unbelievable and behave unconvincingly. They did not act or speak like actual human beings.
The running gags were just unfunny: most characters treat Oliver's vegetarianism as if it was an obscure dietary lifestyle they could never wrap their heads around, Luc's posh colleagues doesn't understand his jokes, while Welsh characters accuse Luc of being racist against Welsh people (this annoyed me because they kept throwing around the word 'racism' when it had nothing to with racism. Luc not knowing about Welsh history or culture is not racism).
The romance never grabbed me as Oliver was such a stilted character as to be difficult to believe in. Luc often acted like a child with Oliver which made their romance a bit...cringe-y.
Sadly, this novel just didn't work for me. It felt superficial, silly, and juvenile.

Read more reviews on my blog / / / View all my reviews on Goodreads
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,405 reviews1,853 followers
July 8, 2020
This was one of my most anticipated books of the year and while I know this year has gone mostly to shit, and expectations should be rightly tossed into the incinerator at this point, I didn't think I'd have to add BOYFRIEND MATERIAL to the heap of 2020 disappointments. Because this should be everything I could ever want : queer, fake dating, Hall. And it was those things. But I was scraping near the bottom of the barrel to round up past average feelings of like for the first half and by the end I just sat on my couch, looking around, feeling let down.

This is a very OTT kind of romance/comedy/story, and if you're familiar with Hall you might have long ago learned to just roll with it. Or, maybe like me, you'll just be tired of it. I hate to compare but nothing has ever measured up to GLITTERLAND or FOR REAL but I thought maybe this could be a contender for those classic favourites. Unfortunately.. no.

"[..] really, what do you have to lose?
"Pride? Dignity? Self-respect?"
"Luc, you and I both know you have none of those things."

There were moments of enjoyment — pretty much every scene with Luc's mum was great — or feels but overwhelmingly I'm just back to the OTTness of it all. Both in the characters (oh all the random wtf is happening conversations.. they went from could-be-charming to when-will-it-end), some of the events, and also in the handling of things.

I found myself staring into the kindly, twinkly eyes of the late Sir Richard Attenborough.
Wtf is this? I [text] back.
A dick pic.
You are not funny.

I can appreciate some of our protagonist's character growth, because he's a hot mess at the beginning, and he's not quite as bad near the end, and at first I loved the stiff upper lip-y rigidness of the love interest, with the added bonus of some baggage in the family dynamic part, but then it all went sideways on me with him, too, so I don't know where we are in the end. With either of them.

Or, really, the story.

If you're into quirky strange characters, love a heaping pile of British in your contemporaries, you might like this. If you don't normally care for either but you loved Hall's take on FSoG, you also might like this (spoiler : I didn't, and in hindsight I think my dislike of both are rooted in some of the same issues..). Overall, the premise, the concept, it will definitely appeal to many (it appealed to me!) but this just didn't pan out. And as a result of yet another recent failed-to-enjoy-a-new-release from what I thought was a favourite author, I may just resign myself to rereading my two favourite Halls in the future instead of stumbling through anything new. I'm sad about it but alas.. here we are.

2.5 stars

** I received an ARC from Edelweiss and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

---

This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.
Profile Image for Jonathan.
739 reviews3,584 followers
August 3, 2022
re-read: hey god, it's me again... still waiting for that hot barrister boyfriend...

---
why can't i have a fake boyfriend who is a hot barrister with a weirdly dry sense of humour who loves and cherishes me and is literally the best person on this god damn planet
Profile Image for Giorgia Reads.
1,010 reviews1,959 followers
February 19, 2021
3 stars

It was relatively cute BUT:

1.I didn’t like Luc.
2.It was too long
3.Some parts (especially the second half of the book) were really unnecessary and needed to be cut out because it felt like we were going in circles.
4. At some point I got bored and never really recovered.

The saving grace:

I like the fake dating trope and the fact that the two MC’s were representing very different types of personalities (Although Luc was just kinda meh - a bit of an a**hole tbh, Oliver could have done better).

Loved Oliver.
Profile Image for Christy.
3,817 reviews32.4k followers
July 16, 2020
4.25 stars

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Boyfriend Material is my first Alexis Hall book and I am in LOVE. This book was fun, hilarious, emotional, and all around a great read.

Luc O’Donnell had a famous-ish father he’s been estranged from since he was a child and now it’s ruining his life. Literally, he is in the tabloids for the dumbest things just for being his father’s son. Because of this, his image isn’t the best right now. He works for a fundraiser and many don’t want to donate because of this. He has to do something, his job depends on it. So, fake boyfriend it is.

His friend has a friend named Oliver who he’s met a few times, but Luc can’t imagine Oliver would be interested. He’s a barrister and, well, normal. Not Luc’s type at all but the perfect ‘boyfriend material’.
“Explain to me again,” said Oliver finally, “why you need a boyfriend?”
It was the least I owed him. “Mainly for this big fundraiser we’ve got coming up at the end of April. Our donors all think I’m a bad gay.”
He frowned. “What’s a good gay?”
“Someone like you.”
“I see.”

Oliver has a family event coming up where he could use a date as well, so the fake boyfriend operation is in play. I love watching fake relationships turn real. There is seriously nothing better. And watching Luc and Oliver fall for one another was magical.


I listened to the audiobook of Boyfriend Material and it was narrated by Joe Jameson. He did a great job. It was one of the most enjoyable audios I listened to in a while. There were a few parts so funny, I cackled at the grocery store. Thankfully I was wearing a mask so no one saw my face, but I’m sure the noises drew some attention LOL! I can’t count the amount to times this story made me laugh. It was exactly what I needed.

I am a sucker for the enemies to lovers troupe and I also love heroes like Oliver. The ones that are by the book and uptight. I love watching them unravel when they are with someone who is the opposite of them. Luc and Oliver’s romance was fantastic and such a lovely slow-burn.

Honestly this would have been a 5 star for me if it would have had more of an ending.. I would have loved an epilogue, but even an ending that didn’t feel rushed would have been perfect. Still, I loved this one so much and I can’t recommend it enough! I’ll be reading more from this author in the future.
“I’m conscious this could be rather burdensome to hear, but you remain the thing I have most chosen for myself. The thing that's most exclusively mine. The one thing that brings me the deepest joy.”

Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,070 reviews3,613 followers
August 9, 2020
3.75*
This was a fun, delightful rom-com that had me smirking at Luc and his antics! The poor boy just can't get out of his own way!

Luc O'Donnell is the grown child of 2 celebrities. As such, his life is always present in the tabloids...and never in a good light. His boss needs him to prove he’s finally matured and becoming settled in his life. Luc realizes that he quickly needs a boyfriend to show everyone he’s no longer the playboy the media has been made out to be.

Enter Oliver Blackwood.

“Whatta man, whatta man, whatta man
What a mighty good man
Gotta say it again now” - Salt n Pepa


As opposite to Luc as could be. Mature, a barrister, level-headed and in Luc’s eyes, drop- dead gorgeous! Can Oliver successfully play the role of fake boyfriend to help clean up Luc’s image? Or will Luc destroy the only good to come into his life?

I loved the character of Oliver and how their differences made for great attraction. Though hoping for a bit more from the comedic side of this story, it did deliver a few chuckles and overall a fun read.

Thank you to libro.fm for an 🎧 ARC.
Profile Image for Caz.
2,680 reviews1,015 followers
August 5, 2020
THAT, my friends, is how to do a Rom-Com.

*mic drop*

I've given this an A at AAR.

Alexis Hall’s Boyfriend Material is quite possibly the best romantic comedy I’ve ever read.  Almost every page produced a smile, a grin, a snort or a full-out belly-laugh – and I honestly can’t remember the last time I read a book that produced full on giggling of the sort that made my family members give me funny looks.

I love a good fake-relationship story and this is a VERY good one.  The premise is nothing new; our PoV character Lucien – Luc – O’Donnell has appeared in one-too-many embarrassing photos in the press and is told to clean up his image or be fired from his job.  But Alexis Hall turns this commonly used plotline into something special; yes, it’s frequently hilarious, but it’s also charming, touching, awkward, sharply observant and refreshingly self-deprecating, as is evident right from the start in the way the author pokes fun at the premise itself by having Luc working for a charity dedicated to the preservation of the dung-beetle, whose name, in acronym form, is CRAPP.
Turns out, the one thing worse than having a famous father who blew up his career like a champagne supernova is having a famous father who’s making a fucking comeback.

Twenty-eight year-old Luc is the son of a famous rock-star couple whose dad abandoned both Luc and his mother when Luc was just three years old.  For much of his life he’s been constantly compared to his reckless, self- destructive absentee father  in the media, the slightest infraction or cock-up on his part inevitably leading to smug ‘like father, like son’ pronouncements, but he learned to live with it (mostly). Five years before the book opens, Luc’s long-term boyfriend sold his story to the tabloids for fifty grand, which sent him into a downward spiral that, for a while, served only to reinforce people’s worst assumptions about him.  Now, he’s a mass of insecurities, a cagey, grumpy, paranoid mess with serious trust and self-esteem issues who has made an art form out of pushing people away.
Because somewhere along the line, I’d turned getting ahead of the story into a lifestyle.

With his father making a comeback as a judge on a reality TV show, Luc is once again fair game as far as the paparazzi is concerned. So when a perfectly innocuous photo of him appears in a tabloid complete with sensationalist byline, Luc’s stuffy boss at the Coleoptera Research and Protection Project (CRAPP), worried about losing donors over his reported antics, gives him an ultimatum.  Repair his reputation or he’s out of a job.  Luc has no idea how to do this – until a colleague (with the wonderfully unlikely name of Alex Twaddle – seriously, many of the names in this book are Dickensian in their ridiculousness!) suggests he should get himself an appropriate boyfriend to be seen around with and then take to the upcoming CRAPP fundraiser.

Which is how come Luc ends up agreeing to go on a not-date with the terribly proper, uptight barrister Oliver Blackwood.  They have absolutely nothing in common other than the need to have a plus-one to take to an upcoming event – Luc’s fundraiser and Oliver’s parents’ anniversary – so they agree to be publicity-friendly fake-boyfriends for a few weeks, then have a fake-break-up and pretend it never happened.  No problem.

Well, it should be no problem, but as their fake-relationship progresses and Luc starts to get to know Oliver, he begins to realise that behind the serious, fussy, perfectly-presented exterior is a man he could come to like very much – for real.

Luc is pretty self-absorbed, but given his circumstances, it’s not too surprising; he’s famous-by-association and has lived under some sort of spotlight for much of his life.  When other kids were getting drunk or stoned at parties nobody batted an eyelid, but when he did it, it made its way into the papers with copy about his being a ‘wild child’ or ‘his father’s son’.   He’s short-tempered, sharp-tongued and has a talent for saying the wrong thing, but he’s endearing and vulnerable, despite his outward prickliness, and I loved watching him gradually coming to accept that he was worth loving and deserved to have good things in his life.

And Oliver, while seemingly Luc’s total opposite is absolutely perfect for him.  He’s a bit stuffy – although as Luc discovers, has a very dry sense of humour – and is sometimes a bit preachy, but it all comes from a good place and there’s something about him that is completely and utterly charming.  He’s had lots of boyfriends, but no relationship has lasted, something Oliver himself puts down to his being boring.  To start with, Luc is inclined to agree, but soon starts to wonder.  Oliver may be a bit uptight, but he’s also kind, considerate and intuitive (plus, he’s seriously hot) – so how come he’s never had a relationship last more than six months?

Luc and Oliver’s romance is beautifully written and well-paced, and is full of snark, tenderness and genuine affection.  From their very first fake-date, the chemistry between them sings, and their gradual progression from fake boyfriends to ‘um… this doesn’t feel fake any more’ is extremely well done.  The story is related entirely from Luc’s PoV, but Mr. Hall does a great job of bringing Oliver to life through his eyes, and showing the reader things that Luc sees but doesn’t SEE.  Luc is so caught up in his own problems that he fails to see that Oliver is just as screwed up and insecure in many ways as he is – and I appreciated that part of Luc’s journey towards being a little less hard on himself was in learning to recognise when others – notably Oliver – were struggling, too.
He’d helped me see that my life was better than I’d thought it was… that I was better than I’d thought I was.

The sub-plot concerning Luc’s conflicting emotions about his father – who has discovered he has cancer – is really well done, and Luc’s circle of friends – their WhatsApp group variously titled “Queer Comes the Sun”, “One Gay More” and “All About That Ace” – are a bonkers, quirky bunch who clearly adore each other and wouldn’t be out of place in a Richard Curtis film.

Luc and Oliver light up the pages whenever they’re together and while Mr. Hall’s trademark humour and love of pop-culture are very much present throughout, there’s a more serious, emotional side to the book, too, a story about self-worth and acceptance and the need to be true to oneself. Romantic, funny, silly, messy, tropey and completely wonderful, Boyfriend Material is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year.  I was captivated from start to finish and I’m sure you will be, too.
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746 reviews410 followers
September 11, 2020
This book was many things for me.

A bit on the YA side, it's not exactly my usual cup of tea, but if there is one thing I want to point out right after finishing this story:
The character development is absolutely amazing.

I love seeing a character grow. Lucien actually grows so much he turned from a guy I really didn't care for to a man I (and probably any gay guy with his head screwed on right) would be super proud to call my boyfriend.

Lucien is difficult to like at the beginning. Living in his famous rock star father's large footsteps, he's an easy target for the tabloids and with him making mostly bad romantic decisions, he finds himself the target of bad press more often than not.

So when his fundraising job is at stake because his boss doesn't want to have his public image damage her dung beetle campaign (yeah, that's not a typo), he's in desperate need of a life changing event. Or at least a respectable boyfriend who makes his life seem to suck a little less in case a reporter spots him in public.

Among his wider circle of friends is uptight lawyer Oliver Blackwood. He has a similar issue and needs a pretend date for his parents' upcoming anniversary party.

Together they become fake boyfriends who help each other out and spend a lot of time fake-boyfriending, until 'fake' doesn't seem to cut it anymore and the usual fears set in that have led to both guy's being hopelessly single in the first place.

Only this time - and for the sake of an entertaining story - they need to grow and understand that they're good for each other - with and without their fake boyfriend agreement.

I really loved the humor in this. I rarely laughed this hard reading romance. And this time it was genuinely funny, not the awkward unintentional ROTFL moments some romances tend to suffer from.

I should also say this book has some lengths and some of these guys' decisions are so unsatisfying and weird that I wanted to throw the book to the wind a couple of times.

But as I said, their character development is totally amazing and it takes some really low places to reach the amazing heights that impressed me so much.

So yes, I am definitely satisfied and totally recommend this book.

I'm happy I found a super skilled author who shared some entertaining jokes with us through his characters :-)

5 stars!
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