The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun
Publication Date: September 7, 2021 (soon!)
TW: (from authors website): On-page anxiety, panic attacks, and experiences with depression, Conversations surrounding OCD and mental illness stigmas, including workplace discrimination (off-page, alluded to), Drinking and discussions of alcohol dependency, Familial estrangement and rejection based on mental illness (off-page, alluded to), Brief references to homophobia and racism (all challenged)
Plot: Charlie created a massive tech company and was recently let go. Now he has the reputation of being “hard to work with”. Enter Ever After, a dating reality show, that Charlie agrees to be the lead of to fix his image to be able to work in tech again. Dev is a romantic and Charlie’s handler and after a rough start, is the only one who gets how Charlie works. Dev promises Charlie, he will help him fall in love on this show.
WHAT I LOVED
- EVERYTHING this novel is too much (in the best way).
- This is being billed as Red, White & Royal Blue meets One to Watch which had me very interested. I really liked RWRB (so did Bree, see her review here) and One to Watch (see my review here) so this sounded right up my alley. I’m wary of comp titles lol, but this one is literally is such a good mix.
- I’m a sucker for a reality TV romance. I love (hate) the Bachelor and I’m pretty deep in The Pit.
- I don’t glamorize the show and this book is pretty self-aware that the show is a mess and not about love.
- If you watch any Bachelor shows I recommend the podcast Game of Roses, they look at the show as a sport. They also have a book releasing next year.
- I really came to love Dev’s ex-boyfriend who also works on the show. I hate when books only show the negative parts of exes and paint them as horrible people and Ryan does suck at first, but he isn’t a terrible person.
- Charlie and Dev are super cute together and I swooned like a lot. Love as a pet name has been forever changed.
- Almost everyone is part of the LGBTQ+ community and is in therapy.
- A big plot line of Dev’s is coming to terms with his depression and how to handle it. There are talks about therapy and mental health and loving someone who suffers from OCD/anxiety/depression.
- I do want to note that many of Charlie and Dev’s conversations are very emotional and I cried a few times during this book.
- I loved Charlie so much. I felt for him so much and some of his dialogue and internal thoughts made me cry. He is questioning his sexuality and I loved the conversations about being asexual/demisexual etc. This is really the worst time for him to be questioning his sexuality, but it really raises the stakes for the plot lol.
- I’m a sucker for conversation/banter between lover interests and wow their conversations are so soft and cute. But they also discuss tons of important issues and topics.
WHAT I DID NOT LOVE
- I believe the author is white and I’m a bit conflicted about that. Dev is Indian American and has a POV. I am not sure if the author consulted with sensitively readers etc. I will say that I am not a BIPOC and thus will refer to their judgement on the representation and will link any reviews I find by Indian Americans. I’ve read a lot of reviews and hardly any of them mention this so (so far) I have not found anything.
- Honestly, nothing else. I wanted a bit more from the ending, but dang I loved this.
*thanks to the publisher for an eARC; all thoughts are my own*
Thanks for reading!