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Spoiler Alert


Spoiler Alert

For fans of YOU HAD ME AT HOLA and CONVENTIONALLY YOURS comes SPOILER ALERT from newcomer Olivia Dade. Equal parts humorous, romantic and incisive, this is a pitch-perfect romance novel that is sure to draw scores of new readers to the genre.

Marcus Caster-Rupp is the devilishly handsome star of the hit television show “Gods of the Gates,” an “American Gods”-like fantasy show based on a book series of the same name. Much as in our own world, the writers have butchered the books and disappointed countless fans (cough, “Game of Thrones,” cough), and yet viewers cannot stop tuning in to see Marcus riding horses, sword fighting and passionately making out with goddesses as Aeneas, the star of the show. For years, Marcus has gotten by on his good looks and “golden retriever” routine, which has allowed him to squeeze by in-depth interviews with a cute remark and a lift of his shirt. However, with the show coming to an end, Marcus is grappling with how he wants to control his narrative moving forward. Should he continue to play the hot dumb guy and take on roles full of lackluster plots and busty female leads, or should he reveal himself to be much more than Aeneas?

"Going into SPOILER ALERT, you know, of course, that Marcus and April will end up together, but the way that Dade unfolds every element of this star-crossed love affair will shock you. Her characters are some of the most fully rendered I have ever read in romance..."

On the other side of the screen we meet April Whittier, a devoted and passionate “Gods of the Gates” fan. Like many fans, April has grown frustrated with the shock-inducing plotlines that bear no resemblance to the books or even to the characters’ own actions, but she cannot stop thinking about her favorite “GotG” pairing: Aeneas and Lavinia. April airs her frustrations with the show on a popular fanfiction site where she writes and rewrites new stories set in the “GotG” world, posting them under the pseudonym UnapologeticLaviniaStan. For months, she has been trading stories and having intellectual discussions about the show with Book!AeneasWouldNever, one of the few men writing fanfiction about Aeneas and Lavinia, and an intelligent and socially aware one at that.

Although April clearly adores “GotG,” she knows that writing fanfiction is not a passion that will earn her friends, promotions or any positive recognition in her work as a geologist, so she has kept her online identity secret for as long as she can remember. But that all changes when she takes on a new job and decides to be more open about her interior life, starting by replying to a Twitter thread about Lavinia fans with a picture of herself cosplaying as her favorite character. April knows the internet can be tough, and she is ready to mute and block people discussing her weight or physical appearance. But what she is 100% not at all prepared for is for the star of her favorite show to tweet her and ask her to dinner.

Naturally, the internet explodes, and April’s photos go viral, sparking plenty of nasty comments online. After a few private messages with Marcus, she agrees to meet him. Although she has eyes and can see that he is perfect physically, she is not interested in his dumb guy routine and, in true geologist fashion, readies herself to dig a bit deeper as they continue to see one another. But what April doesn’t realize is that Marcus has some pretty big secrets up his sleeve, most notably his frustrations with the showrunners of “GotG,” which he works out by writing his own fanfiction as, you guessed it, Book!AeneasWouldNever.

All romance readers know that one of the best elements of any romance is the HEA, happily ever after. Going into SPOILER ALERT, you know, of course, that Marcus and April will end up together, but the way that Dade unfolds every element of this star-crossed love affair will shock you. Her characters are some of the most fully rendered I have ever read in romance; not only are they living dual lives, both are at a crossroads --- April with her new job, Marcus with unemployment. Their moments of self-discovery add so much to the tension of the romance, with each character learning to love himself or herself at the same time as learning to love one another. I felt so deeply for Marcus, but I was completely enamored with April. I loved that her journey to self-acceptance was not focused on her weight, but rather on her happiness and pride in her accomplishments. Although Dade handled her physical descriptions beautifully, they were never the focus of her journey, making this an A+ for representation.

Beyond the stunning and heartfelt romance, what really makes the book shine is its incisive portrayals of real and controversial subjects. Dade uses her otherwise fluffy and unputdownable romance to raise awareness on a myriad of topics, including (but not at all limited to) online bullying, fat-shaming, food policing, parental abuse, learning disabilities and the #MeToo movement. The arts of cosplay and fanfiction writing are effectively incorporated into the story, adding much-needed levity to the otherwise serious issues. I haven’t seen such a perfect mix of timely conversations and laugh-out-loud drama since THE FRIEND ZONE, another romance lover’s favorite.

Whether you’re still smarting at the series finale of “Game of Thrones,” planning your next Comic Con trip, or simply in need of a smart, snappy romance, you’re sure to find something to love in SPOILER ALERT.

Reviewed by Rebecca Munro on October 16, 2020

Spoiler Alert
by Olivia Dade

  • Publication Date: October 6, 2020
  • Genres: Comedy, Fiction, Romance
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Avon
  • ISBN-10: 0063005549
  • ISBN-13: 9780063005549