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Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Love, Fandom, & The Best Fat Representation: Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade

SPOILER ALERT

by Olivia Dade
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Adult
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: October 6th 2020
Source: ARC received for review
Star Quotient: ★★★★
Kiss Factor: ✷✷✷✷

There's a reason why Olivia Dade is one of my favorite authors. She writes nuanced stories with some of the best fat representation in romance. With her Avon debut, she takes her writing to another dimension. Spoiler Alert had me on an emotional rollercoaster but more importantly, it left me with the happiest feelings in my heart.

I love how Olivia Dade writes heroines who are fat, fabulous, and 100% comfortable in their own bodies. It's easy to go down the path of self-hate with plus-sized heroines but Olivia Dade is an author who understands and respects her fat heroines. That's not to say that the characters have it all easy. Actually, the author highlights all the fat-shaming that April, the protagonist, faces. At the same time, April tries hard to fight back against the fat-shaming, particularly when it came to her loved ones. There was one scene that I read and re-read over and over again because it was agonizing and all too real, but also incredibly inspiring because of the way April reacts. I wish Spoiler Alert was a book I had when I was grappling with my own fatness and body image. I know not every book character has to be a role model but I truly think that April is a character many readers can and should look up to. Even though this paragraph has been entirely devoted to April's body, rest assured that this isn't the focus of her character. In fact, she was all-around fabulous and I loved all the facets of her charming personality. I knew I was going to get along well with her when she started nerding out about rocks and her geology career. Then, there was her love and devotion to all things Gods of Gates, a Game of Thrones-esque book series and TV show. You can tell that it's an important part of her life and though I'm personally not into fanfiction or nerddom, I thought her enthusiasm for it was contagious.

Olivia also has a knack for writing the best cinnamon roll heroes and Marcus is by far one of the softest heroes she has written. I have rarely enjoyed celebrity characters in romance novels, but of course, Olivia would be the author to change that. Marcus is not at all what you would expect of a big star. He has created a "himbo" image of himself in front of the media as a way to avoid incessant prying from the public and the media, but he is actually a very smart man with layers upon layers to his personality. Growing up, his parents dismissed his learning disability and didn't view him as a particularly intelligent person. This has inflicted serious emotional and mental damages on Marcus. He feels like he needs to hide and only allows his true self to emerge under the guise of anonymity in his fandom. I found Marcus to be so endearing and I had the toughest time being upset at him even when he was keeping things from April.

With characters as beautifully fleshed-out as April and Marcus, there was no doubt that a romance between them would be just as remarkable. It starts off when a photo of April cosplaying goes viral on social media and attracts the attention of some douche bags. Marcus asks her out on a date not knowing that this is the same person who he has been conversing online with and exchanging Gods of Gates fanfiction with. Though I'm not always the biggest fan of secret-keeping in romance books, I understood Marcus' reasoning - it could quite literally have cost him his career to reveal the truth about his online persona. The relationship itself was really sweet and I thought April and Marcus brought out the best in each other. I especially appreciated just how open and communicative they were in their relationship besides Marcus' secret, of course. They were so into each other from the start. Ugh. Makes my sappy little heart so happy thinking about their banter and interactions.

Spoiler Alert is a must-read for romance readers especially into insights about fandoms and social media. It's wonderful and I will be happy reading only Olivia Dade's charming stories for the rest of my life!

Let's chat!
Do you enjoy books about fandoms? What are some books you've read that have great fat representation?
Let me know in the comments below!