Cover Image: Boyfriend Material

Boyfriend Material

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Initial comment:

The cover looks very similar to Red White and Royal Blue. They are both Nice romances with nice male MCs. The writing in both humorous and witty, with strong social comedy. Both have a UK element, one rather more than the other. THAT’S IT. THESE ARE VERY DIFFERENT BOOKS.  I’m finding the way some reviews are saying the books are so so similar, because the covers are, disconcerting.

I freakin’ hate the freakin’ fake boyfriend trope. I was only interested in reading this book due to the author. I have had a mixed experience of Hall’s work. Some books of his I have not gotten past the first chapter. Others of his, are beloved rereads. 

I should also note that I apply a higher standard to Hall than most other writers, because he is just that good.

First point: both guys are nice.

There is a similar pattern to the billionaire books - the flibbertigibbet and the staid “successful” guy - and the flow-on from that. That is all I am saying - no spoilers here. This is the faintly paler beginners version.

Second point:  Alex and co. Honestly, it is worth reading the book for all the side characters. Alex (and Miffy) had me repeatedly howling and crying with laughter. I’ll probably be rereading the book just for them - also the MC’s mum. I was interested to learn other French people refer to gay people as “a gay” too.

Third point; Hall is a very skilled fluid writer. He’s the real thing, with a long term commitment to romance. His writing, in whatever genre, is always superior, and usually hilarious. He’s big on social comedy. I adore good social comedy.

Points that pulled me a bit out of the story (normally, having enjoyed the book so much I would be gushing incoherently):

First point: I am passionate about dung beetles, so the ha ha ha stuff about dung beetles was a bit annoying. In the Australian countryside we had an intense problem with flies, until the government introduced the dung beetle programme, and now we don’t. (When outside, you had to constantly wave your hand in front of your face due to all the flies (which grow in manure) and it was called “the Australian salute”. It’s also why Australian country hats used to have corks hanging around the rim. 

Second point: I used to work in appellate jurisdictions so the stuff about criminal barristers jarred me a bit. They aren’t highly regarded because they tend to be on-the-fly workers (they have to be - it’s the nature of the way the criminal justice system works) who have to rely on clever quick often dodgy quick-stepping. Also the pay isn’t great unless you are defending organised crime. The other reason it’s not highly regarded is because it is often where people start out at the bar. If they are still doing low level crim work, it tends to mean they aren’t very good. Or employed by legal aid and need to stay in the job for financial security. All this stuff fed into the book for me. This is, of course, all coming from me, the reader. You might, even say, in a sense, that I have an eggshell skull. 

Third point: the Greek chorus of annoying friends including the pushy best friend. Wtf is it with m/m romance where the MC has to have a pushy female best friend, who pushes the MC against his will into doing “what’s best for him”? Writers, please find another way to push the plot forward. I am so over this one.

Fourth point: why don’t the characters use airplanes? Or trains? The book was written before the global pandemic. There’s all this stuff about having to drive 4 hours here, and five hours there, (and back). What’s with that? Is that a UK thing? It’s stupid.

Fifth point: the story is very strongly located in London. Place plays a big role in Hall’s stories. Because I was a bit pulled out of this story, I noticed more all the local references which I didn’t understand. Living in australia, I am used to reading books set in places I have never been to. I’m not really complaining, just noting. If you are English, I’m sure this book will have a whole layer of enjoyment absent to the rest of us. It’s probably analagous to a marvel movie - great fun if you know nothing about the MCU, but if you do, there are infinite layers of More enjoyment available.

All in all, this is good quality Alexis Hall fare. It is good quality romance written by someone happily soaked in the genre. If you or a friend are new to m/m romance, this is a good place to start, or to continue with. There is a strong likelihood that this book will end up on your keeper shelf. There is also a heightened likelihood of glomming everything else Hall has ever written, if you have not already.
Was this review helpful?
3/5 stars 

Thank you SO much Netgalley for the advanced copy. Boyfriend Material was one of my most anticipated for the year and I am beyond grateful to have this opportunity! All opinions are my own. 

Luc O'Donnell has never wanted the spotlight, but being the only son of two rock legends, dealing with paps & reporters is inevitable. He feels stuck; He has a job he's overqualified for, crippling depression and a never-ending spiral of self-doubt. After an unfortunate incident makes headlines, his job is just one misstep away from destroyed. In order to save himself (and his reputation), Luc needs to find a nice, normal relationship to convince everyone he's okay. Enter Oliver Blackwood. Luc & Oliver decide to be publicly (fake) boyfriends until the dust can settle and that's where our story begins. 

For the most part, I enjoyed Boyfriend Material. If you like British humor, quirky characters, and tropey romance, I'm sure you'll like this one too. I read it in about 24 hours - I sat on my couch all day Saturday and read it (according to my screen reader, I spent 6.5 hours doing so). It was addicting and all I wanted was to learn more about them! 

Luc & Oliver are fundamentally flawed and both need a distraction from their issues which is what makes them so incredibly interesting to read about. I'm a sucker for fake-dating tropes and Hall does it exceptionally here. Their banter is fun and you start feeling attached to them very early on. You want to know more about them and are rooting for them as much as their friends and families are (well, most of their families...). 

Boyfriend Material tackles a lot of issues, but I think it's discussion on mental health and self-acceptance is extraordinary and poignant. I identified a lot with Oliver's incessant need for perfection, even down to his ethical dilemmas. The small sections between them where they're discussing their insecurities and building each other back up are some of my favorites and I wanted MORE of these soft moments. 

I have two main issues with this book. The biggest detraction were the side characters. I really struggled to identify or even like ANY of them. Alex was unnecessarily dense, the Royce-Royces felt a bit like stereotypes, and Bridge... I just found myself wanting more from them that I never got. (Except Rhys - any Welsh-advocate is okay in my book). They're extremely quirky and I feel like that was part of the problem for me. Second, I think it was a little too long. I think some additional editing and taking out some passages would make this feel more succinct. 

Overall, very enjoyable and would definitely recommend it!
Was this review helpful?
Boyfriend Material is an LGBTQ+ romcom centered on the journey of Luc O’Donnell, reluctantly thrust back into the spotlight thanks to his famous dad making a creative comeback after relative obscurity for 20 years. Luc, who needs a respectable boyfriend to ‘clean up’ his image for an upcoming fundraiser at his job (thanks to some compromising photographs being published), agrees to fake date Oliver Blackwood, prim and proper barrister who seems to be, for all intents and purposes, way out of Luc’s league.

My favourite part of this book was the relationship between Luc and Oliver. They were by far the most developed characters—one would hope, given they’re the protagonists in a romance novel—and I had the strongest feelings for both of them. Funny, frustrating, emotional, heartfelt, tender, and vexing are all adjectives I applied to their relationship at various points. The chemistry between them was solid and the trajectory of their relationship was both believable enough for me to root for them and dramatic enough to keep me entertained.

Unfortunately, I didn’t love this book as much as I hoped it would, and I think it has a lot to do with two elements specifically. First, the brand of humor in Boyfriend Material missed the mark for me personally. The heavy reliance on British and pop culture references and the emphasis on surface level banter/recurring gags such as sending one another pictures of famous Richards and calling them ‘Dick pics’ left me unamused. Second, I found the numerous side characters in the novel, everyone from Luc’s mother to Oliver’s group of friends, extremely one-note. Given how much time we spent with characters other than Luc and Oliver, this one dimensionality had me feeling challenged in various points of the novel.

Overall, this is one of those books I think many folks will adore but was a lukewarm read for me at best. Boyfriend Material delivers, for the most part, what it promises: an MLM romcom with lots of enjoyable fake dating tropes and a convincing romance. If you enjoy character archetypes dialed up to the extremes and a heaping side of British in your contemporary romcom, you’ll enjoy Boyfriend Material.

Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
I’d like to thank Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an e-Arc copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book was  a roller coaster ride. 
It was so cute and fluffy that at times I couldn’t help but say awww out loud. The relationship between Oliver and Lucien was really cute and I loved their inside jokes. 

If you are looking for a fluffy read that makes you lough out loud and cry at times, this is the book for you. 

But what I enjoyed the most was the character development. 

You have Lucien who at the beginning of the book, has a messed up life. Because of his famous father, his every move ends up being in the news. His father left him and his mother, when he was three and his boyfriend of five years sold their story to the press. 
This left Lucien in a bad place. After that, Lucien never had a boyfriend again; because he was afraid that they would all betray him. He is traumatized because of the stories that people write about him. 

But then he meets Oliver. 
Oliver helps Lucien get through... well, everything.
He helps him, deal with his father. He makes him realize, that the stories that people write about him are not true.

But then, something bad happens.
Once Lucien is in a better place Oliver leaves. Because he thought that their relationship wasn’t real. 

It was so cute, when Lucien went to his house and told Oliver that he loves him and that he doesn’t have to be perfect. He told Oliver that he shouldn’t try to please him and that to him he was perfect. 

This book wrecked me emotionally. 
I don’t think I’ll ever recover.
This is a book disguised in fluff and cuteness but beware, it WILL hurt.
Was this review helpful?
It’s rare that a book can make you laugh on virtually every single page but Boyfriend Material was successful.  I loved it from start to finish and the short chapters made it even more difficult to put down.  Luc is the son of a rock star father who abandoned him and his mother when he was little.  A few years ago, his ex-boyfriend leaked details of Luc’s life to the press and he’s been in a downward spiral for a while.  In order to clean up his image to save the charity he works for, Luc starts fake-dating Oliver, an up-tight, respectable lawyer.  It is only supposed to last until they both have a partner for upcoming events, but along the way they start to fall for each other and the fake lines become more blurred.
As the main character, Luc’s voice is fresh and funny and while he’s a bit of a despicable dumpster fire of a human being, he also manages to be loveable and sympathetic.  Readers will be pleased and surprised as they follow along with his character growth.  
Oliver’s character is a bit more difficult to accept at first.  His dialogue seems a bit more forced in a “does anyone actually speak like this?” kind of way.  But as the story moves on you begin to see the cracks in his armor and Luc discovers that Oliver is not as perfect as he thought—and thoroughly accepts and loves him for it.
The plot contains several of the best romance tropes: fake-dating, enemies-to-lovers, opposites attract.  It makes things a bit predictable but it’s the journey that’s important and while I knew it was coming, the breakup still blind sighted me.  The finale seemed a little hurried.  I felt like there was so much buildup in the subplot of Luc’s relationship with this father that the end result was not as satisfying, but perhaps that was just because, based on the trope, it was always going to be a happy ending with Oliver.
As an LGBTQ novel, the story included a strong, encouraging community in Luc’s friends, co-workers, and family.  It emphasized the importance of this kind of support in a sweet, playful way.  On the flip side, it offered views on the microaggressions that come with acceptance vs inclusion from Oliver’s parents and Luc’s charity donors.  
If you’re looking for a funny, sweet, romantic summer read (that’s also delightfully British), this one’s for you!
Was this review helpful?
I went into Bᴏʏғʀɪᴇɴᴅ Mᴀᴛᴇʀɪᴀʟ with my eyes wide open. I had no expectations whatsoever, except what I’d read in the blurb. If I just looked at the cover, I’d think it was a sweet, fluffy romance between two very different guys.
And it was. But it also wasn’t. Sure, this is plenty sweet and lots fluffy, but it’s also emotional, with serious issues like self-esteem and self-worth. It broached subjects like abandonment, homophobia, "the wrong kind of gay", unhealthy expectations, broken trust and more.

Luc's a kind of broken man with serious trust issues, which is totally understandable considering him being the son of two former rock stars (one of whom walked out on him when he was three) and being featured in the gossip rags constantly as a slut and drug addict. Which isn't exactly accurate. Anyway, he's about to lose his job at the dung beetle charity because he's seen as the "wrong kind of gay" (which is so ridiculous I can't even, but when I think about it, it probably happens in real life?) and quickly needs to find someone who can make him look good. Presenting: Oliver, clean-cut, healthy barrister who's so adult, he even hangs his bananas on a special hook and so out of Luc's league it's not even funny. It's a bit rocky in the beginning, but soon they spend quite a lot of time together and perhaps there's more to people than it appears on the surface?

It’s also really fun and I loved being inside Luc’s head. I would have loved it even more if we’d get some insight to Oliver, as well - you know how I love dual points of view - but I think it worked out. The tension between them is marvelous at times. It’s a bit of a slow burn - there’s no real insta-love moment and their first (real) kiss happens at around 50% and that’s exactly how I like my romance. It also isn't explicit and that fits, because even if there's lots of innuendos and flirtation and Luc's been using hookups as a way to not get close to people, sex isn't the main thing here. Feelings are, obvs.

What could have been better? Well, there were some stereotypes I can't quite get behind and some people in this book were really, really stupid. Like, the unbelievable kind of stupid. It was fun at first, but then it got a bit old and felt mean. All the characters that had more than a few lines in the book had some sort of quirky personality, though.
Anyway, I just like it and would recommend it to people who liked Red, White and Royal Blue and The Flatshare. Mostly because I got the same feeling when reading them all.

4 of 5 dung beetles

/ Denise
Was this review helpful?
What can I say? Lucien may be one of the wittiest characters I have encountered in years. His life might be a train wreck but his humor and sarcasm are a work of art. Oliver may appear to be his complete opposite but they discover all the ways that their differences complement each other as their pretend relationship slowly becomes more and more real. The supporting cast of characters add to the fun and the charm of the entire book. This was my first Alexis Hall book but it won't be my last.

This book is very British and as an American I did find myself needing to look up several words and phrases along the way. I have always enjoyed British humor and I enjoy learning the new words and phrases and reading on my Kindle makes it pretty easy to get a quick definition of most terms.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
This is very much of the air of Bridget Jones to me and I loved it! It's such a fun read and a fun addition to LGBTQ romance. The main character of Luc is hilarious. He's self-deprecating, fiery and just so funny. He's a hoot and so is his family. Oliver is very much the Mr. Darcy proper guy, but he's so much more than the pristine exterior. They're coming together in the fake relationship is hilarious and seeing their relationship go from fake to real was very easy to enjoy and want to continue reading.
Was this review helpful?
Hello from the other side. This is me, a person who has finished Boyfriend Material and I'm highkey emotional still.

Boyfriend Material took me to an emotional place I never saw coming. I related to so many aspects of the characters — Luc and Oliver. When you start you meet Luc and he isn't in a good place at the moment. His ex sold a story to the press about him for a lot of money, making it hard for Luc to trust anyone else except his mom and his group of friends. So this book is his journey to get to that place he thought he would never reach because he had in his head he was going to be /that/ way because that's just the way things are. And no, people can become a better version of themselves if they want to. It takes everything you have and it's clear in the way Luc goes through so many ups and downs in this novel.

I constantly put in my updates that this is a very adorable novel. This relationship starts as a fake relationship because reasons and they both need a fake date for different events. Done and done. They both think they're so different and they don't even like each other, but I loved seeing the moment this changes. And it changes really early on like Luc and Oliver texting that they miss each other, if they can have lunch together even though no cameras will see them. The moments where they supported each other, those were the moments that made this relationship so very real.

There is so much humor. I think there are a lot of things I didn't understand or like got... but there are so many scenes where everyone is just saying unreal stuff. Like full conversations where I have no clue what is happening and Luc also has no clue but he goes along. He has so many friends and coworkers who just like to say whatever they feel like saying and it creates wonderful and funny situations.
Was this review helpful?
Boyfriend Material by Alexis hall was an interesting read. Granted I always prefer my MlM not written by straight white women , I was intrigued by Boyfriend Material.

The setting felt very rom-com movie-ish when I read that it was about a two gay dudes , one with a man slut image and the other one a Barister .. I fell for it. I had to read this.

But the conclusion I came to in the first few chapters was , our MC Lucien looks down on stereotype English people . A lot. Which got ugly and old real fast.

Lucien isn't like that. None of his friend group is like that. But every single person who Lucien hasn't made aquaintance is. Like..? I honestly wondered if it was a joke played by an author from another country or something but Alexis is English.

I don't know why Alexis chose such a setting and stereotyped characters for his book. I have no idea. But it wasn't right . At all.

Lucien is more like an American MC starting with his appearance from his language. I swear I don't remember anyone else swearing as much though the book consists of similar under 30 characters thru and thru.
Was this review helpful?

I got a few chapters in and, as someone that doesn’t identify as LGBTQ, and not knowing how the author identifies, I found the way they used “wrong kind of gay” as a catalyst for Luc’s job asking him to get a fake boyfriend to clear his image very offensive. I had to reread the paragraphs like three times just to make sure I was seeing what I was seeing. And I was, there was no mistake.

So I don’t know how this story plays out or ends, maybe it’s great as the reviews seem to say, but I honestly can not suffer any further through this D-list version of what I assume is close to red, white, and royal blue
Was this review helpful?
This is how you do a romcom. Sure, it's a fake dating AU, but one with depth and charm. The characters were sweet and real and the story had the right amount of humor. I do feel the story could have been improved by reading some of the tale from Oliver's perspective. He was also struggling throughout the story and most of his issues didn't get brought to light until the end. I would have liked another 5-10 chapters to finish it out. I certainly wouldn't say no to a sequel.
Was this review helpful?
Definitely a quick and addicting read... Couldn’t put it down. Loved both the main characters. 4.5 stars!
Was this review helpful?
The fake dating trope is always a win for me, even when there isn't too much faking going on which seemed to be the case here. 
This was a sweet romance with two vulnerable MC's who slowly find their way. 

Luc is honestly a bit of a mess. He only ends up in the news when he does something bad because he's not actually famous so no one actually cares when he does good and he really isn't sure who he can trust. 
Oliver has his life together and becomes something solid for Luc to hold onto. 

There is a lot of great banter, some sweet moments and issues to overcome. An enjoyable way to pass a couple of hours. 

Thank you to NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This book was fun romp with a heart. The humor and references in "Boyfriend Material" felt very distinctly British which was a welcome treat. The central love story was ultimately delightful even though the awkwardness at the beginning  was rather cringe-inducing. The main characters felt real even if their motivations did not always make sense. However, the supporting characters seemed one-note and their narratives seemed repetitive. While the book requires a certain suspension of disbelief as a result of its premise (pretending to be in a fake relationship hardly happens to regular people), some of the story arcs seemed downright farcical which slightly took away from the emotional impact of the book. The story seemed to drag in parts but they brought it home in the end. I am certain this would make a great summer read. 

P.s. The book was ridden with typos but I'm sure they'll be fixed in the final manuscript.
Was this review helpful?
whity, fluffy, romantic, hot and heavy. I love this book, the dialog and the relationship between oliver and Luc. It was a bit predictable, but that didn't take away from the fun.
Was this review helpful?
Luc O'Donnell can’t seem to clean up his image, he always seems to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, in this case the gutter where the tabloids revel in finding him and splashing him across their pages. It’s not his fault his parents were famous in their day, making him fair game. When the bad press begins to threaten the only job he has manged to hold on to, he desperately decides to try to clean up his image by obtaining a fake, squeaky clean boyfriend, in this case, barrister Oliver Blackwood who is so out of league, he is off the planet. Oliver has his own reasons for agreeing to the deal, so they agree to help each other out. Oliver will accompany Luc to his work function and Luc will attend Oliver’s parents party. I really enjoyed this story reminiscent of Bridget Jones antics. Luc slowly wormed his way into my affections and I really was rooting for him as much as his band of mismatched friends.
Was this review helpful?
The trope and the plot of Boyfriend Material are top notch. A romance where the fake relationship is used to improve the appeal of one of the other characters, and then they end up falling for each other is basically candy for me. I even enjoyed both of the heroes and their reluctantly budding relationship. As up and down as it may have been. That being said the flow of the writing was what kept me peep sally, from fully investing. I even took some time after I initially finished reading to write this review.

What I did was go back in and read some scenes that I’d highlighted, and reading them as a piece and not as part of the whole made me enjoy them way more. So I think what I’m trying to say is that I enjoyed this read, it’s incredibly well written and entertaining and as it’s my first from this author it felt fresh and fun, but the writing style may just not be for me.

I think that anyone who loves fake dating trope and M/M will enjoy this romance read!
Was this review helpful?
I absolutely adored the growth of these emotionally messed up men. The humour in this book made me laugh out loud several times, and so many of the cultural references were like a hug - which is important in our current pandemic situation.
Was this review helpful?
There is plenty to enjoy in the tale of fake boyfriends Luc and Oliver. Author Alexis Hall has created warm characters who are well aware of their faults, and each other's! It took me awhile to get into the novel because I thought the start was kind of disastrous. Scenes among the friends or families of the main characters just did not work well. The chatter was often insufferable. A main theme is putting people down, and it became tiresome quite quickly. Yet the interaction between Luc and Oliver was mostly endearing and/or informative.
The novel had a challenge, and that was the reader was bound to find it predictable.  Why else detail a fake relationship? There was enough interest in the characters and their development to avoid the big question most of the time.
Thanks, NetGalley for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?