Cover Image: Loathe at First Sight

Loathe at First Sight

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I honestly think this one is marketed incorrectly. I wish I didn’t have to give any stars because I think own voice stories are important. I went into this one thinking it was an enemies to lovers romcom but it was more women’s fiction. This is just not for me at this time.
Was this review helpful?
I was very excited about this one and it just never grabbed me. I think I would have enjoyed it more if it had just leaned in to what it did really, really well: a frank look at what it's like to be a young Asian woman working in the cis, white man dominated video game industry, and stopped trying to be a romance as well. The relationship between Melody and Nolan never quite felt like it got the time or spark it needed for me to buy in. I would have loved to see Melody's friendships and other work relationships explored more over the somewhat lackluster romance.
Was this review helpful?
Wasn't sure about this book when I first started reading, and it took a little while to decide, but stick with it!  I ended up really enjoying it.  I can only hope that the gaming world is not quite as bad as portrayed here.
Was this review helpful?
Yeah, so while this author’s YA book that came out earlier this year wasn’t completely my thing, I still requested this one because I thought it sounded fun. Also, you all know that I’m a huge fan of hate-to-love and that’s literally in the title. Unfortunately, this book fell flat to me although I did enjoy parts of it. Loathe at First Sight tells the story of a Korean-American woman who wades through a toxic workplace while launching her video game.

Melody has just begun working at Seventeen Studios, a popular video game company. She’s facing the overt misogyny and racism there, content to work her way up until one day when her offhand joke about game featuring male strippers is taken as a pitch (not really but that’s the easiest way to explain it). Her world explodes from there as she’s thrust into a lead producer role because the company wants to feign diversity by having a female-led production team. Meanwhile, she’s fighting her feelings for the new intern, and somehow she agrees to be her friend’s maid of honor on top of all of this.

I should probably begin by saying that this wasn’t really a romance novel; by that I mean, the romance really took a backseat to the plot. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I wish I had known that before starting this book because I really feel like it’s marketed as a romance. I did like Melody and Nolan, even if they were missing that hate-to-love dynamic as the title suggests (yeah there’s a lot of misrepresentation in the marketing for this book). I just think I would have liked this book more if it had had more of the romance.

Instead of the romance, Loathe at First Sight focused more on Melody’s struggles in her cis male-dominated workplace. She’s one of the few women, and Korean-American on top of that, so there’s a lot of backlash in the gaming community when news of her game production is leaked. The misogyny and racism was a lot, frankly, and while it is realistic and completely valid, I wish I would have known that this would be such a big part of the book.

Melody is doxed, with her name, home address, and phone number being leaked to the public. There’s even a part where she gets a text that suggests she has a stalker but it’s kind of brushed off. And again, I do think the misogyny she faces unfortunately remains the reality of a lot of companies today, particularly tech ones, but it felt like we were wading through so much for very little joy.

I did like this book more than the author’s YA title, mostly because I related to the protagonist more. Melody’s handling a lot throughout this book, and you can feel her determination as she decides not to let anything get to her. This book was so funny as well; I really enjoyed Melody’s inner commentary. Her parents also provide some humor as they often call her in that brash manner immigrant parents always do: loud, embarrassing, and contradictory.

Again, I liked Melody and Nolan together! He’s extremely supportive and helpful throughout this book, one of the few people on her side. While he is an intern at the company Melody works at, they’re the same age (Nolan is in MBA school) and he got his position because of nepotism so I never really felt like there was a power imbalance.

Melody’s also the maid of honor for her friend, so there’s a lot of wedding hijinks in here as well. Her friends, Candace and Jane, are also really supportive and caring but they also have their own lives. This added more dimensions to their characters and made all three of them feel like real people.

Overall, I did enjoy this book, but I probably would have enjoyed it more if there was more of the romance. The characters feel realistic, and this book was very humorous. It does deal with heavy issues, though, and the sheer misogyny and casual racism almost grew too much for me at times. In the end, I do think that a lot of people will enjoy this book, just please know that it’s less of a romance than the summary suggests!
Was this review helpful?
Suzanne Park's adult debut LOATHE AT FIRST SIGHT brings a mix of female empowerment, office humor, and feisty romance into the world of video game design while tackling the racism and misogyny present in gaming culture. Readers will root for Melody Joo as she finds her way in this enemies-to-lovers office romance.
Was this review helpful?
This was an excellent look into the very real abuse and harassment that women who work in the gaming industry (and other tech-related industries) face in their day to day lives. However, it definitely didn't feel like a romance to me. There was little interaction between the main character and her love interest - he just felt like an ancillary character most of the time - and when there was interaction, it fell flat. Disappointing, because I really enjoyed the rest of the book.
Was this review helpful?
Melody Joo (or Melanie, Melania, etc. if you're asking her male coworkers) is one of very few women working at Seventeen Studios, an up-and-coming gaming company.  While venting to another female coworker, Kat, Melody  jokingly pitches a game where women are the heroes; saving male strippers from all sorts of evil, like zombies, aliens, etc., and the women of the game are meant to save them! An extremely modern twist on the gaming industry, in which men are generally saving half-naked women with impossible and unattainable body types. An extremely modern twist on the gaming industry, in which men are generally saving half-naked women with impossible and unattainable body types. Slimy CEO Ian overhears her pitch, and pitches it to the board, who are looking for more games designed for women. Suddenly, Melody is leading the charge to design this game that she never even meant to design in the first place.  Booted out of her desk in favor of an intern-who happens to be Ian’s nephew, hello, nepotism!-she now shares an office with Asher, a man who despises her, and is having unnerving feelings for the new intern.  Office romances between people of different power ranks are strongly discouraged.
	Facing microaggressions and blatant racism, as well as sexism, every day, Melody is the heroine we never knew we needed. After her personal contact information is released to the gaming community, who are outraged by the idea of her game, she faces online harassment that becomes increasingly dangerous.  I thought that this was going to be more of a romance than it was, but this feminist book was a novel I didn’t know I was missing.  I will definitely be reading more from Suzanne Park!
Was this review helpful?
This book was so cute and fluffy! I looked an insider look at the gaming industry and what it can be like for people in minorities in the industry. As a casual female gamer, it was wonderful to see such a powerful main character experiencing relatable moments. Could have used a dash more romance but over all a very well written and enjoyable book.
Was this review helpful?
Just ok. The pacing and writing are good, but I could not get invested in the characters. There’s no sizzle between the MCs, and while the stakes for the main MC are high, I just don’t care about the story enough.  The author does a good job with portraying misogyny in a work culture that is traditionally male and horrible to women.
Was this review helpful?
This is everything I love in a romantic comedy -- a main character that I want to be best friends with, a nerdy swoonworthy love interest who knows how to work a spreadsheet, and searing social commentary on what it means to be a woman and a person of a color in the gaming industry.
Was this review helpful?
This book wasn’t what I hoped it would be. It seemed like a factionalized take on articles I have already read about the rampant misogyny in gamer culture without adding anything to the conversation. Melody’s workplace is beyond toxic and she recognizes it and powers through with her competence until her hard work pays off. She doesn’t really fight for change at any point nor does anyone else. None of the characters seem more than one dimensional, the romance was tacked on and unnecessary, and her parents were supposed to be humorous but weren’t at all.  I appreciate tackling  an important topic but wish this had been handled with more nuance. 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This title was marketed incorrectly.  This book isn't about romance.  The male romantic lead is pretty one dimensional and hardly interacts with the female protagonist in the story.  This book is about women's issues, particularly women in gaming.  This book highlights racism, sexism/misogyny in the workplace.  After you get over your disappointment that this isn't the romance you signed up for, you can take a step back and appreciate what this book is.  The female protagonist is smart, capable, and stands up for herself.  The author touches upon what being stalked and attacked online can do to a person's psyche.  The writing is kinda clunky.  There's a lot of telling and not a lot of showing through character and dialog.  However, the book succeeds as a story of a woman's struggle in the workplace, if not as a romance.
Was this review helpful?
Loathe at First Sight grabbed me initially by this cute animated cover. Based on that I was expecting a cute rom com type book but this one surprised me. Loathe at First Sight by Suzanne Park had a slight thread of a romantic relationship throughout the book, although that was far from the main story line. 

Centered around a female, Melody Joo,  working in a male dominated office and field, as a video game producer. When her insufferable CEO overhears Melody joking about a idea for a new video game, he pitches it to the board after he runs out of other options ... and they love it. Now he feels he has no choice but to make Melody the head producer. On top of Melody being new, Korean, and one of the only females in the office, she is now charge of this new video game and finding herself fighting lots of speculation from coworkers as to how she got the project. 

This was the first novel I have read by Suzanne Pack. Despite the cover, I do not think romance or rom com is not the right genre for Loathe at First Sight. The novel is more about Melody overcoming several stereotypes in her workplace, than it was about her relationship with Nolan, the intern and CEOs nephew. Melody is constantly having to prove to others that she is just as capable as her coworkers, mainly white men. This did not cause me to like the novel less, it just forced me to change my expectations. I still found myself rooting for Melody in her gaming adventures and in life. I found myself smiling at her parents, and her crazy video game ideas. But most of all I found myself frustrated and angry by her boss, coworkers and HR departments knowing this behavior and mindset is rampant in some fields and companies today. It needs to change. 

Thank you to Avon, Harper Collins Pub and Netgalley for an early eGalley of the book to read and provide an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Read this if you are looking for a book that deals with the gaming industry. Or a woman dealing being overlooked in a traditional male dominated industry. I started this looking for a light romance. I was disappointed in that regard. The first kiss did not happen until I was almost 90% done with the book. I did like the story overall but the plot was not what I anticipated. 
I was given an advanced reader's copy via NetGalley and HarperCollins, thank you to them. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Firstly, I would not categorize this as a romance or romantic comedy. The "romance" is not the central plot and there was not much of the synopsis-suggested enemies-to-lovers workplace vibes--there was not much of a connection between Melody and Nolan to begin with. The primary story is about Melody Joo navigating racism, misogyny, sexism (all the terrible stuff!) at her job and life while working at a gaming development company. She faces nonstop harassment and honestly it was a lot; I found myself feeling anxious and apprehensive for the majority of the book. As another reviewer stated, this novel lacked the emotional insight necessary to really address many of the issues brought up in this novel. I never really had a good idea what each character felt, or why they did the things they did. All the men at her job were so horrid that they began to feel like caricatures, and to be honest I felt that I didn't really understand Melody all that well either. Additionally, Melody's parents and their reactions to her situation felt like they were used to make light of some of the very horrible things Melody faced which made me feel really uncomfortable. It's good that authors are tackling sexism, toxic workplaces for womxn, et cetera, but the execution and emotional insight for the subject was lacking here.
Was this review helpful?
So first I will start with, I did not expect this to be an adult novel- maybe I just didn't pay enough attention to the description (oops). But despite this being an Adult novel (more specifically - New Adult), I really liked it.  This book follows the traditional YA romance format but with more diverse and new circumstances. 

Melody has just traded up to a new job from an Ad agency to being a junior producer in a video game design company. Melody experiences major anxiety, racism, and sexism in this role. She is put to task to create a new video game (that she technically came up with while making fun of traditional first person shooter games) in 6 months (a nearly impossible timeline) with very little resources. She is expected to fail- But failure is not an option for Melody. Especially, because it is expected to fail because SHE is in charge. 

This novel shows the sexism and racism many women face in the video gaming community. Oh, AND there is a hunky guy who is her age who happens to be her intern. So add in the temptations of inter-office romance. This novel was a pleasant surprise and I really enjoyed reading it. 

This is a book that I would definitely consider adding to my High School collection as an adult crossover book. The age of the characters could definitely be a benefit or a detriment when adding to a school library collection. Melody does use foul language, but not any worse than any YA book I have in the collection. By following the YA romance format, where we leave the main couple on a high end note without really seeing anything more than a date or two or some making out- I think that this would be an easy piece to integrate into a collection. 

Loathe at First Sight​ by Suzanne Park comes out August 2020! http://kaitlynrcarpenter.weebly.com/blog/loathe-at-first-sight-by-suzanne-park-a-new-adult-romance-in-the-harsh-gaming-world
Was this review helpful?
Given the current climate of  *waves hands in all directions** Loathe at First Sight was jarring in both its depictions of ethnicity and workplace misogyny. 

This may be an "it's not you, it's me situation." But either way, this one wasn't for me.
Was this review helpful?
'Loathe at First Sight' shouldn't be considered a romance novel. It wasn’t. The storyline primary's focus was on Melody's career and the struggles she faced through the racist (subplot mostly), misogynistic and sexist work environment she was stationed at. The general romance aspect of this read was few and far between and with the minimal interactions Melody and the intern Nolan had, I was surprised that a romantic relationship was established between them by the end of the novel.

It was such a disappointment because I was anticipating an enemies turned lovers office romance but ended up getting humorless triggering read that left me irritated enough to not bother finishing this read. There were too many underlying issues with this novel making me realize that this just wasn’t my cup of tea.
Was this review helpful?
This book was a super cute read. It helped me relax through the last week or so of self-isolation. I did just want a little bit more from it. Could have been a little longer.
Was this review helpful?
I read six chapter and found this boring. I didn't really care about the main character and had no idea which of the many obnoxious men would be chosen as the one. Only good thing that I found was the setting of women in a toxic male environment.
Was this review helpful?