Cover Image: Loathe at First Sight

Loathe at First Sight

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Member Reviews

This one didn't work for me and I ended up skipping around just to finish it. I couldn't convince myself to care about the main characters and the plot never ended up clicking for me.
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I am sorry for not reviewing fully but I don’t have the time to read this at the moment. I believe that it wouldn't benefit you as a publisher or your book if I only skimmed it and wrote a rushed review. Again, I am sorry for not fully reviewing!
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Suzanne Park knocked this book out of the park. I read this book because of POC MC, Woman-in-male-dominated-world, video games, and of course, the romance! A funny joke turns into Melody's worst nightmare. I found this book hilariously good and very motivational. Melody is a character I think a lot of women/fem people can relate to. 5/5 stars
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This was so funny and needed. A great showing of the need for diversity in books and in video games, I loved the journey and the support and change she creates throughout her new job. Great characters and a wonderful change she’s changed in her life for the better.
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It starts off slow and kind of dense, but once the action begins, it's hard to resist the story as it drives forward. It reads as a true epic, one that makes you feel the world really has been reshaped as you read it. Would recommend.
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Meh. I read rave reviews about this and it was categorized under romance, but I don't think that's quite right. This is really about being a woman, and a minority, in a male-dominated space, specifically gaming and game-creation. I quite liked Melody, but I found that the supporting characters were very one-dimensional. It wasn't a terrible book, and there was a romance, but it wasn't what I was expecting.
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Melody has recently gotten a new job working at a Seattle-based gaming company. It's a frustratingly sexist place (as well as racist, but to a lesser extent). The worst dude-bro is the CEO, Ian. A close second is his nepotistic nephew, Nolan, an intern. A close third is Asher, her office-mate who is an ultimate Gamer Dude-Bro. When Melody's parody game idea is taken seriously, she has to endure harassment, sexism, and doxing from the global gaming community. But one of these coworkers isn't as terrible as Melody first thought-- in fact, he is really there, supporting Melody. But Seventeen Studios has a strict no-dating policy. What's a workaholic perfectionist to do? 

I love girl-power stories, and Loathe really delivers on that front! The title, though, is super confusing. It makes it seem like it's a haters-to-lovers romance, but it's not really a romance at all. If I were purchasing it for my library's genre-fied collection, I'd put it in Novel (catch-all)-- not Romance. 

Diverse reads:
- Melody is Korean American.
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"Women working at game companies have to constantly overcome perception barriers. I argue a lot about how women are portrayed in the games we produce. Gaming is very white, and bro heavy. And the more nonwhite, nonbros we have at companies like mine who can interject opinions and different perspectives, the more diverse the gaming offerings will be in the future."

Before I list down my opinions for this book, I would like to thank HarperCollinsPublishers for sending me an E-Arc of this book. I haven’t got the chance to read this book for the past few months because schoolwork is always dragging me down, plus I had a major reading slump in those months, so I stuck to reading physical books.

In this book, we follow Melody Joo, a Korean woman working in a game company called Seventeen Studios in Seattle. She works with an annoying CEO, Ian Mackenzie, sexist co-workers, and an intern named Nolan Mackenzie (Ian’s nephew), whom she feels like he only got the job because the CEO was his uncle. Things get weirder when a zombie survival game with male strippers, which Melody conceptualized as a joke, became a real project that needed to be released soon with Melody as the producer. Because of the premise of the game, she received backslash from sexist gamers to the point that she became a victim in a trolling scandal. She also feels affectionate towards Nolan, but she can’t show it to him because relationships between people in the studio’s workplace are strictly prohibited and can lead to termination. Melody attempts to get her life together while facing obstacles here and there.

First, I would like to talk about the plot of this book. The storyline is very loose; we just follow what Melody does for the game from its start to its release. I find this style interfering with how good the story is because there were many climaxes in the story, and they seem to vanish for a while or get solved easily; some were even ignored. Nothing much happened in the first 50 percent of the book, which made me want to DNF it. But the rest of the book is interesting because all the elements of the story (i.e. the game, the romance) made progress. Towards the last 10 percent or so, there were some major events and plot twists that happened which made me excited to finish it. On the other hand, the main theme of this book is important since feminism is a very talked-about topic in the present, so it stands out from her last book, which is The Perfect Escape.

Second, the characters in this book gave me a wide range of emotions. Almost every moment was funny, which I did like. Melody had instances where she wanted to give up, so I felt sad for her during the times that I read those parts. I was annoyed at how Ian refuses to be open-minded about women in the gaming industry and was uncertain about specific characters like Asher and Jane. There are also some characters that I can relate to, especially Melody. We also see different kinds of relationships in this book – family, friends, lovers, and enemies. All of these were written beautifully throughout the book.

Thirdly, here are some spoiler-ish side thoughts that I had while reading it:
• In the part where Ian told Melody that Nolan’s internship was nearly ending, her reaction wasn’t reasonable for me because, yes, you can be sad about it, but it’s not a thing to be angry at. Plus, internships always end at some point.
• Why did Melody go to the cat-themed café if she knew that she was allergic to cats? I mean, she could’ve said it to Kat. 

Overall, I rated this book four out of five stars because of some issues with the plot stated above. I’m really impressed with how the author, Suzanne Park, did a lot of research about the gaming community before writing this.
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Melody Joo is frustrated with the sexiest pigs running the gaming company who always create degrading female characters and act the same way in the office. One day, while venting with a fellow female in the gaming industry, she sarcastically says they should create a game that shows the reverse of what the industry is used to seeing a game and have male strippers and clothed females. Well when top chauvinist himself, CEO Ian McKenzie tries to save himself, he pitches Melody's parody idea and the board loves it! She's now forced to work on a too tight timeline, budget and expectation to get this game out all while figuring out how to navigate her family, feminism and Nolan McKenzie.

This book hits on some topics that will touch a few people VERY close to home. As a female who works in a male dominated field, I empathize with Melody throughout this entire book. The scenario that Park creates about women is not an exaggeration in the least bit, from the objectification to the automatic doubters. I loved Melody's conquering of her role and determination to continue despite all obstacles. Her journey through her feminism is heartwarming to see.

I will say though to not go into this book thinking it's going to be a romance. It has been wildly mislabelled as contemporary romance. Sure, there are feelings expressed between two people, but I see a relationship with self grow much more than a romantic relationship. 

Thank you Avon Books and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review
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As much as I love a good romcom, this one felt too cheesy like it was trying too hard. Just did not work for me.
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A fun hate-to-love romance that also touches on racism, sexism, and nepotism in the gaming industry.
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This was such a cute book, first heck yes to the female gaming community! I’m not truly in the gaming world but I love me some game time for sure. 

Melody’s character really went through it in this book, from cyberbullying to trolls! and death threats, the fact that this actually happens. I really enjoyed her character and to see how she interacted with her parents as well. That was very interesting. 

Nolan, I thought would be this jerk the whole time trying to sabotage her game but he turned out to be pretty awesome and completely swoon-worthy! This was such a cute read, I really enjoyed it.
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Besides being romantic and funny and sticking it to the man, Melody Joo doesn't let the men in her life decide what is best for her. 
The portrayal of women in the gaming industry is spot on and i loved the way Melody handled herself. I love the relationship between her and Nolan and the growing friendship to love between them! Ah i just look a good sticking it to the man and hate to love book!
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DNF - I couldn't do this folx. This was not what I was expecting and I struggled to even get 20%. I was so excited about it being a romance with a Korean American heroine but the romance is definitely to the way back, the waaayyyy back. Marketing for this book was not done well. I also struggled with the misogyny. I know it's real, but I wasn't expecting it to be so bad. Overall, I would make sure that folx who read this know what they are getting into!
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Melody Joo is thrilled to land her dream job as a video game producer, but her new position comes with challenges: an insufferable CEO; sexist male coworkers; and an infuriating—yet distractingly handsome—intern, Nolan MacKenzie, aka “the guy who got hired because his uncle is the boss.”
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So much more than a regular rom com. I absolutely loved this book!! Loved Melody, hated her boss and the racism and sexism she faced.
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One of my favorite romcom reads this year. As an asian, I can relate on the characters reasoning and suffering. Suzanne did a great job in writing romcoms featuring asian characters. All my reviews are at my instagram @abryjewel.
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Initial Thoughts

I read some bad reviews of this book before I read it and I think that’s why it took me so long to read it. It’s been pending in my NetGalley queue for months. But, I’m glad my forever buddy reader suggested we read it together!

Some Things I Liked

Nolan. He’s the only thing that was tolerable about this book. He was a treasure.
The gaming plot. I thought that was an interesting plot and something I wasn’t super familiar with. I liked the idea of a woman breaking into a man’s industry and I thought the technical aspects of the gaming industry were illustrated well.

Some Things I Wasn’t Crazy About

Every single male character was an absolute horror. Except Nolan. Seriously, why was every person Melody interacted with a human dumpster fire?
Jane was kind of the worst. In order to tolerate that kind of minor character growth, I would need a prequel story all about Jane just to understand why on earth Melody put up with her.
I was expecting enemies to lovers. What did I get? Nuisances to friends? Where was the banter? I was very disappointed in both the lack of enemies to lovers snark as well as the romance altogether.
Melody’s parents were essentially extreme caricatures of Korean parents and I kind of hated that. They were definitely funny characters but they felt so extreme, they were unrealistic.

Series Value

There is no series value to this book. There is not a single character that I would want to know more about.

I have read another of Suzanne Park’s books and I enjoyed it. I wouldn’t let my lack of enjoyment of this book stop me from reading her works in the future.

Final Thoughts

I was not a fan of this book. There was a lot that literally made me cringe. This is not what I look for in a rom-com.


Recommendations for Further Reading

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne – that’s what I thought this book was going to be. Snarky, fun, romantic. If that’s what you wanted, try this book.
The Perfect Escape by Suzanne Park – if you’re interested to see Suzanna Park tackle a YA rom-com, look no further. This was a quick, fun read.
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Loathe at First Sight is about Melody Joo, a badass gaming producer/video game developer, forging her way up in an extremely male-dominant world. She hadn't sought out to make waves really, but when she was joking around with her only other female coworker about a game where the women carry the swords and the men are the shirtless damsels in distress, the higher ups heard and loved the idea giving her no choice but to run with it. Melody faces everything from self doubt to coworker rivalry, overbearing parents, to die hard chauvinistic gamer fans who troll every which way they can, and last but not least a work place romance (of course😉).

I enjoyed reading how Melody navigated and conquered this man's world she inhabited. How she pooled together her resources and pushed forward. I enjoyed the secondary characters, her girlfriends and coworkers, and I related very much to her having one-track- marriage-minded parents. I think my only qualm was wishing the rom part of this romcom took more of a central role in the storyline. It didn't take away from the book at all, if anything it definitely enhanced this being a female empowerment kind of read, I'm just a sap when it comes to romcoms I'll always want more!
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The fast-moving story keeps readers engaged with vivid three-dimensional descriptions of the main character as she attempts to balance complex work relationships and her demanding family expectations. The reader roots for Melody from beginning to end. Park strikes a chord in this fresh workplace rom-com with loads of laughs and heart.
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