by Olivia Dade
Olivia Dade bursts onto the scene in this delightfully fun romantic comedy set in the world of fanfiction, in which a devoted fan goes on an unexpected date with her celebrity crush, who’s secretly posting fanfiction of his own.
Marcus Caster-Rupp has a secret. While the world knows him as Aeneas, the star of the biggest show on TV, Gods of the Gates, he’s known to fanfiction readers as Book!AeneasWouldNever, an anonymous and popular poster. Marcus is able to get out his own frustrations with his character through his stories, especially the ones that feature the internet’s favorite couple to ship, Aeneas and Lavinia. But if anyone ever found out about his online persona, he’d be fired. Immediately.
April Whittier has secrets of her own. A hardcore Lavinia fan, she’s hidden her fanfiction and cosplay hobby from her “real life” for years—but not anymore. When she decides to post her latest Lavinia creation on Twitter, her photo goes viral. Trolls and supporters alike are commenting on her plus-size take, but when Marcus, one half of her OTP, sees her pic and asks her out on a date to spite her critics, she realizes life is really stranger than fanfiction.
Even though their first date is a disaster, Marcus quickly realizes that he wants much more from April than a one-time publicity stunt. And when he discovers she’s actually Unapologetic Lavinia Stan, his closest fandom friend, he has one more huge secret to hide from her.
With love and Marcus’s career on the line, can the two of them stop hiding once and for all, or will a match made in fandom end up prematurely cancelled?
If I had to pick one author I’m happy to have discovered in 2020, Olivia Dade is that author. Not only did she go above and beyond to get me an ARC of Spoiler Alert but her books are just phenomenal. I actually read Spoiler Alert twice already. The first time was months ago when I got the ARC and then read was just for me. The second was last weekend and that read was to write this review. Honestly, even after the second read, trying to find the words to describe how much I loved Spoiler Alert and what it means to me is difficult.
I’m a curvy woman. I’ve been a curvy woman since about puberty/ high school. I generally accept my body for what it is and do my best to find things to love about it. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t look in the mirror or at photos and wish things were different. I know everyone does. Seeing April on the cover of this book, seeing the other covers of Olivia Dade’s books, made me realize how rare it is to see a heroine with my body type on the cover of a romance. And in a romance where the hero loves her so completely and totally as Marcus loves April. For that alone, I will always love this book. There is decisions of fat-shaming in this book and toxic parental relationship around weight and they both broke my heart and set me, via April, free. April faces down her mother and demands that their relationship change or it’s over. She makes the incredibly hard decision to demand that her mother respects her wishes about her weight. That scene is so tough and yet expertly crafted. The love between April and her mom is there but it’s tinged by the toxic comments and the “helpful” tips that only serve to break April time and time again. To stand up to that takes immense courage and the realization that things need to change and the willingness to not compromise if they don’t. And that’s just one scene in this powerful and beautiful book. Marcus has similarly powerful scenes with his issues with his own parents.
His cheeks were wet, and she was blotting them with a napkin, and he was too lost to feel embarrassed. “I know they love me, and I love them, but I don’t know how to forgive them.”Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade, Chapter 20
April is a geologist and so much of her job is to look beneath the surface. That is the a running theme in the book. April is able to see beneath the surface of Marcus’s carefully crafted persona to the man beneath. Both April and Marcus are at the crossroads in their lives when they met. April is moving to a new job, one where she is determined to be open with her coworkers about her cosplay and fanfiction life. Marcus’s show, which has defined him for the last 7 years, is over and he needs to determine his next move.
Millions of people could recognize him under the blinding lights of a red carpet. But if she touched him like this long enough, maybe she’d be able to recognize him even in the darkness, by feel alone, in a way that made him uniquely hers.Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade, Chapter 18
When they meet, in the cutest way possible, a celebrity asking out a fan who is getting negative internet comments, the sparks fly once April digs beneath Marcus’s surface. Marcus has a big secret that he’s forced to keep from April even as their relationship progresses. I was hesitant about this part. I’m not the biggest fan of “secret identity” issues in romances. It breaks into the trust forming between the characters. I think Olivia Dade handled this really well and I didn’t get the sense of dread upon discovery that I usually get. I knew Marcus would find a way to prove to April his love and devotion despite this secret. And that while April will be hurt, and rightfully so, she will recognize that their previous bond will only make their relationship stronger.
When she continued staring at the ceiling, silent, he spoke again. “You don’t owe it to me. I know that. My love doesn’t buy me absolution, and I didn’t say it to sway you. I said it because you should know. No matter what happens between us now, you should know that you’re loved. Even if you don’t forgive me.”Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade, Chapter 25
There are just so many things I love about this book. The friendship between Marcus and Alex and their obsession with British baking shows and claggy sponges (so freaking excited for Lauren and Alex’s book next!) The bonds developing between April and her new coworkers. The little scenes from Marcus’s other movies. That I wanted and then didn’t want because of the ending, Gods of the Gate to be an actual show. And the fanfiction. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not really into fanfiction. In my early days of romance, I went through a phase of reading Pride and Prejudice fanfiction. It didn’t last very long because I discovered both that, A. people actually wrote books that were Pride and Prejudice fanfictions, and B. I starting reading more and more romance. So I was never in the fanfiction community. In many ways, the fanfiction community in Spoiler Alert felt similar to that of Romancelandia. Less writing retellings or AU of stories but the way people interact and how the stories are broken down and discussed and the excitement of book events and meeting people in person for the first time. So in that respect, the fanfiction scenes were familiar.
There is honestly so much to love about this book. My review could go on and on. But I think I should end it with a simple and heartfelt plea to read this book. I truly believe that there is something in this story for everyone.
*Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.