Thursday, June 23, 2022

Review: The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun

The Charm Offensive
Alison Cochrun
Release: September 7, 2021
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Dev Deshpande has always believed in fairy tales. So it’s no wonder then that he’s spent his career crafting them on the long-running reality dating show Ever After. As the most successful producer in the franchise’s history, Dev always scripts the perfect love story for his contestants, even as his own love life crashes and burns. But then the show casts disgraced tech wunderkind Charlie Winshaw as its star.

Charlie is far from the romantic Prince Charming Ever After expects. He doesn’t believe in true love, and only agreed to the show as a last-ditch effort to rehabilitate his image. In front of the cameras, he’s a stiff, anxious mess with no idea how to date twenty women on national television. Behind the scenes, he’s cold, awkward, and emotionally closed-off.

As Dev fights to get Charlie to connect with the contestants on a whirlwind, worldwide tour, they begin to open up to each other, and Charlie realizes he has better chemistry with Dev than with any of his female co-stars. But even reality TV has a script, and in order to find to happily ever after, they’ll have to reconsider whose love story gets told.

In this witty and heartwarming romantic comedy—reminiscent of Red, White & Royal Blue and One to Watch—an awkward tech wunderkind on a reality dating show goes off-script when sparks fly with his producer.
Y'all. I get the hype surrounding this book now and it deserves it all! And I’m sorry I didn’t pick it up sooner. I was a bit skeptical that I would like it going in because I'm not usually a fan of reality TV dating shows like Ever After but I found myself fascinated with those parts of the story. Once I started reading I couldn’t put it down until I was done because I had to know what happened next.

I loved so much about this book! It was heartwarming, tender, and so, so queer! I wanted to give all the characters a hug from the start. I quickly fell in love with Charlie and Dev and their friends! And let’s just say that the romance is total relationship goals! The way Charlie and Dev were there for each other and were more than willing to give each other the support they needed just got me right in the feels. I was rooting for them from the moment Charlie fell out of the limo at Dev's feet. I wanted them to have a happily ever after but I couldn't see how they were going to end up together through most of the book. Was the end kind of cheesy and over the top? Yes, but I love it! I'm going to put this out in the universe. I would read a whole second book of just these two hanging out, doing their own things, being in love, and interacting with their friend group. Someone write me that slice-of-life fanfic stat! 

I will admit that I came for the romance but I stayed for mental health and queer rep! The ways mental illness and identity were discussed in this book were amazing and so essential! I was so here for the demisexual rep! It's nice to see yourself in a book. I cried a few times while reading this and that's not something I get to say often. It totally hit me in the feels though. I can't recommend this book enough! I also need more books with all of these characters! I am especially shipping Parisha and Jules and would love a book about them!

  4.5/ 5 Stars


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