The book that I’m talking about today was one of my most anticipated releases of 2020 – and for good reason. It’s a feel-good romantic comedy. Super body positive. It’s just so good. But the main reason I was drawn to it is because it falls under fandom related fiction. And I love that. I’ve been a fangirl my entire life but I’ve also studied fandom at university and loved it so much that I wanted to go on to do a postgraduate in Fan Studies. So I guess you could say I’m a fangirl of fandom in itself. And that is why books like this mean so much to me. I love stories that talk about the community aspect of fandom and how that, for many of us, gives us a sense of belonging. So without further ado, I present to you my review of Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade.
Many thanks to Little, Brown Book Group UK and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade
Date of Publication: 6th October 2020
Format: eBook (416 pages)
Content & Trigger Warnings:
Fat shaming, ableism, disability shaming, sexual scenes, bullying
A fan who is being fat shamed online gets asked out on a date by one of the actors on her favourite TV show. Oh, and they’re online BFFs who write fan fiction together – but they don’t know it yet.
Okay so to be upfront: I think this might just be my favourite book of the year. It gave me all the feels. I laughed, I cried, I felt my heart swell. And the representation in here was amazing. As a plus size woman, I saw myself in April. But I also felt strongly connected to Marcus. They are quite possibly the most realistic and most human characters I’ve ever read.
I wasn’t too keen on the fan fiction inclusions and found myself glossing over them quite quickly. However, when the plot revolves around these two people who write fan fiction together, I can totally understand its necessity. It just didn’t appeal to me personally.
And speaking of things that didn’t appeal to me: the sex scenes. Again, it’s a romance novel. Sex is pretty much guaranteed within the genre, I get that. My personal preference is more heavy on the romance and less sex. (Or at least, not too explicit or descriptive sex scenes.) Spoiler Alert leans more towards sex than romance. There’s a lot of sexual chemistry between the two main characters and it’s quite heavy on the smutty aspects.
But what I loved about Spoiler Alert was EVERYTHING else. I loved their relationship. The character development was fantastic. It read like a great rom-com. There were secrets and so much family drama. I learnt stuff about myself while reading it. Honestly, it’s just a fantastic book. This was my 99th read of 2020 and I do genuinely believe that it was my favourite despite the aspects I wasn’t too keen on. It was just that good.
And when I reached the end and saw that a sequel slash companion novel was coming next year, oh boy. I squealed a little bit. I’m very interested in reading Alex and Lauren’s story. If you’ve read Spoiler Alert, you’ll know why! So yeah cannot wait for that.
Both main characters have grown up with these qualities that don’t align with their family’s values. And I thought that really helped bring them closer together. They’re both outsiders who have been taught to be ashamed of who they are. April is a plus sized woman, the daughter of parents who believe appearances are everything. Marcus is a dyslexic man, the son of fiercely academic parents. I think a lot of readers can relate to the pressure of family expectations. And it was really great to see them both find the courage to set boundaries.
I also loved how meaningful the representation was. I’m a plus sized woman who has chronic mental and physical illnesses and society can be really cruel towards people who are different. So reading something like this that really pushes the idea that you can be yourself because there’s nothing wrong with you was wonderful. I cried at various points of vulnerability that you might miss if you’ve never been criticised for a part of yourself that you can’t change. So I think this would appeal to anyone who has ever felt like that.
Another thing I loved about the characters is that they are in their late 30s and early 40s. Do you have any idea how refreshing it is to see characters closer to my age who aren’t written off as boring old people? Life doesn’t end at 30. They might be homebodies (extra kudos for that!) but they still have these fulfilling lives and a story to tell.
As for the villains of the story – the showrunners are pretty high on my most despicable characters of all time list. They are the worst.
Fandom is one of my favourite things of all time. But one area that I never really dove into in fandom is fan fiction. (Though I did strongly consider it when Merlin ended to replace that emptiness in my heart. *sobs*) And this probably attributes to why the fan fic excerpts didn’t appeal to me. But it is at the heart of the story. It’s how April and Marcus connected online in the first place. And that in itself is what fandom is about. It’s about community and acceptance and finding your people.
April has found her people. But Marcus has to hide his identity because on the fan server, he talks openly about things his show does wrong and writes fix-it fiction. This public dissent is a clear violation of his contract. So in a way it’s a juxtaposition because April gets to have the benefits of fandom but Marcus only gets to have that online, in secret. He’s never allowed to be himself and that’s incredibly isolating for him.
- Fat rep
- Dyslexia rep
- Celebrity dates fan
- Celebrates fandom
Read this if you…
- Love all things fandom
- Enjoy smutty romances
- Read fan fiction
- Want to read something that makes you feel good
Thank you so much for stopping by to check out my review of Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade. It’s out now in the UK so please do check it out if this piqued your interest.
Question of the day: what fandoms do you consider yourself to be a part of? Let me know in the comments below!