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?
I had no expectations going into Spoiler Alert as I'd never read anything by Olivia Dade, but I was Blown. Away. Truly. The story really resonated with me on a few levels, and I couldn't put it down. It was just excellent, emotional, funny, well-written romance with a smart, geeky fan-fiction plotline and a sex-positive, plus-sized female MC. swoon
I adored both MCs, but the male MC, Marcus, really spoke to me. Right away, I noticed some clues about Marcus that touched me. The fact that he was dictating all of his texts, how he listened to audiobooks all of the time... my mind sniffs out these details like a hound. I don't think it's a big spoiler, but right away I knew that Marcus was dyslexic (and he reveals these details very early on in the story).
I don't like to share too many personal details online, but both of my young children are dyslexic. It's a long, hard road to diagnose and get the proper educational help for kids with learning disabilities, and it's something that many kids are suffering with, all over the world. The emotions I felt when reading about Marcus's childhood and his struggles with reading tore me apart. I loved, loved, loved that the author created neurodivergent characters and fully fleshed them out. I thought of my children growing up and reading romance books with people like them in them. I thought of how we view people who make grammatical errors or who read slowly and with mistakes. This book showcased all of that beautifully, and made it just a facet of Marcus. Marcus who was externally and internally beautiful and complex and shy and learning. I obviously stan, so hard.
The female MC, April, was also just lovely, smart, beautiful character. I really liked how the author made her not just curvy, but a big girl, who wanted and fought to be loved just as she was. She was desirable and sexual and I ate up every work. I loved reading about her complex relationship with her parents, coworkers, and the fan-fiction community. I related to her in many ways as well, that feeling like you have a double life for pursuing what is considered a niche passion and not wanting it to affect you professionally. Her pains hurt me, and I was exhilarated by her triumphs. I adored her.
The romance was also just insanely swoon-worthy. Sure, there is deception there (hence, the major tension in the story), but these two just fit together. I rooted for them from the start, and I liked how they were both flawed in their relationship but worked through it all and came out stronger.
I loved everything from the spotlight on fat-phobia to learning disabilities to geeky passions to family issues. It was all of that, plus make it FUN. Spoiler Alert was so fun that I read it in one sitting, all 400+ pages. It was my first experience with Olivia Dade and now I can't wait for more.
Clearly, Spoiler Alert really resonated with me on a personal and emotional level. After weeks of being unable to focus on reading, it had my undivided attention, which is saying a lot. I think it was a powerhouse of a story, and one of my favorite contemporary romances of the year. Total winner.
*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
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