Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade

Spoiler Alert Book Cover Spoiler Alert
Olivia Dade
Contemporary Romance
Avon/HarperCollins
October 6, 2020
ebook, paperback, audiobook
320

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?

“Somehow, she was his crucible, burning away everything but the truth. Forcing him to speak it aloud and purify himself before her.”

Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade is the book all nerds should be interested to read, especially considering it’s like if “You’ve Got Mail” and the “Game of Thrones” fandom got together and metaphorically had a fanfiction-loving baby.

I wanted to like this story. Truly, I did. Spoiler Alert has all the elements of a page-turning read that my nerdy heart yearns for: a curvy girl heroine who has the confidence to look criticism in the face and push boundaries in order to get what she wants, a hero who is going through his own form of personal struggle and metamorphosis, all combined within a world that has a hefty dose of love for fan-fiction and fandoms overall. But…the emphasis that April is a gorgeous plus size woman becomes almost fetishized with how often her rolls, curves, stretch marks, large and cumbersome bra, weight and heft are all mentioned. It becomes overdone and honestly took me out of the plot, especially when April is constantly juxtaposed with her love interest—the fit and trim—Marcus.

The first half of the book is absolutely adorable. Between chapters are snippets of fanfics, movie scripts, and other little interludes that I think enhance the background development of the characters. Leading up to Marcus and April meeting each other, readers learn that they’ve been friends for years on a Fan-fiction server for a show (which is based on a book) on which Marcus is the lead actor. I liked that both Marcus and April have issues within their personal lives, as well as with the perception of their true selves. The mixed perceptions aren’t only within themselves but also with their parents and co-workers. Both Marcus and April have been play-acting in their own lives, wanting to maintain a part rather than confront the truth.

Everything about Spoiler Alert was working for me, until the first intimate scene. After that things fell apart. The second half of Spoiler Alert seemed almost disjointed to the first part. The characters do end up going through their critical self-transformation in order to repair their relationship. However, the fact that fat-shaming was so overly mentioned throughout the plot it honestly felt like I was being beaten over the head with it. I’m a plus-sized nerd myself, and this depiction felt truly forced. If April isn’t defined by her size, then why mention it so often? Fans will get it the first time.

If you feel like perhaps you can get over the constant mention of weight and fat-shaming, and instead look deeper to the story beyond, then Spoiler Alert is a story for you. Olivia Dade, while a new author to me, seems to have made a mark writing about plus-sized women in her books, which I absolutely respect…this one just wasn’t my forte.  Spoiler Alert goes live on October 6th.

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