ARC Review: The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun

The Charm Offensive
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Synopsis:

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.

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book has the charm and feel of Red White & Royal Blue with a lot more will-they-won’t-they push and pull to it. In other words, I loved it.

Dev has depression and doesn’t believe he’s worthy of love (despite his love of love stories and belief in the fairy-tale endings he orchestrates for his reality dating show). Charlie has OCD and anxiety and doesn’t believe he’s worthy of love — and also doesn’t know he’s gay.

It’s a lot to unpack, and it’s handled beautifully. Just. Chef’s kiss. As someone with mental illness (and a therapist – the ‘we’re all in therapy’ moment was beautiful and relatable) who is queer, this book was everything I wanted. I cried rather a lot and was very emotional throughout and never wanted it to end.

The entire cast of characters was wonderful and I want them as my friends now, please. (Except Maureen. She was a terrible person.) Alison Cochrun has just pole-vaulted onto my list of absolute must-read favorite authors.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for providing an e-arc for review.

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