Love, Hate, and Clickbait Book Review
Love, Hate, and Clickbait Book Review
Title: Love, Hate, and Clickbait
Author: Liz Bowry
Love, Hate, and Clickbait by Liz Bowry is a fake dating and enemies to lovers book about two guys, Clay and Thom. I don’t know why Thom spells his name like that. Clay acknowledges it, calls it some “Topher bullshit,” but Thom is short for Thomas, so that comparison doesn’t work. Thom never explains it, so I pronounced it Tom.
Clay and Thom work for the governor of California, Leonora “Lennie,” who intends to run for president soon. Thom is a cold-hearted political operative whose romantic relationships are based on who the girl is connected to, and Clay is an obnoxious tech bro who was pushed out of his startup with his college roommate. Clay and Thom fake a relationship because of a picture on the internet looks like they were kissing, which is the perfect distracting from a gaffe Lennie made about not having gays on staff. So they go with it, for work.
I usually like the fake-dating premise. But Thom and Clay’s relationship became a hit on social media, people shipped them, wrote fanfiction, BuzzFeed articles, and white papers about them. It made me stop and ask Really? Why? Every time. Why would anyone care about the personal lives of political staffers? State political staffers. They’re in California, where there are actual celebrities. Why does anyone care? Is this the first gay couple ever?
About halfway in, Lennie’s son, Bash, made an appearance at an event. He’s a screwup and might make a scene, so Clay and Thom make out as a distraction, which totally works because everyone is so interested in them. They are both into it and get turned on. They begin a sexual relationship. Thom, I’ll stop here to add, had previously only dated women. He meets this new male attraction with little more than a shrug.
Thom is not very likable. While still in the early stages of the book, I thought he needed to rescue a cat or something to endear himself to readers and to Clay, but that never happened. The perfect opportunity for this happened when he and Clay went to a rescue animal event to be seen out in public. They could have adopted a pet, which could have had the double effect of bringing them together and showing a softer side of Thom, but they didn’t. The scene didn’t serve a larger purpose. It was just for paparazzi to spot them together.
Clay admits to being attracted to Thom, but we never get much insight into Thom’s feelings toward Clay. He routinely spent time at Clay’s apartment though, under the guise that they could post content of them together on social media. And he is less mean to Clay at work.
A few times in the book we were told something we should have been shown, or there could at least have been hints to keep us hooked. I was in the second half when I wondered if I liked anything about the book. There were a few funny lines. There were some threads of subplot that I wanted to see resolved and I thought would tie together (specifically involving Lenni’s son and Clay’s named-but-never-seen ex-business partner/college roommate), but they were resolved quickly with little impact on the story.
The plot kept me reading because there was some intrigue, though in the end it resolved anticlimactically. I felt as though Ms. Bowry didn’t want her darlings to suffer too much.
I thought this was going to be a fun book. It had potential, all the parts were there. Liz Bowry is a good writer. I was willing to like Thom if given a reason. But I was disappointed. It’s not great, it’s not bad. It’s just fine.
You can buy Love, Hate, and Clickbait on Amazon.
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