After an intense book club read (if anyone would like to discuss Ada Palmer's Too Like the Lightning, I have almost too many thoughts to organize coherently), it was time to downshift into something fluffy and fun.
My waiting ARC of The Boyfriend Project, by Farrah Rochon, was the perfect choice. Beautiful, competent people meet and are wildly attracted to each other, pursue a relationship despite obstacles, overcome pitfalls, and kiss on a lovely fade to black.
The best parts about this book are around Samiah and her awesomeness. She kicks butt and takes name, owns it at work, has goals and meets them. At the beginning of the book she's involved in a viral video with a couple of strangers who quickly become the friends she's been missing as she focused on her work. This new friendship is delightful and charming and I can't wait for the inevitable books about Taylor and London that I certainly hope are coming.
The workplace stuff is also great--watching Samiah navigate idea-stealers and potential promotions is competence at its finest, but watching this company be full of competent, happy people who are treated well by their managers and enjoy their work. I've had a job like that and it was brilliant, and this very much captures that feeling of excitement and teamwork that goes along with that. It's very much a story about a fantasy workplace.
Daniel is also very hot and delightful, and their mutual attraction is full of delightful flirting banter and longing looks.
The reasons Samiah had for not wanting to get serious (because isn't a romance mostly about why they can't just fall for each other smoothly) are pretty thin, but she's a person who's all about control, so it made sense for her character, if not strictly necessary.
Daniel's reasons to resist their attraction are clearer; he's taken his new job as part of a government investigation, and he's here to get the information he needs and get out. Falling for one of his new coworkers was not part of the plan, and the lies he has to tell to sustain his cover story make him uncomfortable, even as he is being his sincere self in falling in love.
This book has an admirable sense of the difference between privacy and lying, because Samiah is a pretty private person, and doesn't expect all Daniel's details. It could be much worse. But the fact is that there are a lot of lies throughout the book, and then at the end, when the reckoning comes, while the apologies are believable, there is maybe not quite enough groveling for me. I feel like some of the angles of his deception that bothered me were not the ones that bothered Samiah, nor the ones Daniel was apologizing for. I wanted a little more nuance in his apology.
BUT: he remains charming and hot and brilliant and nerdy, and a book where the capitalists are not all evil and the "police" presence is after white collar crimes was just the light touch I needed right now. I definitely recommend this one; if you like the cover, this book will definitely deliver.