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Publisher's Summary

Oscar is a grouch. That’s a well-established fact among his tight-knit friend group, and they love him anyway. Jack is an ass. Jack, who’s always ready with a sly insult, who can’t have a conversation without arguing, and who Oscar may or may not have hooked up with on a strict no-commitment, one-time-only basis. Even if it was extremely hot. Together, they’re a bickering, combative mess. 

When Oscar is fired (answering phones is not for the anxiety-ridden), he somehow ends up working for Jack. Maybe while cleaning out Jack’s grandmother’s house they can stop fighting long enough to turn a one-night stand into a frenemies-with-benefits situation. The house is an archaeological dig of love and dysfunction, and while Oscar thought he was prepared, he wasn’t. It’s impossible to delve so deeply into someone’s past without coming to understand them at least a little, but Oscar has boundaries for a reason - even if sometimes Jack makes him want to break them all down. After all, hating Jack is less of a risk than loving him....

©2021 Kris Ripper (P)2021 Dreamscape Media, LLC

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Profile Image for Pavel Obolensky
  • Pavel Obolensky
  • 07-11-21

Very unenjoyable

There are several problems with this book. It is supposed to be a 'haters to lovers' story but it's never clear why the main characters, Oscar and Jack, don't like each other. We are told that Jack somehow joined Oscar's group of friends and that the two of them never got on. But we never actually see them meeting each other for the first time nor do we see any examples of them 'hating' each other.

Both Oscar and Jack are fairly two-dimensional characters with no personality. We know practically nothing about Jack, only that he works a lot, likes sex, and has a good relationship with his grandmother. Meanwhile, Oscar's only personality trait is his anxiety. We are given no reasons whatsoever to like the main characters or to root for their relationship.

Much of the book is spent describing either Oscar's doing mundane things, like tidying up, or struggling with his anxiety, both of which are extremely monotonous.

We are told that Oscar is commitment-phobic and it is repeatedly emphasised that, unlike sex, kissing is a major sign of commitment for him. But, first, one is left wondering why he struggles with relationships: it is implied that it is because of his anxiety, but we don't see any examples of previous (failed or successful) relationships to be persuaded by that suggestion. A simple flashback in the plot would have sufficed, but the author doesn't provide one. Second, since when is kissing uncommon among gay men?! It might be so among sex workers, but I find it hard to believe that there are ordinary gay men out there regularly having sex with the same guy without kissing him.

The last thing that was really irritating about this book is the amount of gratuitous swearing. Oscar swears a lot both when he is thinking and when he is talking to others, including Jack. The swearing between Oscar and Jack is especially annoying - it deprives any potentially romantic scenes of their actual romance.