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Spoiler Alert: 01/11/21
Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade is a romance set in the Bay Area. Marcus Caster-Rupp has finished filming the last season of Gods of the Gates where he has starred as Aeneas. Knowing the fandom will be outraged at the way the show ends, he returns to California.
April Whittier is a geologist. She's found a job in Oakland with a great team after numerous toxic jobs for big petroleum. She's also finally feeling confident enough to share her cosplay selfie where she's dressed as Lavinia — as she is in the romance series inspired by The Aeneid.
Because April isn't skinny like the star who plays Lavinia the trolls come after her. Marcus, though, sees her and is instantly smitten. He invites her out to dinner and after the initial shock wears off, she accepts.
Before the date even begins, the reader knows the two have a history. The two have been helping each other with their fanfics. By the end of the first date, Marcus knows she's Unapologetic Lavinia Stan, but he doesn't tell her that he's Book!AeneasWouldNever.
I am not much of a consumer of fanfic (although I do like fan art) so that aspect wasn't what drew me in. Initially it was the cover art which is absolutely gorgeous. Then it was Marcus and April's ages; they aren't teens nor are they twenty-somethings. Next it was April's career; she's a geologist. Early on there's an adorable scene where the two are flirting while comparing Loma Prieta to Northridge. Finally it was the location: the East Bay — Oakland and Berkeley.
Both characters are flawed making what at first appears to be unbalanced in terms of agency (famous actor vs. geologist). Marcus is dyslexic and extremely shy from years of disappointing his parents and later girlfriends. Frankly, his inability to read social clues and his hyper-focus on whatever he needs to learn for his next role, reads as if he's autistic but undiagnosed. April has her own insecurities from her mother's constant worry over her weight and appearance.
What all this means is a friendship and romance built out of careful communication and consent. Even during the steamy sex scenes, there is careful talk to make sure each one is being satisfied.
There's a follow up, Slow Burn which covers Alex and Loren's romance. It releases June 15th.