I thought this story was funny. Like hilarious. The opening sequence full of disgusting regurgitated green Gatorade was impossible not to laugh at. True romcom gold for the hot gym crush to be drunk (not drunk) out of his mind and throwing up on your shoes. Then later on the man with the soggy shoes, Will, is apprehensive about letting Steve get close to him by the lockers cause who knows if this will happen twice. Just a fun opener and the book had a few more good laughs. The problem was that as the plot revealed itself it didn’t hold up what transpired in the book very well.
There is zero way to say this without spoilers so read at your own peril
So it turns out that Steve’s partner left him. Mkay. I was like so he was distraught went out and drunk himself stupid then came to the gym and tried to sober up on energy drinks which made stuff worse. Nope. This is not what happened. He overexercised and drank too many nonalcoholic beverages. Ah huh (confused face emoji). So he didn’t do anything that classifies as wallowing in the loss of a relationship. He just worked out harder. I dunno. I can see him being stuck in the bathroom peeing like crazy cause with that much liquid in him he wouldn’t have even been able to over-exercise enough to be sick with all the bathroom runs. But, sadly I was wrong about the partner bit.
Apparently, partner means work buddy. As in Steve used him to help his online branding as a trainer. And he decided he didn’t want anything to do with Steve anymore. Mkay. I guess that could make him upset but upset enough for the hilarious opening? Especially one that didn’t involve the type of overeating and drinking that creates epic scenes of throwupping? This is starting to lose its emotional value/cred by the second. If they were not lovers and just partners, why is he upset like the other guy just ended years of relationship investment? Starting with someone new would suck but he has clients and knows people at the gym. Surely Steve can replace him. His level of upset doesn’t make sense.
It doesn’t end there. It turns out I was wrong yet again and it was the other guy who was using Steve to keep his trainer business going. Sigh, so their relationship as mere associates keeps getting stronger and stronger, so why is Steve so distraught? Then we find out he’s a paramedic so exercise is his side gig. We only find this out because of a hilarious bit with him training Will and Will overreacting when he drops a weight on his own foot. To be fair I ignored that this would actually be serious. Weights are not light and the way it was just brushed off seemed odd, but for the sake of good comedy, I ignored this. The point I’m making is I’m here making all these assumptions like Steve is a full-time trainer but he has a regular day job that pays the bills. Being a trainer isn’t his regular day job. So now I’m even more confused why he is vomiting from such huge emotional stress when he didn’t lose a client, or a lover and he isn’t actually a full-time trainer. None of this story is making sense, and it took me way too long to figure out the actual dynamics of Steve and the real trainer.
So that part of the plot aside it didn’t make sense for another reason. At the end of the book, Steve just up and leaves when this ex-friend calls him for work. How, with his normal job that pays the bills, can he somehow just up and leave for Hawaii? I can’t see this working. You can’t just be like oh my friend needs me I’m going across the ocean and your job be like ‘okay. See you when you get back.’ This is not a family emergency. He literally just needs you to do vids. And with all the people in the gym, he didn’t have a backup plan when the person he was going to use fell through; that is not Steve’s problem. Also, he has no real emotional connection to this guy so why is Steve putting his job, and his soon to be boyfriend who he has a date with on hold for this guy? And, most importantly, if he is this excited why not just tell Will his old friend is in a bind so he’s going to help him. All of this seems odd especially when you consider most influencers use a few people for their vids. This idea that it’s just Steve and him doesn’t scan very well unless he’s getting paid which, to be fair, is a non-issue because fitness is Steve’s side gig. They aren’t business partners he could just be helping a friend. But, sadly, I don’t even know how close thier friendship is. Nothing about him just up and putting his life on hold for a guy he apparently liked enough to make himself sick for, when there’s no evidence they were that close, makes sense. And, logistically when you consider he has a weekend date with Will and a paying job, it really seems awkward.
The other reason this relationship doesn’t make sense is because at the end Will is supposed to be jealous of this relationship. If you have made it this far you know nothing is going on. In fact, there was a woman trainer at the gym who left and pretty much poached this guy and took him with her because… they are engaged. There is an abundance of evidence that states nothing is going, and that he is as straight as they come. Nothing, seriously I couldn’t find a shred of doubt big enough for the readers or the characters to buy into this. So, this same relationship that wasn’t big enough to justify the opening sequence is even less strong when it comes to being potent enough to cast a shadow over the budding relationship. So I couldn’t get on board with this either. As far as angst in romance goes there was too much evidence to think Will would even for a second consider there was a real relationship going on which should have made him question, like I did, why Steve was so messed up in the beginning.
If Steve was the subject in the videos and not the influencer, if there is nothing at all going on between them, and we can’t even tell if their friendship went beyond business, this one thing that is the crux of the angst and drama of the book just doesn’t hold up. Beyond the laughs I spent a lot of time trying to make it all make sense.
So, was the book funny, hilarious. Like stupid-hilarious. The plot however, right from the opening scene that I loved, didn’t really work. In order for the angst and end of story almost-breakup stuff to sell, a real relationship needed to happen. I don’t even like that kinda stuff but this other guy would’ve had to be a legitimate ex, that drove him to drink all night, for real, and then when over-exercising to get over him it triggered the vomiting scene. That would’ve been heavy enough to sell the rest of the book. As it stands all I did was question how things were panning out because if there was no real relationship nothing really connects. Steve running off to Hawaii doesn’t look like he is trying to get back with the guy, again the opener seems a bit much, Will questioning if Steve really likes him and then being jealous about it seems like a stretch, and a few other things all seem off because the catalyst for them isn’t strong enough. It’s just too obvious that nothing is going on between the two guys so it’s hard for the plot to hold up without a good enough anchor.
That being said I’m probably going to give this two stars but it’s a hard recommendation. Most people won’t even care that the plot stuff doesn’t make logical sense. The book itself is funny. At least I thought it was hilarious and there is romance and some steamy scenes. I feel, in this instance, that will likely be more than enough to please most readers. But for me, things need to make sense and I spent too much time trying to make it all do that with the information given and I couldn’t.