Boyfriend Material is a very fun read. The enemies to fake dating to true love arc is messy and chock full of chemistry, the side characters are vivid and hilarious, and there are some deeply emotional moments to keep it all grounded.
I doubt anyone reads Boyfriend Material and doesn’t immediately fall for Oliver – he has all the advantages in this relationship. It’s a bit unfair, really – Luc is such a mess he has to spend most of the book evolving and becoming a better person after each new breakdown and argument. Oliver is also much better when it comes to defending Luc and helping him find things to like about himself. He’s so articulate it’s like he’s always got a well-researched pep talk or a courtroom monologue ready to go. And Luc does his best, but he’s just not quite there – his defence of Oliver and his attempt to share his feelings are generally profanity-leaden, stumbling, and disconnected thoughts that might add up to something if you look really closely. I wanted to like Luc more – he’s trying so hard, and he’s been dealt a shit hand – but Oliver was easy to fall for.
There are a surprising number of side characters – from family members to friends to colleagues of both Luc and Oliver – but it’s easy to keep track of them because Hall does such a good job of making them memorable. They’ve got quirks and strong personalities, and they clearly play a role in the lives of our main characters. I usually struggle to keep track of a large cast of characters or find them an unnecessary distraction from the main story, but I found the narrative to be well-balanced between romance/chemistry development and side plots. It kept the relationship from feeling like it was moving too quickly and allowed it to develop naturally in different environments. I appreciated that the relationship was messy and complicated and was off and on even when it was fake – there may have been attraction early on, but it certainly wasn’t instalove.
I’m not sure what the next book in the series could be about, but I’m hoping for some Oliver POVs. I think my opinion of Luc would benefit from an outside perspective, and it would be nice to see how Oliver’s articulate but slightly anxious mind works.