ARC Review: Loathe At First Sight by Suzanne Park

Title: Loathe At First Sight
Author: Suzanne Park
Publication Date: August 4, 2020
Publisher: Avon Books/ HarperCollins
Part of a Series?: No, A Standalone
I Got A Copy Through HarperCollins International (THANK YOU!)

Blurb Description: Melody Joo is thrilled to land her dream job as a video game producer, but her new position comes with its share of challenges. Namely, an insufferable CEO and a team that consists of mostly male co-workers who make the term “misogyny” pale in comparison to their obnoxious comments. Then there’s the infuriating—yet distractingly handsome—MBA intern Nolan MacKenzie, a.k.a. “the guy who got hired because his uncle is the boss”. 
Just when Melody thinks she’s made the worst career move of her life, her luck changes on a dime. While joking with a friend, she creates a mobile game that has male strippers fighting for survival in a post-apocalyptic world. Suddenly, Melody’s “joke” is her studio's most high-profile project—and Melody’s running the show. 
When Nolan is appointed a key member of her team, Melody’s sure he’ll be useless. But as they grow closer, she sees he’s smart and sexy, which makes Melody want to forget he’s her intern. As their attraction deepens, she knows it’s time to pump the brakes even with her Korean parents breathing down her neck to hurry up and find a man. But she’s here to work—and nothing more. All she has to do is resist the wild thoughts coursing through her mind whenever Nolan is near. Easy . . . or so she thinks.
With her pet project about to launch, Melody suddenly faces a slew of complications, including a social media trolling scandal that could end her career. She suspects one of her co-workers is behind the sabotage and is determined to find out who betrayed her. Could the man she’s falling hard for help her play the game to win—in work and love?

TW: Doxxing, toxic work environment, harassment, online bullying

I had HUGE hopes for this book. The gaming industry + a cute romance + a game that sounded absolutely amazing + defeating sexism in an industry where it is rampant? SIGN ME UP!

I dove in almost as soon as I got an eARC from the wonderful folks at HarperCollins International - I simply couldn't resist.


1) Melody's parents were HORRIBLE, and she was HORRIBLE right back.
"Your daddy and me still wonder how you get a stalker. Stalker usually go after beautiful girl."
"Thanks for being so supportive, mom."
"We watch local evening news every day. All the stalkers want to be boyfriend. Maybe you have secret admire crush."

I think that pretty much sums up my point.

2) That work environment was insane
I KNOW the description says that the work environment was basically the definition of the phrase toxic masculinity, but GOOD GOD. They kept busty Asian cut-outs in the office of one of their only female employees, the sexual harassment training was a joke, the boss was absolutely terrible and sexist and while I knew to expect this, it still made my blood boil. When things come to light in the 
latter half of the book about who leaked Melody's info, I was shocked even more. I'm not really counting it against the book, but it was so extreme to me (and the solution at the end so easy for such a built-in culture) that it held me back from enjoying the book.

3) The Cyber Crimes Division + Everyone's Reactions Scared Me
No, really. The state of what could be done when someone was being stalked, doxxed, bullied and threatened and how the police responded was absolutely terrifying. Even Melody's friends and parents didn't seem NEARLY concerned enough for what she was going through. It made me feel a certain disconnect to the book and characters that I never got over.

4) Melody Didn't Seem... Real?
I felt like with all the HORRIBLE things piling on her, her character and what she was going through wasn't properly explored. She was also quite a two-faced person with her friends, clearly looked down on her parents, somehow entered a new industry and figured out how to run an entire project with no mentor to guide her (wow? pls teach me how one does this?) ... and I just didn't feel her character was properly ironed out.

Ok that's it. I don't really recommend this book. Clearly.

Suzanne Park

Suzanne Park is a Korean-American writer who was born and raised in Tennessee. In her former life as a stand-up comedian, she was a finalist in the Oxygen Network's "Girls Behaving Badly" talent search, and appeared on BET's "Coming to the Stage." She found this to be the funniest thing in her comedy career because, well, she is not black. Suzanne was also the winner of the Seattle Sierra Mist Comedy Competition, and was a semi-finalist in NBC's "Stand Up For Diversity" showcase in San Francisco alongside comedians Ali Wong and Nico Santos.

Have you read romcoms that didn't work for you AT ALL?
I'd love to hear about them below!

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