~ Book Review: Loathe at First Sight ~

Published: August 18, 2020

Author: Suzanne Park

Melody Joo is thrilled to land her dream job as a video game producer, but her new position comes with challenges: an insufferable CEO; sexist male coworkers; and an infuriating—yet distractingly handsome—intern, Nolan MacKenzie, aka “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. 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 assigned to Melody’s team, she’s sure he’ll be useless. But as they grow closer, she realizes 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.

With her project about to launch, Melody suddenly faces a slew of complications, including a devastating trolling scandal. Could the man she’s falling hard for help her play the game to win—in work and in love?

Loathe at First Sight is my third Suzanne Park read. I do not quite understand the title as it makes the story sound as if it is an enemies to lover story. While there is a romance as a minor plot, it is not quite enemies to lovers. As the romance is not a main storyline, I feel this novel was not marketed correctly. Instead, I would call this more women’s fiction as it follows the main character and her journey. I would also change the title as I feel it gives a false impression of what the reader should expect. The story mainly follows a female working in a world filled with sexism, microaggressions, and full-on aggressions. There are a lot of uncomfortable situations and conversations that rang true for me, and I am sure for many other readers, so I appreciated the authenticity.

Melody Joo is a game developer/video game producer who works in a “man’s world” and constantly must “prove her worth” at the company. While this career path is the one her parents wanted for her, Melody is determined to succeed. After reading, I am not sure if I missed something as I do not recall any mentions of Melody being a gamer, playing any games, or even just liking them. She even has a random dream of being a radio DJ that is mentioned at least once, so I cannot understand her life goals. I am not quite sure that Melody was the right main character for the point the story was making as she was not really one that I would want to root for. There are online trolls that criticize her work and for those parts, they are right. I absolutely do not agree with any racist or sexist remarks, but with just the passion in the industry itself alone, there were valid points. Melody also judges other females a lot, so it did not help drive home the point that she was always in the right. There are a lot of wrongs in this story that Melody should never have dealt with, so I wish that she was written better to get those points across. She did not have to be an extremely likable character, but she just needed something that I wanted to support.

When a joke about a new game becomes a reality, Melody finds herself in charge of its development. Nolan MacKenzie, the newest intern and nephew of the company’s CEO, Ian MacKenzie, is assigned to her team. The two have an attraction, but, for me, there was not enough connection to root for them as a couple. A lot of this developing romance was overshadowed by the rest of the story. There was even a side plot with Melody being the maid of honor in her frenemy’s wedding, but, again, this was overshadowed by her job. I honestly do not know why either subplot was included as there was enough with just her game and the people involved to make a compelling story. Overall, I think a lot of reworking on Melody’s character plus some editing of the subplots could make this story amazing; however, as-is, this was not for me.

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