Two boys, one dressed in a suit, one in a black t-shirt and jeans - stand on opposite ends of the image with red and blue images of London tourist attractions.

About the Book

Title: Boyfriend Material (London Calling #1)
Published: 2020

First Impressions: You Sound Like You’re From Luhndun
What’s Your Type?: Fake dating, Enemies-ish to lovers, Slow burn, Opposites attract
Meet Cute: Twice Bitten, No Time To Be Shy
The Lean: Fake Dating? We Don’t Know Her
Dirty Talk: What Dirty Talk?
We Need to Talk: Therapy Is Good
Was it Good For You?: Accents Will Get Me Every Time

Content Warning: This book deals with absent parents, overbearing parents, homophobia, depression and allusions to an eating disorder.

First Impressions: You Sound Like You’re From Luhndun

“You sound like you’re from London!”

OOH, I love me some English boys. I was confused about who was who for a hot minute when I first started the book. The posh one has to be the main character because his parents are famous and he works at a charity right? NOT RIGHT. Not sure what the location pictures have to do with the book. There was no London Eye action or double-decker bus riding. There was a reference to Big Ben *EYEBROW WIGGLE*. All and all, it’s a well laid-out cover, and I suppose I am just destined to have cartoon characters on all my books forever.

What’s Your Type?

  • Fake Dating
  • Enemies-ish to Lovers
  • Slow Burn
  • Opposites Attract 

Dating Profile 

Luc O’Donnel, the son of famous rockstars, is in need of a respectable boyfriend (and therapy if we’re being honest). After an unflattering picture makes headlines, Luc is told by his boss that he needs to “be a better gay” because the donors for a fundraiser he is running are dropping like flies. Luc, extremely insulted, is in panic mode when he reaches out to his friend group for help. Locating a man to resurrect his tarnished reputation and save his job is top priority.

Oliver Blackwood, barrister extraordinaire and vegetarian with an extensive vocabulary, seems like the perfect respectable boyfriend to help Luc get back in the good graces of the tabloids and his donors. As it turns out, Oliver is also in need of a fake boyfriend to attend a family function. Ah, Kismet! 

Meet Cute: Twice Bitten, No Time To Be Shy

Oliver and Luc have met before, twice actually, and each time Oliver dismissed Luc. So, Luc is a little more than hesitant when Bridget, Luc’s best friend, suggests that Oliver is the perfect fake boyfriend for him. One disastrous dinner and non-consensual kiss later, an angry Oliver decides to help Luc out—in return for his help, of course. Thus begins the most non-fake dating I have ever read.

The Lean: Fake Dating? We Don’t Know Her

If it wasn’t for the constant reminders from Luc and Oliver that they weren’t actually “dating”, I would have thought this was just a run-of-the-mill partner-drama book. The fake dating that was supposed to be the whole plot of the book was shoved to the back burner. But I was too busy being obsessed with how cute Oliver and Luc were together, and it just seemed like they were actually dating? The nervousness, the opening up, the feeling of FEELINGS. 

Dirty Talk: What Dirty Talk?

There aren’t any explicit sex scenes. There are sex scenes, but non of them are super graphic…which was slightly disappointing (DON’T JUDGE ME), but it worked for the book and aligned with how private Luc’s character is. It’s very poetic and sweet. 

[…]I made a few token efforts to wriggle free, but he always distracted me, with my name on his lips, or some fresh touch to a place I never knew could be so sensitive, and by the time he stopped holding me down, I was too far gone to notice.

[…]I was pinned by the sheer pleasure of it all—of Oliver’s ragged breath and the stream of his caresses. Of his deep, deep kisses, ceaseless as the sky in summer. The drag and press of our bodies, the rub of hair and the glide of sweat.

Ms. Perky’s Prize for Purplest Prose:

If you’re listening to the audiobook, be warned there is a lot of swearing…so maybe don’t try and listen to this when your kids are in the room, HA! I really liked that the book was basically Luc talking to you about his life and explaining things from his point of view. The banter was exceptional, like only the English can do, and the side characters were EVERYTHING. Hall’s integration of the secondary characters into Oliver and Luc’s budding fake romance is wonderful, and you feel like you’re friends with everyone. Drag race references, snooty old boys clubs, dung beetle fundraisers—I loved it all.

We Need to Talk: Therapy Is Good

I got very hung up on that fact that Luc and Oliver both need some HARDCORE therapy. Especially Luc. When he suggested Oliver needed therapy, I let out an audible “HA!” sound. Look who’s talking, Mr. Self-Berating, Very Depressed, Emotionally Unavailable, Un-resolved Family Trauma man. I was glad that he eventually worked through some of it, and there was mention that he was getting better for himself and not Oliver, so that was nice. I do seriously hope there is some therapy back-story in the second book of this series. My men need to heal and deal.

Was It Good For You?: Accents Will Get Me Every Time

Sailor Moon with literal heart eyes.

I don’t know how much I would have liked this book if I hadn’t listened to the audiobook. The voice acting was phenomenal, and gave life to the characters in ways I don’t think I could have in my head if I was reading it in print. I laughed out loud a bunch and was really smitten with Luc and Oliver. The book had a good pace and nothing felt rushed, which I often find happens in romance novels near the end. I am basically team Luver forever, and I can’t wait to see how the second book, Husband Material, turns out!

FTC Full Disclosure: I bought this book with my audible credit and have not received payment for this review but I did discover how vital dung beetles are to human survival. Boyfriend Material is out now.

Amanda Bell (she/her) is a planner of events, reader (and listener) of books, a consumer of pizza and a crafter of all things! Propelled by caffeine and carbs – she found her love of reading again when she started a book club with her friends in 2019. Since then, books have consumed her life and her TBR pile is outta control. Amanda resides in Edmonton with her husband and daughter.