What I couldn’t get past is that Leo inspired viewers to give his co-host the nickname Nasty Nina and three years later he still doesn’t understand how that harmed her. For Butter or Worse is one of those rare books where I think the dual point of view made me dislike the character more. I dislike Leo when we first see him from Nina’s perspective, and then I grew to dislike him even more when we get his perspective. It bothered me a lot that he felt like they had been equally bad to each other. It seemed like Nina’s crime was not being charmed by him. I don’t think that’s as bad as making her work life hell and encouraging online harassment.
Leo does apologize and he does, eventually, make a statement against the misogynist online bullying. But, it wasn’t enough for me to want Nina and Leo to work things out. Leo reminded me too much of the men I’ve worked with who thought it was ok to harass and bad mouth women because we – didn’t laugh at their jokes? Wanted to do our jobs? Leo tries to provoke Nina, and Nina lashes out, making the dynamic between them more toxic than tense and sexy. At one point early in the book, Nina realizes that she doesn’t like the person she is around Leo, and I didn’t either. Does it get better? Yes. Does it get better enough – that’s going to vary a lot from reader to reader. It wasn’t enough for me.
What I did like was Nina’s friendships with her best friend and her sister. The Nina we see around Jasmine and Sophie is the Nina I wanted to spend the book with.
CW: Off page deaths of parents, grief, anxiety, on page anxiety attack, misogyny, internet harassment.
I received an advance reader copy via NetGalley. My opinions are my own and voluntarily given.