I’ve felt a little overwhelmed with life, work, hobbies, and chores. Why is there always so much to do? So, the only way I’ve been even halfway keeping up with my reading goals is by listening to audiobooks on my commute. I can’t listen to any book that is too complicated or literary because I find those too difficult to pay attention to while I’m driving. Thus, I end up listening to a lot of romances, memoirs, comedy memoirs, and simple non-fiction. My latest audiobook find at the library was Loathe at First Sight (2020) by Suzanne Park.
Loathe at First Sight is a contemporary, enemies-to-lovers, romance novel with a fair bit of feminism on top. On the whole, I found it a satisfying and entertaining audiobook, although still not one of my favorites. One important thing to mention is that I was not a huge fan of the voices the reader did for many of the characters. I think some of her voices made the characters more annoying than they would have been had I been reading the book myself.
Anyway, back to the plot: Melody Joo was recently hired as a production assistant at a video game company that is trying to be better about diversity. Melody’s boss is pretty terrible. He has bad ideas and is ridiculously sexist and demeaning. So, when she meets his nephew, Nolan, who is interning for the company, she assumes the worst of him as well. They do not get off to a good start.
When joking with one of the few other women at the company about a video game idea based on scantily-clad, male strippers, they are overheard, and suddenly she’s in charge of producing this new game herself. She is given few resources with absurd expectations, and is set to work. Forced to work with Nolan, she very slowly realizes he’s one of the better guys and the attraction grows.
Positives: I liked how Park realistically portrayed how difficult it was for Melody–being Asian and a woman–singlehandedly bringing diversity to a company within an industry known for its sometimes vicious misogyny. It felt real enough to wonder how much of this came from personal experience. (However, I wish she’d gone into a little more detail about how the game was developed. It might have made it feel more real.)
Negatives: I was underwhelmed with the romance between Melody and Nolan. Melody would treat Nolan very badly, and then apologize. And then she would ignore him for months, before getting mad at him for not calling her. The main obstruction to their relationship is that Nolan was an intern.
I also did not love the scenes with Melody’s friends and parents. I didn’t think they added much to the book, and I especially did not understand Melody’s relationship with her friends. She seemed to honestly hate one of them.
So, a good distraction with some good feminist gaming bits, but otherwise underwhelming.
You can find all my reviews on my blog.