ROMANCE

Loathe at First Sight

Avon. Aug. 2020. 368p. ISBN 9780062990693. pap. $15.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
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Melody Joo thought landing a job as a video game producer was a dream come true, but her misogynistic boss and coworkers quickly turn it into a nightmare. When she’s tasked with creating a game about male strippers in a postapocalyptic world, a concept she invented as a joke, intern Nolan MacKenzie is assigned to her team. Melody does not want to work with the privileged nephew of the CEO, but her initial dislike turns into begrudging respect, which leads to friendship and the possibility of more. After her game idea is leaked to the public and she finds herself the target of online harassers, she has to decide what’s worth fighting for, both in her career and in love. Told through Melody’s snarky, curse-laden, first-person narrative, this workplace dramedy with a romance subplot highlights the sexism and racism that Melody faces within the white male–dominated gaming industry and also shows the injustices and microaggressions she faces everywhere by simply existing as a Korean woman.
VERDICT Melody’s characterization and voice sparkle throughout, despite extraneous plot points that make the story feel unfocused at times. Smart, punchy, and memorable.

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