Set on You

Berkley. May 2022. 384p. ISBN 9780593336571. pap. $16. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
DEBUT Gymstagrammer and personal trainer Crystal Chen is infuriated when firefighter Scott Ritchie steals a weight machine out from under her when she’d obviously indicated it was being used. Crystal won’t be pushed around or taken advantage of, and after her recent disastrous breakup, she also doesn’t care about the chemistry between her and “the squat rack thief”—until she marches into the men’s changing room to give him a piece of her mind and ends up kissing him brainless instead. Crystal is prepared to pretend it never happened, but a family wedding unexpectedly brings her back together with Scott. In the process of making peace, they begin to fall in love. Lea’s steamy debut romance features well-developed, likable characters with slow-build chemistry. The secondary characters and the backstories create believable motivations for the protagonists’ realistic actions and reactions. The leisurely plot is issue-oriented: it discusses the lasting repercussions of childhood abuse, the reality of being mixed race and curvy in a world that rewards skinny whiteness, and the downsides of the body positivity movement.
VERDICT Hand this one to fans of Helen Hoang and Talia Hibbert. Recommended for general purchase.
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