The Stand-Up Groomsman

Berkley. (Donut Fall in Love, Bk. 2). Oct. 2022. 368p. ISBN 9780593334324. pap. $17. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Vivian Liao is a talented artist with a career in banking whose life principles stem from her traumatic upbringing. Melvin Lee is a well-known stand-up comedian. In contrast to his comedic persona, he suffers from depression and trauma from his father’s abandonment at a young age. When Melvin began questioning Vivian’s life choices, Vivian immediately drew a line between them. To her dismay, they both agree to be a part of their friend’s upcoming wedding, putting them in each other’s company more and more. Despite Melvin and Vivian’s differences, they manage to undo each other’s insecurities through a slow but passionate progression of their relationship filled with high sexual tension and steamy intimate moments. As both main characters are bisexual, the novel takes care to discuss the discrimination that bisexual people often face when they’re in straight-presenting relationships. Lau’s inclusion of BIPOC characters, mental health issues, intergenerational trauma, and exploration of sexualities beautifully illustrates Vivian’s and Melvin’s personalities.
VERDICT If readers enjoyed Donut Fall in Love, they will doubly enjoy Lau’s follow-up novel.
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