Title: Loathe At First Sight
Author: Suzanne Park
Publisher: Avon Books
Publishing Date: August 4, 2020
Genre: Romance, Women’s Literature
Melody Joo is thrilled to land her dream job as a video game producer, but her new position comes with challenges: an insufferable CEO; sexist male coworkers; and an infuriating—yet distractingly handsome—intern, Nolan MacKenzie, aka “the guy who got hired because his uncle is the boss.”
Just when Melody thinks she’s made the worst career move of her life, her luck changes. While joking with a friend, she creates a mobile game that has male strippers fighting for survival in a post-apocalyptic world. Suddenly Melody’s “joke” is her studio’s most high-profile project—and Melody’s running the show.
When Nolan is assigned to Melody’s team, she’s sure he’ll be useless. But as they grow closer, she realizes he’s smart and sexy, which makes Melody want to forget he’s her intern. As their attraction deepens, she knows it’s time to pump the brakes, even with her Korean parents breathing down her neck to hurry up and find a man.
With her project about to launch, Melody suddenly faces a slew of complications, including a devastating trolling scandal. Could the man she’s falling hard for help her play the game to win—in work and in love?
Ever since getting wind of Suzanne Park and her works, I have been looking forward to reading them. I’m so happy to have been given the chance to read her YA debut, The Perfect Escape. And now, finally reading her Contemporary Romance, Loathe At First Sight and boy was it a good time!
Melody Joo just changed careers, she joined Seventeen Studios as a video game producer and is suddenly thrown in a testosterone-filled industry. While in line for a caffeine fix with a co-worker and having a conversation about the heavy sexism their industry is in, she comes up with an absurd game idea of a post-apocalyptic world with male strippers shooting zombies for their life. In the blink of an eye, her idea becomes the next big thing the CEO pitches to the board of directors to make the company seems more female friendly hence sending Melody into a frenzy of getting this game launched from the ground up. And with the help of several co-workers, and an intern that she isn’t on good terms with. Will Melody get her shit together or eventually cause a shit storm for her company and everyone in it?
One thing that I find myself enjoying a lot is Suzanne Park’s writing style. Her character voices are really fun and easy-going. Which makes the story and plot effortless and entertaining. Even if she did touch on very real and very heavy themes that aren’t all that addressed in the workplace, not just in the video game/tech world, but in all industries. She also has researched well on the setting of the book, being a woman in the game industry and it shows. I find that really commendable, seeing how she really put in the time and effort to make this as plausible to reality.
Loathe At First Sight did surprise me because I fully expected an enemies-to-lovers, whambam, romcom but it gave me much more than that. And I didn’t feel disappointed. I read this in all of one sitting, (reading instead of working from home, but oh well!) and the feminist in me was just rooting Melody on her decisions to just strive in a community that she was supposedly not all that welcomed in. I felt for her successes and struggles as the story went on. Although, I personally did not like how she handled some of her personal relationships, mostly with her friends. I completely did not understand it at all. I did love the family dynamics, reminded me of a friend who works in the city while his parents are in the province. The texts demanding for calls, the not-so-affectionate mom responses, and the passive dad were just so on point on how Korean parents are with their children who are away from them!
The romance in the book came secondary for the most part but still gave me the bees knees. Nolan is the intern slash nephew of the company’s CEO. And the first time Melody and Nolan met was in the break room as he “stole” her coffee mug. I really liked that their relationship developed like a delicate cherry blossom in the spring, slowly but surely. Although I would have wanted more characterization and arc for Nolan. He was precious and completely lovable.
Overall, another homerun for me on Suzanne Park’s repertoire of books. I really enjoyed Loathe At First Sight, I’d even want to download Ultimate Apocalypse. It’s definitely a romcom but it also gives you that boost of I’m a woman and I can accomplish anything vibes right after you finish this masterpiece.
Suzanne Park is a Korean-American writer who was born and raised in Tennessee. In her former life as a stand-up comedian, she was a finalist in the Oxygen Network’s “Girls Behaving Badly” talent search, and appeared on BET’s “Coming to the Stage.” She found this to be the funniest thing in her comedy career because, well, she is not black. Suzanne was also the winner of the Seattle Sierra Mist Comedy Competition, and was a semi-finalist in NBC’s “Stand Up For Diversity” showcase in San Francisco alongside comedians Ali Wong and Nico Santos