Clickbait by E.J. Russell
Review by Lauren
source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own
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Official Summary: After the disastrous ending of his first serious relationship, Gideon Wallace cultivated a protective — but fabulously shiny — outer shell to shield himself from Heartbreak 2.0. Besides, romance is so not a priority for him right now. All his web design prospects have inexplicably evaporated, and to save his fledgling business, he’s been compelled to take a hands-on hardware project — as in, his hands on screwdrivers, soldering irons, and needle-nosed pliers. God. Failure could actually be an option.
Journeyman electrician Alex Henning is ready to leave Gideon twisting in the wind after their run-ins both on and off the construction site. Except, like a fool, he takes pity on the guy and offers to help. Never mind that between coping with his dad’s dementia and clocking all the overtime he can finagle, he has zero room in his life for more complications.
Apparently, an office build-out can lay the foundation for a new relationship. Who knew? But before Alex can trust Gideon with the truth about his fragile family, he has to believe that Gideon’s capable of caring about more than appearances. And Gideon must learn that when it comes to the heart, it’s content — not presentation — that matters.
Gideon Wallace is a tech geek, whose first real relationship scared him away from anything beyond a two-date limit. However, he’s suddenly desperate for work, his web design prospects drying up, so he takes on a hardware job that will hopefully lead to working on the company’s website. This job leads him right to Alex Henning, who he’s already made a bad impression in front of, and whose large size freaks Gideon out, reminding him of his ex.
As for Alex, he’s a hardworking young man whose sister is one of Gideon’s roommates. He’s had a crush on Gideon for years, but Gideon doesn’t remember him at first, not having been around him much. Alex would like to get to know Gideon better, but his dad’s memory is failing and he feels too much obligation to take care of everything and everyone to make himself happy.
However, a deal is made where Alex helps Gideon finish his project by the deadline if Gideon will go out with Alex three times and this brings the two closer. I really liked the dynamic between these two, despite them being very different. Alex wants to have a relationship, but he also feels guilty if he’s not around to help his mom, and Gideon is too afraid to try a relationship after the way his first ended. Despite this, the two find they like hanging out together, Gideon more so than Alex, as Gideon is the one who has more prejudices he has to face. I liked that the author focused on this aspect of Gideon. It didn’t mean he was a bad person, but he did picture himself with someone more white collar and successful; someone more on his intellectual wavelength. So being with a blue collar guy like Alex has him rechecking things he used to believe. Alex is aware of this though, and he does push Gideon to see things different and I liked that.
I also really liked the added diversity of Gideon being white and Alex being black. Alex comments on his race a few times, thinking Gideon is judging him on it, but that is one thing that doesn’t affect Gideon. Race didn’t matter. It was other aspects that he had to work around, and I liked that. It showed that people have different pre-conceived notions or prejudices apart from race that they have to deal with.
While the two ultimately do become physical, this is actually a book that doesn’t deal too much with that side of the relationship. You really get to know the two main characters, and they learn to work together as well. Gideon has his past to deal with, from his ex-boyfriend to his parents, while Alex has his dad’s condition that has mostly been kept a family secret. I liked getting to know Gideon and Alex separately and together, and I thought the author did a good job exploring more than their relationship in the book - though I did like their relationship and I appreciated that it wasn’t always easy. It felt realistic overall.