The Plot (from Goodreads):
Curvy fitness influencer Crystal Chen built her career shattering gym stereotypes and mostly ignoring the trolls. After her recent breakup, she has little stamina left for men, instead finding solace in the gym – her place of power and positivity.
Enter firefighter Scott Ritchie, the smug new gym patron who routinely steals her favorite squat rack. Sparks fly as these ultra-competitive foes battle for gym domination. But after a series of escalating jabs, the last thing they expect is to run into each other at their grandparents’ engagement party.
In the lead-up to their grandparents’ wedding, Crystal discovers there’s a soft heart under Scott’s muscled exterior. Bonding over family, fitness, and cheesy pick-up lines, she just might have found her swolemate. But when a photo of them goes viral, savage internet trolls put their budding relationship to the ultimate test of strength.
Thank you to @booksparks for this complimentary copy as part of their #SRC2022 campaign, and to @prhaudio for the complimentary ALC! I began listening to Set On You while driving cross-country and finished it by reading the physical copy once I arrived at my destination (I had a whole pile of awesome bookmail waiting for me!). I enjoyed flipping back through the book to see how the Instagram posts and text threads were laid out, which is a fun addition to the story that doesn’t translate as well into the audio version.
This debut contemporary romance is full of positive messages and mostly extremely well-written characters. I loved that Crystal showed incredible growth throughout the story. She wasn’t just a perfect influencer that had body positivity all figured out–she was a real person with plenty of her own insecurities that she hid from her followers.
Scott didn’t have nearly as much personal growth as Crystal. His character was a little less well-developed, and I would have liked to see a little more of what makes him tick. I also feel like the way he was written contradicted itself a little bit: in some scenes, he was the smug, confident gym bro who wasn’t used to people telling him no, but in other scenes he was too awkward to even have a conversation with Crystal.
The beginning of the book had amazing banter between the two MCs, and I loved the scenes in the gym. Unfortunately, once they get together, the steam drops off. I wish the enemies-to-lovers trope played out a little more, as they seemed to go from enemies to friends really quickly, and eventually friends to lovers.
Overall I thought this was a really good debut, and I will certainly be looking out for more books by this author in the future.
Audio Review: I really liked this narrator, and thought her bubbly voice was the perfect match for Crystal’s personality. I would certainly listen to more productions from her. This audiobook was an easy listen, and the perfect way to round off my cross-country road trip!
QOTD: What’s your preferred way of staying fit? I love spin classes the best but can’t always afford them, so Pat and I usually lift and run together.
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