*CW: Extreme cyberbullying, sexism, racism
If you’re looking for a story that dives heavily into misogyny and sexism in gaming, while also adding a touch of workplace romance, then definitely give Loathe at First Sight by Suzanne Park a try.
What it’s about:
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.
*The marketing. Really the only issue I had with the book was how it was marketed. I expected an enemies-to-lovers rom-com that tackled misogyny in the gaming world as a subplot. I was all in with this description of the story, but this ended up not really being the best description for LAFS. The romance was secondary to the constant harassment and mistreatment that Melody faced. Plus, I would say it’s more of a workplace romance than enemies-to-lovers since Melody and Nolan really only fought once at the very beginning of the story. This of course is at NO fault at all to the book or writer so I won’t decrease my rating due to this.
–The romance. The progression of Nolan and Melody’s romance was sweet and charming & I loved when they shared the page. Although, I do wish we got a few more moments with them since the romance was a nice relief from the toxic work environment.
–Gamergate. The story touches heavily on the sexism, racism and misogyny that Melody experiences from her CEO, coworkers and fans within the gaming world. The majority of the book speaks on this, and if you’re not familiar with Gamergate, you might think the characters and harassment as being over the top, but unfortunately, what Melody endures working as a video game producer depicts a lot of what the women in Gamergate outlined.
–The toxic work environment was hard to read. LAFS depicts a VERY toxic work environment. Although this was completely necessary to tell this particular story, there were moments when it was hard to get through because it was so vile.