Spoiler alert: This is one of the most well done fandom books that I’ve read in awhile.
Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade follows April, a fan-fiction writer of a popular Greek-inspired show, who goes on a date with the leading actor, Marcus Castor-Rupp, after a tweet of her cosplay goes viral. While April and Marcus grow closer, Marcus harbors a secret that could ruin their relationship and his reputation. Marcus, like April, writes fan fiction that slams the television show that he stars in and his online persona regularly interacts with April, but she doesn’t know it.
I have read several books that involve fandom and they usually fall short for me. In most of the books, the main character harbors an unhealthy obsession with whatever book, show, or movie that they enjoy. This could include dehumanize actors in the show or using unsafe methods to find their haters in real life among many other unhealthy depictions. While fandoms can, and often do, have a dark side, I find that the positive side of fandoms are rarely featured.
Fortunately for me, this book takes an opposite approach, which was one of the aspects that I enjoyed most in this novel. While there some aspects of this book that did fall flat for me, I overall enjoyed my reading experience and I think this book has many elements that will appeal to many different readers.
As I mentioned earlier, one of my favorite parts of this book was April’s involvement in her fandom. In all of April’s interactions, she never dehumanizes the actors on her favorite shows and delivers thoughtful criticisms on the shows problematic elements. For example, when April goes on her initial date with Marcus, she is open and upfront about the fan fiction that she writes. Additionally, after she meets him in person, she changes the way that she describes the appearance of his character in her work, because after interacting with him personally, she doesn’t want it to seem like she is inserting him instead of the character into her work.
Another aspect of this book that I enjoyed was the body positivity in this book. April is plus-size and receives a lot of hateful comments after her date with Marcus. However, April always stands up for herself and sets clear expectations for how she should be treated. I appreciated how this extended to her fandom as well. April feels connected to Lavinia, her favorite character from the show, who is often put down for her appearance. A lot of times in books with fandoms, I don’t understand why the main character is so attached to a book, show, or movie. However, in this book, the connection is clear and meaningful.
I also enjoyed the background that readers receive on April and Marcus, especially regarding their parents and childhood. While April was belittled by her parents for her appearance, Marcus was treated as unintelligent by his parents because he had dyslexia. As the book goes on, April and Marcus begin to set clear boundaries with their parents of what they will and will not tolerate. I don’t often see this in adult books, but it is very much part of the adult experience, so I appreciated its inclusion within this novel.
While I did enjoy aspects of this novel, there were some issues that impacted my reading experience. For me, this book moved extremely slow. I found myself putting this book down and picking it up multiple times because some of the scenes seemed to drag on way too long. Additionally, I found many of the scenes and interactions in this book extremely repetitive, so it felt like it took awhile for the story to progress. When the story finally seemed to get moving, the ending was wrapped up quickly and abruptly. Additionally, I found too much of the end to be focused on a different character, who I imagine to have their own spin-off, which has been one of my pet peeves this year in adult romance books bound to become companion series.
Overall, Spoiler Alert is a fun book with a good message and a positive depiction of fan culture. I give this book three out of five stars.