Review: The Boyfriend Candidate by Ashley Winstead

Quiet school librarian and governor-hopeful cause scandal. Fun ensues...

In The Boyfriend Candidate, School librarian Alexis and gubernatorial candidate Logan each hit a hotel bar at the end of a long day. She’s hell-bent on a one-night-stand to shed her reputation as mousy and boring; he’s just there to have a drink and head home. But the universe has other plans. Upstairs they go and have some fun until the fire alarm goes off and they find themselves—clearly disheveled—outside in front of camera crews. And a fake relationship is born.

I mostly loved this book. Alexis and Logan are good but flawed humans—they feel like real people with real strengths and challenges. Alexis grows and finds her voice through Logan’s campaign and getting outside her comfort zone. She goes from quiet and scared to somewhat more assertive and confident. Maybe (definitely) her metamorphosis is unrealistic, but it’s a rom-com, so…. Logan’s growth isn’t as clear and obvious, but it’s there. He starts figuring out what to prioritize, what he wants out of life, and how much he loves Alexis. It’s cute, fun, and doesn’t require a lot of deep thinking (indeed, I’d advise against trying to think too much here).

I HATED the side plot. It wasn’t well-thought-out and just didn’t mesh with the story. Alexis’ sister, Lee, is also a politician, and, in exchange for her endorsing Logan, she demands Alexis go on a date with someone else. Obviously, Lee should know better than to push something that could easily destroy Logan’s campaign, and she should see how Alexis cares for Logan, but she does it anyway. You can see where this is going, and I’ll leave it at that. Really soured an otherwise great book for me. Yes, I suspend reality for rom-coms, but this plotline didn’t work.

Other (mild and personal preference) annoyance: singular first-person perspective. You only get Alexis’ point of view. While the author does a nice job of showing Logan’s thoughts and feelings through his actions and dialogue, it would have been nice to see some of the events from his perspective.

Still, The Boyfriend Candidate entertained me throughout with election drama, personalities, and legit commentary on education and politics, among other things. Everything came together beautifully at the end, all the feels were there, and they feel like the perfect couple.

Rating: 3.8
Steam: Low
Themes and Tropes: Fake Relationship, Politics, Opposites Attract
Pair With: Texas Wines.