If you read our wrap ups you’ll know that back in March I was scrolling through NetGalley, when I came across The Boyfriend Project. Just the synopsis alone was intriguing enough to get me to request it. And much to my surprise, that very same day, I was granted a copy! Today I’m here to review it before it releases on June 2nd!
Me when I first read the synopsis
Now, this book was not what I was expecting in many ways. And I mean that quite literally! When I first started reading this book, I realized that in the two months that had passed I had gotten approved on NetGalley, I had mixed up the storyline with another romance. Thankfully after re-reading the synopsis, I remembered why I was interested in this book, and I became less confused about why the plot wasn’t taking the direction I thought it would.
Me after re-reading the synopsis
In case like me, you need a synopsis, The Boyfriend Project about a woman named Samiah who discovers that her boyfriend has been cheating on her with several other women. She confronts the boyfriend and befriends the two other women that were duped as well. The three women make a pact to spend the next 6 months focusing on themselves with the time they normally devote to dating and romantic relationships. Of course, the very next day there’s a new hire at work, and not only is he beautiful, kind, and super smart, he seems to like Samiah just as much as she likes him.
Daniel and Samiah to one another
That’s me paraphrasing the synopsis that’s on the dust jacket. But honestly, this book is so much more than your average romance. In fact, I kind of feel like the romance takes a backseat to everything else that goes on in this book. I’d classify this book as an adult contemporary with a heavy romance storyline. I know that sounds really similar to a normal romance book, but there’s something about this book that makes me hesitant to call it a romance novel.
I think that at the core, this book is about a bad-ass woman of color, proving to everyone what women in STEM can accomplish. Maybe this resonated more strongly with me because I’m majoring in engineering, but the fact that Samiah is a computer engineer is definitely a major part of this book, and I loved getting to see all the ways she was able to prove to both herself and others that she was a smart, capable, and just all-around awesome woman.
This could easily be a quote from Samiah herself
This book made sure to take the time to discuss how difficult it is to be a woman of color in STEM, and how that forced Samiah to work so much harder than the average computer engineer, because she knows that her mistakes are judged differently than mistakes by most people.
There were a few things that led to me not enjoying the romance to its fullest. The first thing has to do with the love interest, Daniel. There are some surprising twists about Daniel that we learn that heavily impact the plot and conflict of this book. I don’t want to go into too much detail because it can get spoilery very fast, but those twists led to some barriers to communication which in turn turns into part of the conflict of the book. Because of this, I enjoyed the romance way more before Daniel and Samiah actually got together! I thought the buildup was fantastic! There was a time that I had to put the book down to Awwwwwwwww from cuteness during their period of flirtation. But once they got together there was a lot more conflict that I wasn’t too happy to see.
I expected more from the romance itself after that buildup
The second thing that kept me from enjoying the romance to its fullest was the ending. I feel as though there wasn’t enough resolution to make me happy. There is an epilogue, but it could have just as easily been the last chapter in the book. I would have loved to see an epilogue a bit farther in the future with a stronger resolution. Obviously, since I’m talking about the ending I don’t want to delve into spoilers, but if you’ve read the book I’m curious as to what you thought about how this ended.
The weakest part of the book for me
Now, I know it seems as though I hated the romance, and therefore hated the book. But that’s not true at all! I gave this book 4 stars! I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I didn’t get the majority of my enjoyment from the romance, as I normally do from books that are marketed as romances. Instead I loved the female friendships, the sisterly bonds, the discussion about WOC in STEM, the focus on workplace interactions, and the way Samiah always reached for her goals and dreams.
I think there was wonderful characterization, and we really got to know both Samiah and Daniel as multi-dimensional people. I enjoyed how we not only got to know them from reading in their respective perspectives, but that as they opened up to one another we learnt more about them as well.
I think there’s a lot to love about this book, and would highly recommend it to anyone who has any interest in STEM! The only thing that I would caution is to adjust your expectations of the romance. It is definitely present and definitely a major plotline, but to me at least, it took a backseat to all the wonderful other plotlines that made up this book.