Book Reviews

Review: The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun

The Charm Offensive was, maybe to no surprise, charming. I fell into this one after seeing it all over the internet. Over the holidays I thought, why not fall into the hype? And I’m so glad I did because I read this one in a matter of days! Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


Dev Deshpande has always believed in fairy tales. So it’s no wonder then that he’s spent his career crafting them on the long-running reality dating show Ever After. As the most successful producer in the franchise’s history, Dev always scripts the perfect love story for his contestants, even as his own love life crashes and burns. But then the show casts disgraced tech wunderkind Charlie Winshaw as its star.

Charlie is far from the romantic Prince Charming Ever After expects. He doesn’t believe in true love, and only agreed to the show as a last-ditch effort to rehabilitate his image. In front of the cameras, he’s a stiff, anxious mess with no idea how to date twenty women on national television. Behind the scenes, he’s cold, awkward, and emotionally closed-off.

As Dev fights to get Charlie to connect with the contestants on a whirlwind, worldwide tour, they begin to open up to each other, and Charlie realizes he has better chemistry with Dev than with any of his female co-stars. But even reality TV has a script, and in order to find to happily ever after, they’ll have to reconsider whose love story gets told.


TW: panic attacks, anxiety, depression, OCD, social anxiety, homophobia, racism

The Charm Offensive is a book that balances adorable charm with exploring issues of mental health and love. This dual POV story features characters who may, on paper, seem like opposites, but who have an ability to see the essence of each other. Throughout The Charm Offensive, Cochrun is able to approach mental health and its influence on our images of ourselves and who we are in a relationship, so masterfully. It is a queer romance book, but it’s also to illustrate detailed, complex, and endearing characters.

Ones I wanted to protect with every fiber of my being. Charlie and Dev stole my heart and I’m not sure if I’m going to get it back. The Charm Offensive is swoony and full of fabulous queerness – we love it for ace spectrum and questioning rep – while also getting to the heart of the terror of love. Because while love can be butterflies, there’s also fear and doubt. The lies we tell ourselves and the denial born from fear. Seeing both Charlie and Dev from their own perceptions and each other, is a brilliant move that allows even more insight into who they are as characters.

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We can think we want love, but then when the soul bearing comes calling, then it can be terror inducing. The Charm Offensive lives up to the hype. It balances everything I expect from a romance, with conversations about racism and homophobia, mental health and queer questioning. There are times when we are so sure we know what we want. But then there is the knowledge that we can choose our happy ending. Find The Charm Offensive on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite adult queer romance?

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