Book Review: The Boyfriend Project

After enjoying Beach Read, I decided to continue with the romance genre and read The Boyfriend Project. The novel opens with young professional Samiah Brooks learning via Twitter that her boyfriend has been cheating on her with two other women. After dumping the three-timing liar, the women become instant friends and vow to spend the next six months investing in themselves. But immediately after making this vow, Samiah falls for a new-hire at her office, and must decide whether she is willing to risk the potential consequences of breaking the pact and starting a workplace romance with someone she barely knows.

The book: The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon
Genre: Romance
Rating: 2 stars out of 5

I really wanted to like this book because the premise sounded promising, but unfortunately it fell short in many ways. One of my biggest issues was that none of the main characters were well-developed enough. I especially wish that Samiah’s flaws and internal issues had been explored more deeply. For the first half of the novel, Samiah seemed too perfect to be real: she is super successful professionally, has a great relationship with her family, can make friends easily, and loves charity and “paying it forward.” These are all admirable and compelling characteristics, but taken together in the absence of any major character flaws, they don’t make for a very relatable protagonist. As the novel progresses, it’s revealed that Samiah is a perfectionist, and that she has difficulty trusting and accepting help from others. But even then, all of these issues are revealed at once, with the author quickly telling rather than showing them. I still liked and rooted for Samiah, but I wish she had been a more deeply developed character.

If the characters weren’t the most relatable but their romance had been compelling, I probably still would have enjoyed this book. But it was hard to feel compelled by the romantic development when so much of it happened “off-page.” For example, Samiah and Daniel first meet and flirt when they happen to take a coffee break at the same time. Their next conversation takes place after they both attend the same work meeting, with the author/third-person-narrator noting that they had taken coffee breaks together for the past couple of days. As the initial basis for Samiah and Daniel’s romance, those other coffee breaks should have been shown! This is just one of many examples of the author telling the reader that something important happened off-page.

Another reason why I didn’t find Samiah and Daniel’s romance compelling was because I thought that Daniel kind of sucked! Some of the reasons why he sucked are spoilers, so I’ll just mention his emotional indulgence. He uses his strong feelings for Samiah to justify selfish and unethical behavior, which is a huge red flag to me. He also does things like show up at her apartment unannounced to “surprise” her, which seems like a problem with healthy boundaries and communication.

I’ve spent most of this review being critical, so now I want to focus on what I did like. I loved the way the novel started with a friendship, and how the importance of non-romantic relationships was emphasized throughout the book. I also liked the tongue-in-cheek commentary about corporate culture at startup companies, and the complex dynamics between coworkers. And I really appreciated the messages about the importance of recognizing one’s own advantages, using those advantages to help others, and just generally paying kindness forward.

I wanted to love The Boyfriend Project, but it just wasn’t for me. The romance at the center of the novel didn’t compel me, and I thought that too much important action happened off-page. I also thought the book was a bit too long. There were multiple points before the book ended where I thought “the story could end right here and it would be perfectly fine”…but then it continued on.

Even though this book wasn’t for me, please don’t discount it based on my review if you are interested! There are plenty of 4 and 5-star reviews of The Boyfriend Project on Goodreads, and its average rating is currently at 3.72. If you read this book and liked it, I would love to know what aspects of it compelled you.

Author: Hannah Celeste

Hi! I'm Hannah, a book-blogger from the Northeastern United States. I enjoy reading many genres, cooking and baking, doing yoga, and spending time with my two cats.

11 thoughts on “Book Review: The Boyfriend Project”

    1. Thank you! I got this one from BOTM haha! It was easily readable, but I do wish I’d picked up another title since there had been a couple others that really interested me. Which one did you end up picking?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I picked The Knockout Queen! I haven’t read it yet but was sold on the “if you didn’t like high school this is for you” bit, ha. I haven’t read it yet but I hope it will be something a little fun and different. I went with Beach Read last month and didn’t want to go with romance twice in a row, and now I’m glad I didn’t even though The Boyfriend Project did sound promising! The Book of Longings also seems interesting though I don’t think i’m in the right mood for it atm.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh awesome, I’ll look forward to your review of The Knockout Queen! You definitely made a good choice not go with romance twice in a row! I thought that since Beach Read had helped me get out of a reading slump, then another romance novel would continue to propel me. Turned out not to be such a great idea hahah.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Ah, that’s too bad. Good logic though, I’m sorry it didn’t work out! Hopefully you’ll find another book to help leave that slump behind!

            Liked by 1 person

  1. Ooof sorry this didn’t work out for you! I also hate it when most development happens off-page. I mean, what else am I here for?!? I’m wary of this now, especially with your description of Daniel. It’s on my TBR but maybe I can put off purchasing it. I have yet to read Beach Read after all, and you liked that better than this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “what else am I here for?!?” EXACTLY! Especially when it’s a romance novel, and the ROMANCE happens off-page hahah. It’s possible that you’d like this better than I did, but given the choice I’d probably pick Beach Read!! Which I hope you will enjoy! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I always find work-place romances icky. You have to be so careful to navigate that situation because if it doesn’t work out, you want to be as professional and kind about it as possible or else quit and get a new job where the air isn’t so stinky with ex-vibes. I would have to spend ages getting to know a coworker to trust anything. I’m so happy you pointed out health boundaries and communication. More reviewers do, and I always appreciate that we are adding an effort to reduce the “normalcy” or stalking women and men doing whatever the woman asked them not to do because she “didn’t really mean that.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you re: workplace romances. I feel like there would need to be an especially powerful connection with that person to make it worth the risk of potential fallout. And yes! I hope that by reviewers pointing out these problems, we can slow move away from books/movies/TV-shows/etc where toxic behaviors are disguised as romance!

      Liked by 1 person

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