The Love Con
Author: Seressia Glass
Publisher: Berkley Books (December 14, 2021)
Paperback, 320 pages
Romance, Adult Contemporary Romance
He’s cosplaying as her boyfriend but their feelings for each other are real in this romantic comedy from Seressia Glass.
Sometimes Kenya Davenport believes she was switched at the hospital–how else could a lover of anime, gaming, and cosplay come from STEM parents? Still, Kenya dreams of being able to turn her creative hobby into a career. She finally has a chance to make it big when she joins the reality show competition Cosplay or No Way.
There’s just one catch: the challenge for the final round is all about iconic pairs, and the judges want the contestants’ significant others to participate. Unfortunately, Kenya is as single as can be at the moment. Luckily her best friend, Cameron Lassiter, agrees to be her fake boyfriend for the show.
Roleplaying a couple in love will force them to explore what they’re hiding under the mask of friendship. Can Kenya and Cam fake it until she makes it, or will she be real about her feelings, knowing it could cost her the best friend she’s ever had?
I *L*O*V*E* this book! As a plus-size cosplayer myself, I loved seeing Kenya be a total baddy. Seressia Glass does just a fantastic job of building this world and these people in it that I completely forgot I was reading a book and just lived in the experience. Kenya and Cam are such realistic, complex characters that they really felt REAL to me, and I totally want to be their friend please! One of the hallmarks for a favorite book for me is wanting to live in that world and be friends with the characters, and The Love Con was totally that for me.
It was also enlightening to watch Kenya practice Ahimsa (do no harm but take no… er, nonsense) while she deals with micro-aggressions and sometimes downright straight-out aggression directed at her. This is an excellent example of how romance can be escapist and sweet and hot while also dealing with very real issues and pain in a space where the reader feels safe to do so because we know the characters will get their happy ever after in the end. And Kenya, as a queen size Black woman, has plenty of people ready to tear her down or try to make her feel small or act in ways she doesn’t want to. At times this book was really hard to read as Kenya deals with repeated tiny cuts to her ego and her personhood, and those times were hardest when it was her family cutting her down.
There’s a moment where someone (I’ll try not to post spoilers!) tells her she doesn’t have to be the Angry Black Woman, but she doesn’t have to be the Strong Black Woman either, and I just sobbed. I want to hug them both, but especially Kenya for having to keep it together, try so hard, and be so strong all the time. I’m so glad she has folks that she can fall apart and really feel her feelings with. (And there I go forgetting again these are characters in a book and not real people – Seressia Glass is just that good!)
This is my first book by Seressia Glass, but I was looking at some of her other books and was so pleased to see she has a series called Sons of Anubis… which is TV series mentioned in The Love Con. I love these sorts of easter eggs! Now obviously I need to read the Sons of Anubis series.
I ADORED this book, and can’t recommend it enough! It may get a bit technical on the cosplaying aspects, so if you’re not a cosplayer or someone who loves reading about the mechanics behind things, that may be a detractor for you. As someone who has attempted to make armor out of EVA foam and knows exactly how much of a pain it is doing those beveled edges, I really appreciated the incredibly accurate detail, haha!
A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.