The Boyfriend Candidate by Ashley Winstead
Published May 9, 2023 by Graydon House
Reviewed by Kate
The Boyfriend Candidate is a very cute, enjoyable contemporary romance. I feel like it hits many of the right notes – a fun meet cute, a ridiculous reason to get the characters together again, and a really lovely and fun dating/courtship, with a little more than a sprinkle of drama.
While I was reading The Boyfriend Candidate, I was having a great time. It’s fun, and Logan and Alexis have amazing chemistry, so watching them circle around each other was an absolute delight. But this is one of those books that when I think back on it, I kind of can’t get over how unrealistic some of the parts were. So, if you can easily suspend disbelief (obviously I can, as I loved reading it), then go for it! But if you’re the type to be like “there’s no way in hell an up and coming politician in Texas would do that” then… maybe skip this one. I’m not saying the entire thing was unrealistic, and I do think that the ending made sense for the time and place, but it does require going with the flow for some parts.
The Boyfriend Candidate does touch on some heavier themes at times. Part of Alexis’s journey is dealing with the emotions from her parents’ divorce when she was a child and her father’s death. I do think this was handled very well. It didn’t bring the overall tone of the book down, but it did insert some realistic feelings and reasoning for how Alexis acted at times. While I’m talking about Alexis’s family, I will also mention I absolutely hated Alexis’s sister, Lee. As an older sister I would NEVER talk to my younger siblings the way she talked to Alexis! It was wild. And then I found out that the other romance that Winstead has written was Lee’s story, which I have zero desire to pick up.
Alexis and Logan were amazing characters. I loved Logan’s grumpy, straightforward politician vibes, and Alexis was everything I think of when I imagine a children’s librarian. I loved watching the two of them get to know each other in the context of their fake relationship and then realize that maybe it should be more than fake. The family, friend and colleague dynamics (other than Lee) are also really great. The book really manages to weave in Alexis’s growth into the romance, and that is the kind of thing I want to see – amazing women surrounded by awesome people in their lives, figuring things out and getting the romance they deserve. The relationship was adorable and perfect and I just could not get enough of Alexis and Logan on page together, especially when they were flirting in front of the TV cameras!
All in all, The Boyfriend Candidate was funnier and cuter than I expected (it’s so hard these days with the illustrated covers to know what you’re getting) and was a really fun escape of a book. I would definitely recommend it for folks who are looking for a good romance with a strong character growth arc for the female main character.
Content notes: Alexis was cheated on prior to the events of the book, the death of Alexis’s father (also prior to the events of the book) is mentioned