Gideon is a computer geek with a failing web design business. Something horrible happened to him on Thanksgiving several years ago, so he refuses to acknowledge the holiday, or even the month of November. That means no relationships and no sex. He does go out with guys, but he has a rule…no more than two dates. Gideon believes that people will begin to expect more than he wants to give he if it goes on longer. One morning, Gideon hears a ruckus in the attic apartment of the house where he and his roommates live. He goes to investigate and finds himself in front of a handsome man on stilts (yes, I said stilts) repairing the drywall.
Alex’s family owns the house where Gideon and his roommates live (one of those roommates is Alex’s sister, Lin). He wants to fix the place so they can rent it out. The family needs the money because his folks’ health coverage is awful, and his father has dementia. Alex briefly met Gideon at a party Lin threw. He was attracted to him, but he’s upset to find Gideon doesn’t remember him.
Alex’s day job is being an electrician, and he and his crew are working on a job for a big company. He encounters Gideon again because Gideon is forced to take a contract IT job at the same company because he’s nearly broke and needs the money. It’s not something he’d usually do, and it does involve some actual hands on labor. To say they got off on the wrong foot is the understatement of the year.
Clickbait is a story about opposites attracting, the importance of family, learning to love, and healing.
I’m sitting here in my PJs trying to figure out what to write about this book. Normally, I’m off the computer and settling in with another book by this time. I’m going to start by saying I didn’t dislike Clickbait. I think, more than anything, it just wasn’t a book for me. I usually love geek/hunk love stories, but I didn’t feel any sort of connection with Gideon or Alex. I thought Gideon was a little too self involved and snooty, and thought Alex was too much of a martyr. Yes, he wanted to be there for his parents, especially his father, but he was taking most of it and laying it on his broad shoulders. I understand where he was coming from, but it had taken over his life. Alex’s mother told him he had six month breakdowns. Of course, that’s not healthy, and I wanted to throttle him for it. In fact, I wanted to throttle both of the men.
For whatever reason, Gideon set his sights on the handsome, wealthy man who ran this company. The guy was even snootier than Gideon. He looked down on everyone, and he was just generally unpleasant. Here was Alex, wanting Gideon, but Gideon didn’t seem to be all that interested in being with someone in a blue collar job. That was a mistake, and lessened my opinion of Gideon even more.
Topping all this off is Alex’s family. They were good people, but they had taken on caring for the father’s dementia. They didn’t want to send him to the care center their health insurance would cover, so they kept him at home. Admirable? Sure! But it had taken such a terrible toll. A person can only take so much before they break. It was heartbreaking to watch, and as awful as this sounds, I was beginning to hate Alex’s father. It’s not his fault, but Alex was miserable, Alex’s mother was miserable, Alex’s sister was miserable. I understand a bit of angst is necessary in a story because the MCs need something to overcome, and it does move a story along, but…I was so depressed while reading Clickbait, I almost put it down. I had to keep taking breaks from it.
As I said, I didn’t dislike this book. E.J. Russell’s writing is very smooth, but detailed. I learned a little about IT networking and some electrical wiring. Alex’s crew was relatively likeable with the exception of making fun of Gideon every now and then. Gideon’s roommates were ok, especially his best friend Charles, given name Charlotte. They had a nice groove working for them. A character named Toshiko was interesting. She had a very stiff personality, but she really came through for Alex’s family, and that made her a-ok, in my opinion.
The relationship between Alex and Gideon was strained pretty much through the whole book. Even when they were finally together, I felt the strain coming straight through my Kindle. There are a lot of misunderstandings and miscommunications. Alex was still putting his family first, and there was a scene on the actual day of Thanksgiving that just about took any respect I had for Alex and threw it out the window. Gideon really put himself out there, and Alex destroyed it.
I know I’m rambling now, but I wanted to be thorough. Clickbait had a lot of ups and downs, and the downs, while well written, made me feel down. I don’t read to be depressed. I want a good story, with characters who make me happy. Here I got a good story with characters I didn’t like very much and didn’t connect with.
I also wanted to quickly mention a possible trigger. The terrible experience Gideon had on Thanksgiving when he was younger was dub-con bordering on non-con. He wound up in the ER where nobody was really sympathetic, and the boyfriend who caused it didn’t even accompany him to the hospital.
To sum everything up, I can tell you, if you’re a fan of angst, Clickbait may be just what you’re looking for. It just wasn’t what I was looking for.