Set on You is refreshing, original, entertaining, inspiring, and realistic romcom about body respect and self-love. This is going on top of books with curvy heroines.
Set on You by Amy Lea
Publication Date : May 10th 2022
Publisher : Berkley Books
Genre : Romance
Pages : 384
Tea for this book : Indian Masala Chai + Green Tea
Disclaimer – Many thanks to publisher and publicist for e-ARC.
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A gym nemesis pushes a fitness influencer to the max in Amy Lea’s steamy debut romantic comedy.
Curvy fitness influencer Crystal Chen built her career shattering gym stereotypes and mostly ignoring the trolls. After her recent breakup, she has little stamina left for men, instead finding solace in the gym – her place of power and positivity.
Enter firefighter Scott Ritchie, the smug new gym patron who routinely steals her favorite squat rack. Sparks fly as these ultra-competitive foes battle for gym domination. But after a series of escalating jabs, the last thing they expect is to run into each other at their grandparents’ engagement party.
In the lead up to their grandparents’ wedding, Crystal discovers there’s a soft heart under Scott’s muscled exterior. Bonding over family, fitness, and cheesy pick-up lines, she just might have found her swolemate. But when a photo of them goes viral, savage internet trolls put their budding relationship to the ultimate test of strength.
Set on You is fun and inspiring romcom that revolves around Crystal, a fitness instructor and Instagram influencer for curvy women who realizes self-love is a constant journey and having swolemate by her side makes that journey easier, happier, and more beautiful.
The story is about acceptance, body respect, self-love, reality of social media, self-confidence, stereotypes, body shaming, friendship, family, and love.
Writing is entertaining, engaging, and fast paced with first person narrative from Crystal’s perspective. The plot is interesting and light-hearted with realistic and relatable characters and important topics that we don’t see often in this genre.
The beginning is amazing. I loved the introduction of Crystal, her career as fitness trainer and Instagram influencer, her family, and how she met Scott, her squat rack thief, who kept stealing her instruments and started banter at the gym that turned her hate to friendship and love when she got to know him more after her grandma’s engagement party.
I like what author said in the notes in the beginning. This isn’t about the character realizing to accept her body and learn self-love as she already knows it, she already working on it by inspiring women like her who is not size zero, advocating healthy life without measuring calories. It’s more about her journey on this self-love path and how fatphobic stereotypic comments on her platform create obstacles making her rethink the base of her body positivity campaign. And this is best part of the book.
Crystal is so relatable. She is independent, confident, headstrong, competitive, compassionate, and inspiring person. It’s really amazing to read how she started her fitness journey, how she became an influnecer and made it her full time career. I could understand her frustration when her family pointed she should get real job and I loved her for sticking to what she loved and she is passionate about. Her vulnerability makes her more realistic.
I wanted to reach out to her when she talked about how she has been body shamed in school, being bullied on social media, how her ex treated her. It’s already hard to stay on this path and stereotypes make it even worse yet she keeps fighting for herself and for women like her and I love her for that. Her doubts and feelings when cyberbullying and hateful comments attacked her confidence is genuine. I loved how she came out of it and realized she cannot fight the world alone, she has to let in people who love her and supports her and keep them in life to make her journey more beautiful.
Scott is interesting. At first, I wasn’t sure what think about him with his childish competitive behavior and that smug confidence, making Crystal worked up but as we know him more, like Crystal, we see him in a different light. He is handsome muscular firefighter with heart of gold. He is caring, lovely, and compassionate guy whose life hasn’t been as easy as his looks. It was surprising to read he was lanky, nerdy guy in school who has been bullied by other kids. His smugness is all part of show and from within he is as vulnerable as Crystal.
I loved him for being protective for Crystal, supporting her with her Instagram platform even though he couldn’t fully understand why she keeps it with all the negative comments or what it’s like to be a person that doesn’t fit in society’s margin, and for speaking up when things became horrible, and making her realize it’s not only her fight when she is in a relationship, it’s their fight.
Secondary characters are amazing, especially Tara- Crystal’s sister and Mel- Crystal’s friend and client. I so wish to have Tara’s story and I hope author make this a series for it. Crystal’s family is fun. Her grandmother marrying Scott’s grandfather makes the story even more lovely.
Best part of the book is theme and layers of the book. I loved Crystal’s Instagram posts. I loved what she said about body positivity in all her posts. It was amazing the way author showed reality of social media, even positive and inspiring things are attacked with negativity and that impacts the person behind the platform.
I loved the way author represented body positivity and how it’s not just about body positivity but about self-acceptance, body respect and self-love, importance of staying focused on the journey of being healthy and strong not just focused on losing weight and measuring calories. It’s okay to feel bad and low sometimes as self-love is not a constant thing but a journey, there always will be ups and downs, and keeping loved ones and supporters close make this journey more lovely and beautiful.
Romance is sexy, hot, and slow burn. Enemies to lovers trope, banter, and many sexy and tender moments make the chemistry sparkling. I like how they took things slow, got to know each other more, making sure Scott’s recent breakup is really over and their feelings for each other isn’t just a heat of passion. Crystal’s platform testing their relationship is another interesting aspect that made it more realistic.
Climax is interesting and little surprising as it was different from how I imagined it. I liked everything that happened in this part. Crystal’s downfall was touching and sad. I loved how her support system helped her back on her feet and the way she found her way back to happiness. I loved the changes she made with her platform. I absolutely love her chat with her father. Ah and the grand gesture! No romcom is complete without it. It was so lovely making the end is perfect, uplifting, and feel good.
Why 4.5 Stars-
It’s perfect but somehow it didn’t wow me.
Overall, Set on You is fun, inspiring, feel good, refreshing, original and realistic romcom with fun moments and serious topics.
I highly recommend this if you like,
Biracial curvy heroine
realistic and relatable characters
theme of accepting and respecting body
Reality of social media
dealing with stereotypes
many sexy and lovely moments
enemies to lovers trope
slow burn romance
My Favorite Quotes
Being healthy is not about your size or your weight, but your mindset and your mental health too.
You don’t need to be so strong and confident at all the time, Crystal. Even if you’re a trainer. The curvy community doesn’t need you to defend them. We’re perfectly fine. What we need is you to be the best you can be.
Everyone doubts themselves sometimes. It’s part of being human.
I don’t think confidence and self-worth is something you magically attain. And you don’t simply hold onto it forever like a tangible object. It’s fluid. You can be confident in every aspect except one. Or something could happen and all your confidence can be shattered in an instant.
Everyone sees beauty differently. What’s worse, that same society taught us as little girls that we’re not beautiful because we’re not white and skinny.
All the massive corporations that told us we weren’t beautiful- that we weren’t object of affection – are suddenly screaming at us to love ourselves, And if we don’t love ourselves, all the time, we’re the problem.
Confidence and love for yourself are ever changing. I’m allowed to feel good sometimes, and so good at other times. Who’s to tell me I should be ashamed for not feeling my best.
I no longer use terms like ‘body positivity’ and ‘self-love’. Instead, I now use ‘body respect’ and ‘self-acceptance’. Why? Because loving yourself all the time is unrealistic. We all have days where we doubt ourselves. And that’s when we need to focus on acceptance and respect for ourselves, not hate or love. I can love my body, and still have moments of doubt without feeling guilty about it.
I want everyone who doesn’t conform to mainstream beauty standard to know that they are worthy of an epic love.
Thank you for reading! Let’s chat..,
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