Review: Love, Off the Record by Samantha Markum

Love, Off the Record by Samantha Markum

Love, Off the Record
Samantha Markum
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Published June 11, 2024

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Love, Off the Record

The Hating Game meets Alex, Approximately in this smart, chemistry-filled teen rom-com about two rival journalism students competing for the same position on their university newspaper.

Wyn is going to beat Three even if it kills her—or, preferably, him. Being freshmen staffers on the university newspaper puts them at the bottom of the pecking order—until a rare reporter spot opens up. Wyn and Three are both determined to get the position, starting a game of sabotage that pushes them to do their worst, from stealing each other’s ideas to playing twisted mind games. No road is too low when it comes to winning.

As Wyn’s search for the perfect story leads her to an anonymous, campus-wide dating app, she hits it off with a mystery man she thinks might be the cute RA from her dorm. But Wyn is all too familiar with being rejected because of her weight, and she’s hesitant to reveal her identity, even as she grows closer with someone who might be the guy of her dreams.

When Three breaks a story that’s closer to home than he or Wyn expects, the two must put aside their differences to expose the truth—and face their real feelings for each other, which threaten everything Wyn has built with her anonymous match.

Love, Off the Record on Goodreads

My Review

Fans of Samantha Markum’s books will likely recognize Three from his supporting role in This May End Badly. This time, he gets the spotlight in this smart, banter-filled tale of college freshmen in competition for a coveted role with a newspaper.

I definitely see the Alex, Approximately vibes in play in this one. The tension between Three and Wyn, especially at the beginning, is palpable. The banter between those two never stops, and I love it.

The whole story follows Wyn’s point of view, which leaves some room for miscommunication, mistrust, and misdirection, all of which I enjoyed as well. I love the frank way that Wyn relates her experiences with her body, both the positive and negative, the easy and painful. It feels like adding some essential nuance to the conversation within YA about body image, self-love, and fatphobia.

The only thing about the book that tripped me up at all is the pacing. Like This May End Badly, this book is first and foremost a rom-com, but it contains a gritty subplot about a shadowy group selling hard drugs on Wyn’s and Three’s college campus.

The combination works great in creating a reason to bring Three and Wyn to the same side of something. It also makes the book a whopping 400 pages, which is long for a young adult contemporary romance. I was entertained all throughout the book, but I wonder if the size of the book will intimidate some readers.

Fans of romance with strong characters and endless banter will want to give this one a try. It’s a great book to crack open at the beach or by the pool this summer.

Love, Off the Record on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 16 up.

Wyn is plus-sized. Her friend Dara is Black. Two minor characters (girls) are in a dating relationship.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
F-bombs scattered throughout. Strong profanity used somewhat frequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl. References to making out and touching.

Spiritual Content
One of Wyn’s suitemates is the daughter of a Christian pastor. She speaks openly about her faith and the challenge of figuring out the kind of life she wants to live, especially when it contradicts her parents’ expectations.

Violent Content
Wyn and Three make threatening comments to one another, joking but with some dislike behind at least some of them.

Someone gets jumped (off-scene).

Drug Content
Wyn eats cookies without realizing they’re laced with edibles. She ends up saying and doing some dangerous things and things she regrets later. She attends a party where she drinks beer, and a friend gets drunk. Someone reports that people were doing cocaine at a party and leaves.

Students get caught dealing hard drugs on campus, resulting in some consequences. Wyn and Three find a backpack stuffed with drugs, which Three photographs for evidence for the story they’re writing.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use but help support this blog. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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