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, they 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 a debut enemies-to-lovers romance novel featuring “curvy” biracial fitstagrammer and personal trainer, Crystal Chen. The love interest is Crystal’s new gym nemesis who turns out to be connected to Crystal beyond getting in the way of her workouts.
For me, Set on You got off to a rough start. The first few chapters annoyed me with the immaturity displayed by the protagonists. I stopped reading at 50 pages after tiring of the childish actions. Did I mention that the characters were also ridiculously thristy within these pages? However, I did pick it up the next day and read the rest in one sitting without encountering immature behavior.
My other issue with this novel is the language used regarding the protagonist’s body size and identity. Crystal was almost exclusively described as “curvy”. There was a point made to never call the protagonist “fat”, making fat feel like a dirty word. It was really uncomfortable for me to read a book that is supposed to have body inclusive representation and a larger bodied protagonist when the language does not match the intent. I did appreciate that Lea called out the body positivity movement and noted some of its toxicity. I know I cannot expect that every book with a non-straight size character can use the correct language, but I still feel like if you are going to write a book that has a large focus on the size of the protagonist that the author educate themselves about the associated issues and preferred language.
I found Lea’s writing to be otherwise pleasant. I loved her development of the characters. Even if you do not connect with them, they are fun to read about and are genuinely good people. It was also refreshing to read a romance novel that focuses on a mature adult relationship. In addition, I loved the supporting characters and their stories. Bonus: Crystal’s sister is a bookstagrammer!
Overall, I ended up quite enjoying Set on You and would recommend it. Just be warned that the first few chapters may annoy you and the language used around body size is not that which is preferred by the fat community or fat justice movement.
Set on You
May 10, 2022
Note: I received an e-galley of this book from the publisher, Berkley. Regardless, I always provide a fair and honest review.