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Summary

A 2022 Audie Award Finalist

A Most Anticipated Rom-Com Selected by * Buzzfeed * LGBTQ Reads * Bustle * the Nerd Daily * Entertainment Tonight * Frolic Media * and More!

A Best Book Pick by * Harper’s Bazaar * Entertainment Weekly

The Charm Offensive will sweep you off your feet.” (PopSugar)

​​​​In this witty and heartwarming romantic comedy — reminiscent of Red, White & Royal Blue and One to Watch — an awkward tech wunderkind on a reality dating show goes off-script when sparks fly with his producer.

Dev Deshpande has always believed in fairy tales. So it’s no wonder then that he’s spent his career crafting them on the long-running reality dating show Ever After. As the most successful producer in the franchise’s history, Dev always scripts the perfect love story for his contestants, even as his own love life crashes and burns. But then the show casts disgraced tech wunderkind Charlie Winshaw as its star.

Charlie is far from the romantic Prince Charming Ever After expects. He doesn’t believe in true love, and only agreed to the show as a last-ditch effort to rehabilitate his image. In front of the cameras, he’s a stiff, anxious mess with no idea how to date 20 women on national television. Behind the scenes, he’s cold, awkward, and emotionally closed-off.

As Dev fights to get Charlie to connect with the contestants on a whirlwind, worldwide tour, they begin to open up to each other, and Charlie realizes he has better chemistry with Dev than with any of his female co-stars. But even reality TV has a script, and in order to find to happily ever after, they’ll have to reconsider whose love story gets told.

©2021 Alison Cochrun. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

Critic reviews

"Adam depicts Dev as a mix of dreamy and dramatic, showing his idealistic side and his love for the show. Adam’s flowing narration smooths out the author’s occasional didacticism. Halstead voices Charlie Winshaw, the show’s star and a tech genius who suffers from OCD and generalized anxiety. Halstead accurately represents Charlie’s stilted TV performance, hesitant speech, and withdrawn manner. Cassandra Campbell delivers the daily script updates, her voice creating needed contrast among the sections. With meticulous attention to Dev and Charlie’s singular romance, Adam and Halstead paint a lively picture of reality TV." (AudioFile Magazine)

What listeners say about The Charm Offensive

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Cheesy but nice

I found the voices a little stiff and robotic and the story was sometimes predictable but it was quite charming and at points I couldn’t put it down, overall I really enjoyed it.

1 person found this helpful

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Nice for one time

I enjoyed reading about the romance but then the conflict occured and after that I found it poorly executed.

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Happy and sweet book

I loved this story! Was such a lovely easy listen, a great rom com with characters who are not flawless but have real issues they deal with individually and together. Charlie is so sweet and Dave strong and lovable!!
A feel good,makes you smile as you listen story…does exactly what it says on the tin

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Amazing!

Amazing queer rep (especially the demisexual main character), great story and characters. Had lots of fun

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Weak plot, but promising author

The writing style is good, the characters are well constructed and the main couple is likeable. But the plot just didn’t work for me. It was an interesting premise, but it was poorly executed. The reason why Charlie decides to join the dating show and later remain in it is unconvincing and the ‘obstacles’ that Dev and Charlie face hardly feel like real obstacles. Moreover, the show, for most of the book, doesn’t seem to add anything to the advancement of the plot and at times one almost forgets about it. The twenty contestants, for example, play virtually no role in the story. The book feels too long, like it could have been five hours shorter. I also found it astonishing that Charlie and Dev talk to each other about their sexuality for the first time only very late in the book, despite opening up about many other personal things before that. This is just so unrealistic. I was sure the author was a straight woman because of that, but she actually isn’t! Despite this book’s being a disappointment for me, Alison Cochrun is a talented writer and I will definitely give her future work a chance.

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We need a story about Daphne

Okay so Charlie must be protected at all costs he is the most precious human being ever and he deserves the universe. I absolutely loved how this story wasn't just unapologeticly queer but it focused on mental health and actual good representation. I love the fact that people are mentioning with they them pronouns or as someone's partner and the author doesn't feel the need to explain it. People can just exist and that makes this book incredibly comforting. I also love how side characters with the tiniest part are still complex and fascinating everyone in the book feels like a fully realized human and it's so perfect. I of course struggled with the conflict because I wanted to see my babies happy and together and without pain but it hit extremely hard because Dave is very similar to me sometimes. You know a book is good when the main character feels like your best friend and you just want to go shake and yell at them so that they understand that they are good enough and soooooo deserving of everything they want and this book made me feel like that all throughout. I honestly think it's impossible not to fall in love with the book and everyone in it and I'm going to need stories about all of them. I'm really hoping there's going to be a story about Daphne and a certain hot af med student because I would absolutely sell my kidney for that. I can't sell my soul cos Charlie owns it along with everything I have. I could literally gush about this man forever, he makes me wanna play the protective big sister who goes and beats up all those fucking idiots who were ever mean to him and protect him and Dave and their happiness so they can live happily ever after. This book deserves sooo much love and I am soooo happy I read it.

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so cute

I love a good rom com and this was exactly what I needed! Great writing

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  • Paula
  • 18-11-21

Tiresome

I had to break off listening to this title about 5 hours in, as it just got so tedious! More angst, more awkwardness, more anxiety, more "it could never work... it must never happen again..."
Oh, get on with it!
A fluffy little rom-com story like this could have been told just as satisfactorily without dragging on for TEN HOURS. Take a pass on this one and re-listen to one of your other favorite rom-coms instead.

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  • SL
  • 07-10-21

Wow, that was EXCELLENT

I wasn't sure what to expect but I thoroughly enjoyed this lovely, romantic, modern story. Terrific writing, well-developed, charming characters, great humor, lots of twists and turns, lovely slow burn, and never a dull moment. And, most importantly, representation, queerness and mental health are front and center -- a complete part of the story for many of the characters. It was wonderful to see these topics dealt with so smartly, accurately and sensitively. I especially enjoyed the delicate nuances and complexities of each character - mental struggles, sexuality and identity aren't just one dimensional and the author did an amazing job with these topics. Yes, the story is a bit formulaic but this is what you want in a modern love story: romance tropes cleverly turned on their heads. I don't think I've enjoyed an MM romance this much in a while. Highly recommend.

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  • BB North
  • 17-09-21

Fun!

A very fun and cute romcom. I laughed out loud and loved it! Great narration.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Skylar Mason
  • 05-12-21

My new favorite romance

The Charm Offensive follows the star of a reality dating show (*cough* The Bachelor) falling in love with a producer behind the scenes, but it’s so much more. It’s an LGBTQIA+ love story with an earnest exploration of mental health, and it doesn’t shy away from the hard parts… but that makes the sweet parts that much sweeter. I loved the audiobook, the actors did an amazing job bringing Dev and Charlie to life. This is a story that sticks with you and raises the bar for what contemporary romance stories can be.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Fey Gilo
  • 09-11-21

This book was everything!!!

It was so brilliant and like able. The characters felt very three dimensional. They weren’t perfect. They were both neurodivergent and it was beautiful handled. I laughed with them and got so caught up in their story I didn’t want it to end. This MM romance has real substance. In the write up it mentions red white and royal blue and I agree that this story has a similar weight and depth to it. It’s also very light on sexual detail so if you love MM but don’t want something to explicit this is for you. And if you love explicit. You won’t feel cheated by this book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-09-21

Love it! X10

Great story and great performances, especially Vikas Adam. Would recommend to any fans of the Bachelor 😉

1 person found this helpful

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  • Marcus J.
  • 16-05-22

Wonderful

Like the reality television series it depicts, The Charm Offensive sticks to the familiar and well-trodden story arc of YA Romance novels, leaving some plot points predictable while wrapping up by breaking new ground and creating a unique story that hits home. As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, it was terrific to see representations and honest discussions of Demisexuality and Asexuality, breaking down the difference between romantic love and sexual love while validating all the shades of those frequently misunderstood spectrums. So often, these identities are overshadowed by the more broadly recognizable Gay, Bi, and Lesbian identities. It was pleasant to see other members of our community get to see themselves in relatable characters. And the author did this all while telling an incredible story of secret love blooming into a fairytale romance that left me unable to put the story down until the very last moments.

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  • Lee the Writer
  • 27-04-22

Too Damn Cute

I’m so happy to be able to find books like these. Queer lit is more important than ever. And this book is simply too damn cute. Funny, heart-warming, sexy, and with bonus mental health rep. I’ll be recommending it!

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  • CMB4062
  • 16-04-22

Adorbs

I LOVED this book. After reading "Red, White, and Royal Blue" when it came out, nothing has quite matched that for me... but this. THIS was one for the soul. Adored the characters, setting, dialogue, narration, everything.

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  • Bree 'ButtonsDBre'
  • 16-04-22

my heart ❤ 🥺

so going into this book I thought Dave was a mess. but he is and that's why it's amazing!
as an Demi woman I find it amazing to see another Demi! or an ace like person in some way shape or form. it's so hard to Wright lgbq+ characters because you can't wright every single gay love story out there
(and there's no /right/ way to gay)
Because there /is/ every straight love story out there... but this is why I love gay love stories. you slowly start to see all types of love and lives... and at last. a day I didn't think I would see- I see it. someone who I can see. like how I feel. and thats... amazing. Charlie is so relatable. at first I found him annoying but that's because I saw myself. and I cried.
maybe more then ones.
please give this book a chance please! 🙏💜