Book review by Gillian: Serendipity, by Max C. Payne (DNF)

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Serendipity, by Max C. Payne
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Release Date: May 6, 2017

Rating: DNF at 70%


When Kenji is dumped by the boyfriend he actually thought would stick around, he decides to treat himself. Being a broke college student doesn’t leave much chance for comfort food, and he deserves the splurge. Chancing a new restaurant recommended to him, he meets Aaron, his waiter and the son of the owner, and winds up with a new friend.

If he also develops a crush on Aaron, well, that’s his problem. Until another lousy night comes along and turns the world upside down


M/M Pairing
Gay Characters
Friends to Lovers

I can’t be kind, so I’ll make this relatively short.

If you’re going to write an Asian character, ask yourself if it’s really necessary to write them as:

  1. Short-sighted (basically blind without glasses)
  2. Socially awkward
  3. Introverted
  4. Secretly skilled at martial arts

If the answer is yes to any of those questions, please don’t. Close the laptop. Put down the pen. Stop clacking on that vintage typewriter. Just don’t do it. It will only make you look willfully ignorant.

Look. There were so many ways Benji could have been written. He could have been an athlete, a fuck boy, a Dom, a firefighter, a social justice warrior. He could have been ANYTHING!!

Had the author reversed the two characters and made Aaron the super shy, submissive  college student and Benji the popular rich kid, it would have been a different story. It could have been a far more interesting story. It’s a shame they relied on outdated, racist stereotypes instead.

Aside from that mess, there is nothing going on here that held my interest. Aaron is supposed to be charismatic and charming but that definitely doesn’t come through in the writing. In fact, I thought he was a bit of a jerk.

The first time the two hook up, Aaron takes Benji’s glasses and refuses to hand them back, leaving Benji vulnerable in the unfamiliar environment of Aaron’s house. Apparently, this is to teach Benji a lesson about something or other, but I’m not sure what it was supposed to be.

“Yeah, that’s great, and all. Can I have my glasses back, please?”

There was a short silence. “I don’t want to give them to you.” He almost sounded petulant. “You like to hide a lot, do you know that? I know you need the glasses to see, but they’re just one more thing for you to hide behind.”

At this point, I just gave up.

There isn’t much else to add except I won’t be recommending this book. I’m 100% here for diverse characters. It’s too bad you won’t find any in this book.


A confessed tv-holic, Max didn’t truly pick up reading until she was forced to attend boarding school and discovered reading was a much better substitute. She’s been hooked ever since. She read every book she could get her hands on and then some when she stumbled upon yaoi. Only, most of the books she read didn’t go the way she wanted them to, and an author was born. She’s been writing almost as long as she’s been reading and loves criticism in all forms to build her ability as an author.


You can purchase Serendipity from:

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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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