Angst ahoy in Bad Reputation, the latest installment in Stefanie London’s Bad Bachelors series, which revolves around a dating app that rates – you guessed it – bachelors. This book is about Wes Evans, the son of Broadway royalty who is just trying to get his first solo-produced show off the ground. Desperately in need of a star performer, he is overjoyed to discover our heroine, Remi Drysdale, an Australian dancer who is everything he ever dreamed of. Complications include his rating on the app, her past, his family, and more.
Wes knows ballet and he knows theater and he is confident that his first production out from under his parents’ banner will be a hit. But he’s dogged by two issues: he can’t find a lead dancer, and his anatomy is currently more of a public story than his creativity. After being dubbed ‘The Anaconda’ by the users of the app and praised for his sexual prowess, the staid and serious world of theater financing is not interested in being part of his brand. So while he’s desperately trying to find his lead, he’s also trying to find the creator of the app and have his profile removed. When he bumps into Remi at a chance dance class, he knows that she has to be the star. He’s also increasingly sure she has to be his girlfriend, but that’s secondary. For now.
Remi escaped Australia for New York in order to get away from a breakup that destroyed her professional life as well as her personal one. Bound and determined to never mix business with pleasure, she is torn between the incredible opportunity that Wes presents her with and her growing attraction to him. The final wrinkle is that she knows exactly who is behind that app, and cannot tell him.
I didn’t love this one, y’all. I was dubious of the app premise in the first book, but Ms. London won me over there. In this one, I was just annoyed by the constant issue of gossip blogs discussing Wes’ penis and the secrecy the app creators demanded – even when their app is preventing someone from making a living through no fault of their own. Wes’ reviews are glowing, but he doesn’t want them, and I struggled to see how the app could be more important than the jobs he’d create putting on his production. The argument made is weak, and seems to be in place solely to create the conflict at the heart of Remi and Wes’ romance. Additionally Remi dips way too far into wallowing territory for my taste. I’m not really here for damsel-in-distress narratives and that’s largely what this one turns into. Throw in some stalking from an ex, and this story just feels like too many plot chefs in the kitchen.
I’ve enjoyed Ms. London’s works in the past, but I think this premise has run its course. I look forward to checking back in with her after she wraps this series up.