by Hannah Bonam-Young
This is such a wonderful story and I need more romances like this in my life. Books with depth but relatively low stakes. None of that constant-miscommunication-drama or huge blowups over something small – just two people getting to know each other and falling into swoon-worthy yet believable love.
Chloe and Warren come from similar backgrounds. Their birth parents aren’t in the picture due to addiction or abandonment and they grew up in the foster system. Both have younger siblings they want to save from their own fates but can’t foster or adopt because of some small knock against either their income or living situation.
So, naturally, these two total strangers move in together in order to have their siblings live with them.
I loved this forced-proximity setup. It’s one of my favorite tropes, and not only was this a solid reason for its presence, but I’ve never seen it done this way and it was so refreshing.
Chloe and Warren’s first meeting is less than stellar – both are nervous and have their backs up – yet even when they were snapping at each other, I could feel the tension radiating from the pages and knew that sparks would fly when they finally got together.
And let me tell you, they did. *fans self*
I have to tip my hat for all the inclusion in this book. I’ve lost count of how many romances I’ve read set in cities that have nothing but white cishet characters in them and it’s like, really? Really? There’s a ton of racial diversity in this book, queer and trans rep, as well as deaf rep, and it’s all handled beautifully.
Warren is one of the more progressive male leads I’ve read lately. He’s working on himself, going to therapy, and constantly trying to be a better man. Obviously, he’s not perfect – no one is – but the best thing about his character is that when he messes up or backtracks, he apologizes. Immediately and with no attempt at excusing his behavior. It was fucking hot.
Chloe’s character progression was just as solid. The way she started opening up to Warren and her friends about her past once she finally felt safe to do so was so natural and organic and I just loved her.
This is such a stellar debut from an indie author. It was funny and sexy and still deep without ever feeling like a drag. I don’t usually compare new authors to established ones, because I feel like that’s a lot of hype and pressure, but I can easily see Hannah Bonam-Young going on to have the kind of success Emily Henry and Tessa Bailey have enjoyed. She’s that good.