by Hannah Bonam-Young
This book cements it. Hannah Bonam-Young goes on the auto-buy list.
For anyone who has been following my reviews for any length of time, you know I’m an incredibly critical reader. Being an author makes you one because after all the revisions and lower circles of editing hell we’ve been through, we’re much more likely to notice things other readers wouldn’t. Things like passive writing, run-on sentences, plot holes, long beats in between dialogue, comma splices, pronoun-antecedent disagreements, etc.
Plus, I’m just plain picky. I don’t like male leads who bully or abuse female leads, I hate unnecessary miscommunications, love triangles make me want to vomit, and if I even get a whiff of the surprise pregnancy trope, I will turn my kindle into a frisbee.
I don’t worry about running into any of my pet peeves when I read books by this author because it feels like she understands me as a reader. She writes in a way that makes me feel like we would get along. Like we share the same values and beliefs. Her books are diverse and inclusive without ever feeling like they’re preachy or that certain characters were introduced to fill a quota. And she also tackles mental health issues and past trauma like a boss.
This is the second book in this series, but you don’t have to read the first to dive into it. The characters from that book make appearances, but they’re not central to the story. This is much more focused on the male and female leads, Matt and Lane.
I saw the author’s idea board for the book before reading it, and let me tell you, it was so easy to picture Jason Momoa as Matt. He shares his physical characteristics and even some of his mannerisms. I also kept humming “It’s cuffing season” under my breath while reading this because Matt is a Big Boy, and, lord, do I like me a tall man with some weight on his bones.
This story is told from Lane’s perspective, and I know a lot of readers prefer dual PoVs in their romances, but hear me out: Hannah Bonam-Young writes single PoV romance really well. Like, Mariana Zapata well. Her heroines are working on themselves, struggling to overcome past trauma or emotional baggage, and are so relatable that it’s hard not to instantly be on their side.
In this book, Lane is grieving. Her father passed tragically in a car accident, and because of the series of events that led to it, she blames herself for his death. That’s a lot to unpack and would weigh heavy on anyone’s shoulders, so it’s no wonder she’s dealing with anxiety and depression and agoraphobia.
I thought this aspect was handled really well. It’s so nice to see someone like Lane taking medication and going to therapy. Normalize this in literature, please.
And Matt. Oh, Matt. He is so goddamn cute at times, and others, so goddamn sexy. He’s that perfect blend of soft and hard, empathetic when the time calls for it, but also down to bend you over the nearest surface and fuck you senseless.
I loved the two of them together from page one. Between the smoldering chemistry, hilarious banter, and open and honest communication, I was never not rooting for them.
If you like contemporary romance with some depth to it, definitely give this book and this author a try.