Sunday, January 31, 2021

A Girl Like Her by Talia Hibbert


My friends have been trying to get me to read a Talia Hibbert book for a while now so it was exciting to finally do the deed. A GIRL LIKE HER is one of those small town secrets/big time drama type books. It revolves around Ruth Kabbah, a woman with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who likes comic books and working on her web comic, but has pretty horrible luck with men.

Evan is her new neighbor and their relationship kicks off when he brings her a shepherd's pie in the interest of being neighborly. Initially suspicious, Ruth eventually relents and they begin trading off: food in exchange for lent comics. As they spend more time together, Ruth begins to relax around the one person in town who doesn't judge her for the scandals in her past, and Evan begins to learn more about what, exactly, was responsible for making Ruth so jaded in the first place.

I thought Ruth was a great heroine. The author did a great job inserting all the geek stuff without it feeling like she was pandering to her audience. It felt very natural and low-key. It was also cool to read about a neurodivergent heroine where her neurodivergence wasn't the main focus of the story: it just shaped the way she saw and interacted with the world.

Evan is an incredibly sweet hero. Normally I read romances with darker, more sinister heroes but it was refreshing to read about a sweet beta man who just wanted to feed and take care of the heroine and treat her like a princess. He has a tragic backstory to keep him from being too two-dimensional but I don't really feel like he ever felt as complexly fleshed-out as Ruth did, sadly.

Which brings me to the only thing I didn't like about this story: there just wasn't a big connection between the H and the h to me. They felt more like friends than lovers and a lot of their interactions felt drawn-out and kind of boring (to me). My favorite parts of the book were actually Ruth interacting with the other villagers and all the baggage that comes along with living in one of those towns where everyone knows everyone, basically how Heather felt in her review. If this had more tension and more chemistry, I would have loved this book. Also... more UK-isms? I LOVED all the little UK references to things like Parma Violets and Supernoodles. Things I haven't really seen outside of the UK, basically, right up there with Tesco sandwiches, Jammy Dodgers, and Scotch eggs (sigh).

All in all, this was a pretty sweet romance with a satisfying ending and I'd read more from this author.

3 out of 5 stars

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