Saturday, January 21, 2023

Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez


It's so hard for me to find contemporary romances I actually enjoy because so many of them end up feeling really bland to me because they lack emotional stakes and conflict. I need some kind of driving force involving external conflict or inner turmoil to keep me turning pages, and that seems to be something that more and more authors are afraid to include these days. Maybe that's because, these days, any semi-flawed or unlikable character or situation involving any kind of nuance ends up getting you cancelled on TikTok.

PART OF YOUR WORLD, however, is that one book in one hundred that actually manages to write a successful rom-com that doesn't feel patronizing, unrealistic, or-- worse-- pandering. It includes so many of my favorite tropes that it felt like it was written for me: small town vibes, reverse age gap, class differences, STEM heroine (she's a doctor!), cute animals, strong female friendships, and loads and loads of family d(tr)auma to unpack and dread and scream over.

Alexis meets Daniel when her car gets stuck in a ditch. He helps tow her and then they meet again when she stops at the local bar for a bite. They end up hitting it off but she's a little put off by how young he is, and how their lives are totally different. (Read: she's loaded.) But they end up deciding to be a sort of exclusive-friends-with-benefits thing, which I wouldn't have minded if ALL THE SEX SCENES WEREN'T FADE TO BLACK (rude), but obviously they both catch feelings and obviously, both of them have extenuating factors that come into conflict with their budding romance. Daniel is about to lose his family house because his drug-addicted mother owns it and she wants to sell it all to run off with some guy. And Alexis is being put under incredible pressure by her manipulative and uptight family and her emotionally abusive ex.

The conflict drives the story and keeps up the tension, adding edge to what would otherwise be a pretty sugary-sweet insta-love romance wish fulfillment fantasy. Not that there's anything wrong with that. While I was composing my review in my head, I was actually going to talk about how *some* fluffy books manage to sell that fantasy without being too annoying. But then all that other stuff in the book came into play and I ended up being even more impressed than I already was. I only really have three complaints: (1) if you're going to tell me this dude is the Alexander the Great of having sex, you have to give us SOMETHING. Otherwise it feels like a taunt. (2) It kind of felt like the whole thing with Daniel's mom was just kind of resolved off-page, which was weird, because it felt like the book was playing her up to do something awful. (3) Could have done with 90% fewer Princess Bride references.

But overall, this was a lovely book. Just as good as the last book by this author that I read and thank goodness I have two more of hers on Kindle to read. PLUS, the next book in this series is going to be about Bri and she is absolutely the coolest and I can't wait for her story.

Thanks to FLINN and Anniek for reading this with me! Make sure to check out their reviews! :)

4 out of 5 stars

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