- Author: Abby Jimenez
- Genre: Romance
- Publication Date: April 11, 2023
- Publisher: Forever
Thank you to NetGalley and Forever for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
CONTENT WARNING: infidelity, reference to parental abandonment, reference to a prior miscarriage, depictions of anxiety/depression/panic attacks, chronic illness
A novel of terrible first impressions, hilarious second chances, and the joy in finding your perfect match from “a true talent” (Emily Henry, #1 New York Times bestselling author).
Dr. Briana Ortiz’s life is seriously flatlining. Her divorce is just about finalized, her brother’s running out of time to find a kidney donor, and that promotion she wants? Oh, that’s probably going to the new man-doctor who’s already registering eighty-friggin’-seven on Briana’s “pain in my ass” scale. But just when all systems are set to hate, Dr. Jacob Maddox completely flips the game . . . by sending Briana a letter.
And it’s a really good letter. Like the kind that proves that Jacob isn’t actually Satan. Worse, he might be this fantastically funny and subversively likeable guy who’s terrible at first impressions. Because suddenly he and Bri are exchanging letters, sharing lunch dates in her “sob closet,” and discussing the merits of freakishly tiny horses. But when Jacob decides to give Briana the best gift imaginable—a kidney for her brother—she wonders just how she can resist this quietly sexy new doctor . . . especially when he calls in a favor she can’t refuse.
Abby Jimenez first came onto my radar when I found a hilariously funny interaction involving cakes that looked suspiciously like female genitalia. I shared it with my friend, who informed me that in addition to being a fabulously talented baker with a successful shop and a great sense of humor, she’s also a romance author. At that point, I knew I just had to get my hands on one of her books. And I was in luck—one was available for request on NetGalley, and I was fortunate enough to get approved.
This actually turned out to be one of the funniest rom-coms that I’ve ever read in my entire life. The humor started early in the book, and I was surprised to see that it only got funnier over the course of the story. One of my favorite parts was the fact that Jacob has a rescue dog named Lieutenant Dan, after the amputee in Forrest Gump, because the dog only has three legs. The two MCs get themselves into hilarious situations, both with each other and with their families, all of whom are hilarious.
Perspective shifts between Briana and Jacob, which I enjoy in a story, because it allows us to get to know both sides of the story, especially in a fake dating scenario like this one. While Briana is dealing with her own issues of abandonment, mourning the dissolution of her complicated marriage, and taking care of her brother, who has end-stage renal disease as a result of autoimmune disease, and is struggling with depression, Jacob has his own problems. He has severe social anxiety, and has some problems on the home front that he needs some assistance with, but he’s seriously the sweetest and most pure cinnamon roll that I have ever seen. Jacob is basically the textbook definition of a character who must be protected at all costs.
I’m a huge fan of the fake dating trope, and I loved watching the two characters interact with each other, especially since I got to see how each of their feelings developed. I found myself getting so invested in these two characters, and loved the colorful cast of side characters. By the end of the book, I had already laughed more times than I could count, and cried twice, which just goes to show how truly invested I got in this story.
The representation in this story was fabulous, and none of it ever felt forced. Briana is Salvadorian, and her culture comes through in her family structure and values, language, and foods. There are queer characters and people of other backgrounds married into the family, but the chronic illness aspects are where the story really shines. Depression, anxiety, and autoimmune disease and the devastating impact that each of these illnesses have on the individual, the people around them, and their abilities to function in everyday life are depicted sensitively and accurately, without ever feeling uncomfortable or forced.
I fell in love with this story, and found myself flying through it. Putting it down was almost painful, and I kept counting down until I could return to it. Jimenez has an incredible talent for creating a story that I could completely lose myself in, and a romance that feels like it was pulled right out of my dreams. Although I only rate up to 5 stars, this is one of those books that I wish I could rate higher than 5, because this book, this romance, and these characters deserve all the stars. Especially Lieutenant Dan, who is absolutely the goodest boy.
Categories: Book Review