Review of Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez
Jimenez's rom-com frequently had me laughing, made me tear up a little, and kept me hooked on the fake-dating, will-they-won't-they tension while also digging into some deep themes.
Briana Ortiz's divorce from her cheater husband is about to be finalized, her brother Benny's health is failing, and she's living in her childhood home, complete with its original flowered couches and shabby carpet.
At least she can pour energy into her work. She's busy as an ER doctor and is poised to become the next Chief.
But when a new doctor relocates to the hospital, Bri's promotion is in jeopardy. She's set to detest this interloper--but then he sends her a letter that changes everything.
Sometimes when I want to sink into a rom-com I'm distracted by what feel like overly manufactured roadblocks. (Really? They couldn't and wouldn't find five minutes to clear up this enormous misunderstanding?)
BUT. In Yours Truly, Jimenez layers her characters with complex back stories, significant and interesting emotional baggage, and trauma from relationship disasters, all of which complicate their ability to be vulnerable. There's a health crisis and solution that involves the two main characters in key ways and complicates things. There's a fake-dating situation that's designed to save the feelings of loved ones. And there's a professional environment they must navigate within.
It's not unusual for me to feel frustrated by a drawn-out will-they/won't-they tension, or by a fake-dating setup between two characters who should obviously be together. But this novel had me eating out of Jimenez's hand.
I loved the letter-writing element and loved the looooove here!
The banter between Bri and Jacob is funny and adorable, their attraction is sometimes steamy, the supporting characters are all wonderfully wrought, and I loved tracing Bri and Jacob's emotional self-discovery as they moved toward a hard-fought resolution to the issues initially stopping them from being together.
Jimenez also digs into deep themes here: anxiety disorders, trauma, miscarriage, divorce, financial struggles, and more.
I was hooked on Abby Jimenez's Part of Your World, but I loved Yours Truly even more. This book frequently had me laughing and also made me tear up at a couple of points.
The very end of the book quotes from a personal set of writings and for some reason this felt a little jarring to me--I think I wanted to focus on Bri's internalizing the messages (which we as readers already understood) rather than jumping back and forth into them and then cutting to her reaction.
If we're going to have a happy ending, we might as well fast-forward to a happy near-future scene and see it allll wrapped up--and Jimenez provides this for us.
It doesn't feel like a spoiler to share that Yours Truly offers a clean ending without loose ends. Former enemies are best friends and almost everyone is in love with someone. If you've agonized through the main relationship's ups and downs throughout the story, you might just feel that Bri and Jacob--and frankly we the readers!--deserve this final section, which wraps up everything in a neat bow.
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You might also like the books on my Greedy Reading Lists Six Great Light Fiction Stories Perfect for Summer Reading and Six More Great Light Fiction Stories.