You know a book is good when you finish it and then you keep thinking about it for days afterwards. It doesn’t happen to me too often (the last time it did was a Stargate fanfic, honestly!), but it happened with this one. This post is mostly a lengthened version of the things I yelled about on Twitter!
What struck me most about JEREMIAH is that it felt really, truly contemporary. So many books marketed as contemporary romance are more trope-y than realistic (and I love a good trope [unless it’s a secret baby, never come at me with a secret baby]). But there are only so many rich people working in shiny offices or small town rom-coms you can read romances about, and it seems that inevitably – even in the ones that are doing really cool, interesting, and different things, the happily-ever-after is really pat. It’s all happily, and not much ever after, frankly. What Jayce Ellis does differently is make me believe in a realistic ending for her heroes, one that goes on after the last page has been turned.
There’s a lot of family conflict in this book, and unlike so many other books, it’s not resolved at the end – either by the magical healing power of love OR by burning bridges. Found family is super important in this book – and I REALLY want to see more of a lot of the secondary characters! – but bio family plays a strong role, especially for Jeremiah, who has struggled with coming out to his family. (Spoiler alert!) When it finally happens, there isn’t a happy ending where all the loose ends are tied up – but he doesn’t walk completely away, either. It’s messy, and it’s complicated, and it’s real, and the things that made up his backstory will continue on in his life long after the final page of this book. Collin’s family situation is complicated, too, but he’s made different choices in how to address it. His career situation is tangled up in it, and the insecurities he’s faced and choices he’s made along the way form a realistic picture of a man on the cusp of change.
Both Jeremiah and Collin take the time to THINK about what they want, which is amazing. There’s self-care and empathy and growth all over the place in this book and I loved it. It was deeply refreshing to read something that made me feel like the characters were real, like they were people that not only I would WANT to meet, but ones I might ACTUALLY meet. (And the bonus of a setting that’s local to me? MAYBE I WILL.)