A Girl Like Her — Talia Hibbert

A Girl Like Her (Ravenswood #1)

 

TITLE: A Girl Like Her

AUTHOR: Talia Hibbert

SERIES: Ravenswood, #1

RELEASED: March 14th, 2018

GENRE: Contemporary

AGE RANGE: Adult

SYNOPSIS: After years of military service, Evan Miller wants a quiet life. The small town of Ravenswood seems perfect—until he stumbles upon a vicious web of lies with his new neighbour at its centre.

Ruth Kabbah is rude, awkward, and, according to everyone in town, bad news. Thing is, no-one will tell Evan why. Does she perform ritual sacrifices? Howl at the moon? Pour the milk before the tea? He has no clue.

But he desperately wants to find out. Because Ruth doesn’t seem evil to him; she seems lonely. And funny, and clumsy, and secretly quite sweet, and really f*%king beautiful…

The more Evan’s isolated, eccentric neighbour pushes him away, the more he wants her. Her—and all her secrets. Because there’s no way a girl like Ruth truly deserves the town’s scorn.

… Is there?

{GOODREADS . AMAZON (free on kindle unlimited!)}

I’m not usually one for reading adult contemporary titles, but when my friend Amber gave this one five stars, it caught my interest. An own-voice book featuring a black, autistic, plus size woman as the heroine? Yes, please! Naturally, I had to give it a try, and I am honestly so happy that I did, because Talia Hibbert is a gem and a goddess, and I cannot wait to read more of her work.

“Fanfic is good for my heart. Running is a disaster waiting to happen, and you know it.”

agirllikehersm

→ Ruth Kabbah ←
Okay, first of all, Ruth? Legit, I want to be her best friend. I know I can’t relate to her personal experiences of being a black autistic woman, but I can relate to her size (short, thick girls unite!), and I can relate to her past with abusive relationships, and with her geeky, self-deprecating nature, and with her insecurities and anxiety and history of utilizing coping methods that a lot of people judge her for. More than anything, though, I just loved her spirit. She is so damn funny, and geeky, and loving, and precious. She says the wrong things all the time, she’s prickly and sometimes hard to get along with, and she can’t cook worth anything—and she’s probably one of the top five most lovable female protagonists I’ve ever read in a contemporary novel.

Like a fool, he blurted out, “You’re little.” She snorted. “You’re disgracefully tall. What’s your point?”

→ Evan Miller ←
Evan, on the other side of the coin, is all sturdy solidness, a kindly military veteran who cooks like a pro chef and always knows the right thing to say. (If I recall correctly, his character was literally inspired by a GIF of Chris Evans, and if that doesn’t tell you something about him as a person, I don’t know what will.) He is so precious and obsessed with consent, doing everything he can to never cross Ruth’s boundaries or make her feel uncomfortable. He wants to keep her safe, but understands when he needs to let her fight her own battles, and he never tries to take an upper hand in their relationship or to disregard her needs. He’s also got a super soft spot for a coworker’s elderly, terminally ill mother, and his scenes with her gave me so much life. Precious.

“There are some things you don’t get over. You just accept them, and keep breathing. That’s enough.”

Let me be clear, though; this book is humorous and cute and soft, but it’s also definitely for mature audiences. There is quite a bit of sex, but it was honestly the perfect introduction to “steamy” adult contemporary reads, as it’s not plotless porn by any means, the characters are well fleshed out and definitely don’t serve as simple props for the action, and I don’t recall noticing a single problematic aspect. I know books of this genre and style typically tend to run free with a lot of troubling tropes and behaviors, but this book highlights how necessary (and sexy!) consent is in a relationship, as well as focusing on equality and fairness between the individuals.

She wasn’t graceful. She was, in fact, the opposite of graceful. He worried for her safety once every five seconds at least.

There are also some definite warnings to be offered for abuse, as it’s made evident pretty early on that Ruth has a history of being in a very negative relationship where she was subjected to a lot of sexual, mental, and emotional abuse. It’s all done through reminiscing, and it’s not super heavy-handed, but if that’s a trigger for you, I always suggest proceeding with caution! There is also a bit of slut-shaming, as well as ableism geared towards her autism—it’s entirely challenged throughout the text, but it is present, so be aware of that, too. ♥

All of that said, if you enjoy adult contemporary novels—or are looking for an introduction to the genre—please pick this story up! It’s only a few bucks in the kindle store, and you’ll be supporting an independent author of color who is an absolute angel on her social media and definitely has my support from here on out. (I’ve already bought another of her books and hope to read it ASAP!)

5flowers

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Just a 25-year-old trying to juggle motherhood, grad school, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

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