If you’ve been hanging around my bookstagram for a while, you know that I am completely, totally and utterly infatuated with Olivia M. Jones. I feel like, for the sake of transparency, I should acknowledge that I consider her a dear friend of mine. That being said, I read her book in beta before we were close. My impressions of “Someone Like You” were cemented before I had the strong feeling that I wanted to hug her head until her eyes popped out of her skull. An Olivia-stress-ball.
I read this entire book in less than twenty-four hours. That is over 100k words that I crammed into my gullet, like some sort of rabid pelican.
“Someone Like You” is Olivia M. Jones’ debut novel. Elyse Acklin is an up-and-coming chef with an unfortunate romantic history. Tyler Sullivan is a fun-loving, sweet guy whose heartbreak goes deeper than the California fault-lines. They are neighbors, and fast friends. They go through the ups and downs of life, made stronger by the person at their side. Slowly, feelings begin to blossom, even with both fervently denying the potential of what could be. Elyse is still recovering from a betrayal, while he mourns a great loss. It doesn’t seem like the right time – but feelings don’t care about that. The question then becomes: what will they do about it?
I often don’t find myself drawn to Contemporary Romance. In my experience, the simpler stories tend to fall flat. The stories don’t grip, the characters don’t feel real – their plights… insipid. I have said, for a very long time, that it takes an incredibly talented writer to tell a simple story.
And Olivia did that.
I wasn’t expecting to fall as madly in love with this novel as I did when I opened up “Someone Like You” in its Beta form. I expected to maintain a critical eye, hunting down grammatical errors and typos like I was playing whack-a-mole. But I was engrossed. The moment my feet hit the floor with this story, I was power-walking, then jogging, and then running, until I realized it was 3am, my stomach was screaming and my laptop was ready to burst into flames.
Jones gives us layers. Both in the nuance in the relationship between Tyler and Elyse, but also in the various relationships throughout the book. Her friendship with her sister and Lena, for example.
It all felt organic. I believed that Tyler and Elyse were catching feelings for each other. I believed that there was tension. I believed that they loved each other. I felt it – I wasn’t told. That, in of itself, is an extraordinary feat that all writers should hope to achieve.
I cannot think of a more stunning debut. I am greatly looking forward to reading more of Olivia’s work. She simply cannot get it to me soon enough!
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