As 2022 comes to a close, I’m celebrating my 20 favorite romance novels of the year, and Next of Kin was such an unexpected delight! On a night when nothing on my TBR was calling my name, I stumbled upon this newly-released debut. I’d never heard of the book, but the cover was adorable and the blurb sounded right up my alley, so I dove in. And I ended up loving it so much! Both the found family and roommates aspects were excellent, and it has such a unique feel. I ended up devouring it quickly, and continue to have extremely fond memories of this debut. I enjoyed Bonam-Young’s second book as well, so here’s hoping that we get some more great romances from her in 2023!
You’ll find my original review and some quotes from the book below!
An EASY 5-star rating for me – I loved it! When I stumbled upon this debut romance, I had zero expectations, so I couldn’t have predicted the level of SWOONS or the plethora of heartfelt moments. I’ve never read a storyline quite like this one, and the near-constant forced proximity made for a book that absolutely FLIES by and a relationship that evolves quickly. Our hero is surly and standoffish at first, but it’s not long before his heart starts thawing. And MY heart? Well it practically melted from witnessing this gruff mechanic holding a baby and stepping up to take care of his little brother. Both of these characters have recently become caretakers for their siblings, and the found family element was GREAT. They fit together seamlessly, and this debut author deftly balances serious situations with sweet and playful ones. It’s the kind of lighthearted, uplifting romance that has grittier undertones that give the story weight without bringing it down.
The story follows Chloe, a 24-year-old who has just struck out on her own when she gets a phone call that changes her life. Turns out, Chloe’s birth mother just had another child, and she’s as ill-equipped to be a mom now as she was when Chloe was young. After meeting her baby sister for the first time, Chloe knows that she’s meant to keep her – but she doesn’t yet have the financial stability to raise a baby on her own. So when child services sets her up with a new roommate who is trying to get custody of his deaf teenage brother, it’s an overwhelming and unexpected situation. And Warren (23) isn’t the kind of warm and bubbly guy who will make their new living arrangement easier – he’s a little rough around the edges, angry at the world, and determined to keep Chloe at arm’s length. But it’s not long before Chloe starts seeing a softer side of Warren, and they form a family of their own.
For a book that tackles SO MANY heavy, potentially triggering topics – read the CW on this one – it’s actually a very light and fresh story most of the time. If I had one complaint (I really don’t) it’d be that it could’ve dug a little deeper into some of Warren and Chloe’s hangups – but I immensely enjoyed the light, swoony feel of the story. The roommates situation and grumpy/sunshine dynamic worked in a big way, and I loved watching Warren transform before my eyes. The story is told exclusively from Chloe’s point of view, but it was easy to see him fall. There are plenty of tender moments, several steamy ones, and SO much focus on the found family. The book is actually pretty short, but Chloe and Warren spend so much time together that it didn’t feel rushed. I was just impressed by how much this debut author packed into the pages. And if this is her debut? Then I’m very excited to see what comes next.
Two bickering strangers, Chloe and Warren, are partnered by Child Protective Services to qualify for next of kin fostering of their younger siblings.
When people-pleasing Chloe learns that her birth mother has unexpectedly had another baby, she doesn’t hesitate to become a next-of-kin guardian. But when she fails to pass Child Protective Services’ financial evaluation, she is faced with a choice: see her baby sister placed in foster care or participate in CPS’ new initiative, TeamUp.
Enter Warren, a surly mechanic’s apprentice attempting to get custody of his deaf fifteen-year-old brother after failing CPS’ housing evaluation. The two strangers immediately clash but agree to live together until Warren can find housing elsewhere and Chloe can further grow her freelance career.
As their lives intertwine, Chloe and Warren both realise that they’re far more similar than they could have imagined. What started as forced begins to feel natural—and far less lonely. Chemistry soon intensifies beyond what either of them can stand, but they must each decide if what burns between them is worth risking their arrangement.
With banter, heart, and steam that will have the reader blushing, NEXT OF KIN is a true underdog story of two young adults redefining what family can look like.
For adult readers only due to explicit (consensual) sexual content, child abandonment (referenced in memory), substance abuse and addiction (referenced, not described), foster care and adoption (theme throughout), references to anxiety (brief description of a panic attack), and death of a parent (referenced in memory).
About the Author:
Hannah has been a fan of stories -both written and spoken- her entire life. An admirer from a young age of the Austens and Brontës of the world, Hannah’s favourite stories are, at their core, about love.
When books are not only able to feature the romantic love between the couple but the wonderful other forms of love that change, challenge, and surround us—magic happens. That is Hannah’s goal.
Hannah writes stories featuring a cast of diverse, disabled, marginalized, and LGBTQIA+ folks wherein complex and swoon-worthy storylines coexist and blend with the beautiful realities of life, in all its messy glory.
You can find Hannah at @hannahby_writes on Instagram OR visit her website hannahbywrites.com
Follow Jeeves on social media!
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases