Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez is not only one of the best romance novels of the year but a chart-topping, breathtakingly profound story that will leave a mark. It’s Jimenez’s most beautiful work to date, and it undoubtedly adds layers and colossal heart to the Part of Your World series. Briana Ortiz and Jacob Maddox are such gorgeously written fictional beings that the real world would’ve been far better if the two were real.
There’s much to explore and dissect with the novel’s heavier themes, and Jimenez does so with meticulous care. It’s a thoughtfully crafted narrative that centers around what seeing inside someone’s soul truly looks like and how people could heal others by helping themselves first. It explores the perils of social anxiety, the importance of therapy, and the need for medication, all while maintaining the idea that your soulmate isn’t the person who’s just like you but the one who’s more than willing to meet you halfway through everything.
Now, while Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s still a stunning book that deserves credit where credit is due. For starters, despite Briana’s presence being a tremendous comfort for a character like Jacob in crowded locations, the novel doesn’t imply that she’s the fix to his anxiety. Instead, it understands the significance of taking necessary steps to help ourselves in the areas and places we want to go and finding love that makes it feel more effortless. Jacob likes his family, and he likes being around them—there are certain things he wants to do, but the issue is being around people who wouldn’t understand if he needed to leave when it became too much. And that’s precisely the getaway Briana gives him—the safe space to be transparent about his anxieties.
Briana allows Jacob the certainty to know that it’s okay to feel uncomfortable and that it’s okay to want to leave. She doesn’t fault him for how he is and doesn’t expect him to change. And the weight of their adoration comes from the promise to be harmless to each other. The tropes might be one too many at times in the novel, but Jimenez ensures that they progress naturally because they align with character motives. Once we unravel the reasons behind Jacob’s reputation, followed by his experiences and how they go hand-in-hand with Briana’s, it makes their friendship stronger.
When Jacob writes the first letter and breaks the dam between them, the book becomes the most comforting page-turner because someone like me sees myself in a character like Jacob. And thus, someone like Briana feels like a warm hug because in her choice to see all of him, it allows everyone who suffers from anxiety to understand that they are worth being seen as they are. And the profundity of this friendship is why fake dating works in a way that I’ve yet to read before because it allows them the comfort in someone’s company for whom they’re immensely grateful.
Thus, their love flows effortlessly once it all unravels because so much of what happens organically allows the serenity they feel with one another to anchor their choices. Jacob Maddox is an empath, and because of his mom’s Lupus diagnosis, he understands the importance of a kidney donation. If this weren’t the case, I wonder if Jacob donating his kidney this early on would’ve worked. It probably shouldn’t. Still, his reason, how he sees Benny, and his immense compassion for doing something for the greater good make the story feel more moving. He’s an inherently good person whose motives make the story richer. And further, Briana’s immense, unyielding gratitude also makes sense because she’s also inherently good, and she’s someone who’s able to apologize when she’s wrong.
Further, regarding romance novels, I’m always wishing for characters to talk more. Thankfully, Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez allows Briana and Jacob to bare their souls to one another constantly, ensuring that their eventual jump toward a real, unremitting relationship feels earned and perfectly timed. It’s hilarious at times, warm, achingly gentle, and even the third-act miscommunication is exceptionally well done. There’s no part of the book that doesn’t work. By the end of the book, we know that Briana and Jacob will last because what they find in each other is someone who’s not only always going to be harmless with them but someone who loves them so much they can’t fathom the depth of their feelings. Whatever they thought they knew in the past, it’s beyond that today—it’s bigger, bolder, and tethered to trust like a steady anchor because they’ve found a way to communicate with one another.
The sentiment of being harmless to each other is one of the simplest yet the most profound ways of promising a safe space to another person, and it’s something I will carry with me for a long, long time. Sometimes, the right words find you when you need them the most, and I’m confident that Jimenez’s will be a safe space for many.
Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez is now available wherever books are sold.