Next to You by Hannah Bonum-Young is now one of my favorite romance novels! Check out my book review below to see why I fell in love with this friends to lovers romance books.
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Lane is in the middle of an identity crisis. Her friends are all partnered up, her career is leading nowhere, and simply put, she’s not happy.
So after a night out celebrating (drinking) on her birthday, she makes one hell of an impulsive purchase. A giant yellow forty-eight passenger school bus that she intends to make a home.
With little-to-no renovation experience but a large sum of inheritance money, Lane enlists the help of her friend Matt—a mechanic by trade, handyman by practice, and hottie by nature.
While their mutual attraction is undeniable, Matt and Lane have silently agreed that a friendship is the only thing that can ever exist between them.
Matt’s a total family guy with “settle down with me” tattooed across his forehead, whereas Lane is entirely commitment-averse.
So when Matt offers to help her with the bus and in the bedroom with no strings attached, Lane’s feelings evolve faster than you can say “just good friends.”
But she soon discovers that in order to build something new, she has to first heal her past.
This book cemented Bonam-Young as my new favorite author and Matt as one of my all-time favorite book boyfriends!
Thank you 2022 for giving me Bonam-Young’s work! I adored her debut novel, Next of Kin, and yet her second book is even better and that’s honestly saying something.
I loved Next to You from the very start and it only kept getting better and better. The writing, the characters, the emotional arc, the spiciness and the beauty of the words shared was just amazing and I am just so happy I found this book.
While you briefly meet Lane and Matt in Next of Kin, you can easily read this as a standalone (but honestly, read that too – so good!).
Matt is a mechanic who’s in the same friend group as Lane, a freelancer by virtue of Matt’s coworker and Lane’s best friend.
Matt and Lane share a kiss one New Year’s Eve but have only been friends for the last year since that one night but that doesn’t mean that Lane hasn’t lusted for Matt from afar or that Matt hasn’t developed his own feelings.
But Lane struggles with anxiety and PTSD that keeps her from anything resembling commitment – until she ups and buys a bus that she plans to convert into a home with Matt’s help.
What I LOVED:
Hands down these are two amazing characters. I felt like Bonam-Young wrote two people that I could meet in real life- not the over-perfect, fictionalized characters you may get in other books.
These were people with struggles but who just clicked with one another when they haven’t clicked with anyone in the past.
I thought Bonam-Young did a great job portraying grief, anxiety, and PTSD with Lane without it overwhelming the story or making her seem weak or less than.
I appreciated her struggles, her journey and her acknowledgement that it’s a work in progess.
Then we’re given Matt. Oh, Matt. You may be the most perfect book boyfriend and instantly became my favorite book boyfriend of 2022. I love you and want to claim you all for myself.
This man is the perfect cinnamon roll – someone who “saw” Lane, loved her for who she was and wanted to anything and everything for her.
He wasn’t some sap or a pushover as man he was quite the lover in the bedroom, but he showed such sensitivity, kindness and patience when it was needed. The emotional intelligence on this man is off the charts.
And then his words…OMG can I just swoon now? His words made my heart go aflutter time and time again.
This was such a wonderful friends to lovers romance. Sometimes they can be cheesy or overfilled with drama but this one was perfection.
I loved the trajectory of their relationship and how they truly let the other see the real them – warts and all.
The bus renovation was a really cool idea for the background of this story, but it was truly a personal journey for Lane.
This is one of those books that you don’t want to put down. Other 5 star books just rip by heart out but that wasn’t necessary with this book. I still got ALL the feels from these two and just loved their love story.
How authors, like Bonam-Young, make writing seem so effortless is beyond me.
Related Book Lists:
- Best Romance Novels of 2022
- Best Book Boyfriends of 2022
- Best Romance Novels of All Time
- Best Friends to Lovers Romance Books
- Romance Books Featuring Mental Illness