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Young Adult Indie 1449
Breaking the Cycle of Anxiety
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Best friends….secret love….y’all Michelle MacQueen put my two favorite tropes into one incredibly sweet story. Roman and the Hopeless Romantic is the second book in Macqueen’s Gulf City High series, and as the title suggests, follows the story of Roman Sullivan. If you’ve read book one, he should be familiar as Jesse’s flirtatious, good-natured best friend. I was really excited to start this one, and it does not disappoint!

Roman, as I’ve already stated, is genuinely a good guy and a bit of a flirt, which gets him the reputation of being a ladies man. However, he couldn’t be farther from that. He’s lonely. His parents are constantly away for work, his best friend has a new girlfriend, and his other best friend is currently not speaking to him. Roman doesn’t take it personally, or at least tries not too. Cassie doesn’t speak to anyone, but that doesn’t stop Roman from talking to her. When his parents tell him they are moving to another country and he has to go with them, Jesse makes him an offer he can’t refuse. But how does one go about living in the same house with the girl he secretly loves?

Cassie Carrigan lost her innocence and security the day she witnessed her mother’s death two years prior. Since then, her anxiety and PTSD has kept her inside her house where she only speaks to her family. Even Roman, the boy who was once as close to her as her brother Jesse, she can’t talk to. Her fear gets the better of her at every turn. She’s lost herself, the fun loving girl she used to be, and she doesn’t know how to get it back. When Roman moves in with them, Cassie’s therapist sees an opening for her to push back at her anxiety. Between the small challenges her therapist assigns and Roman’s constant presence, can Cassie begin to live again?

This book is more than a romance. It’s a heartfelt exploration of loss and grief, first love and best friends, and how anxiety can cripple it. I adore Roman! He is a big teddy bear who loves fiercely. And Cassie….my heart broke for her, but I was ultimately proud of her resilience and determination to break out of her shell. Michelle MacQueen perfectly captures this couple, and while the romance is sweet, it’s their friendship that drives the plot. If you are a fan of YA contemporary romance, I highly recommend it.
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