Review: What If You & I by Roni Loren


Title: What If You & Me (Say everything #2)
Author: Roni Loren
Date of publication: 6 Aug 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Mental health rep

Author's links:

My rating: 3.5 Stars


The world can be a scary place. At least, that's what Andi Lockley's anxiety wants her to believe. It doesn't help that she narrowly escaped a dangerous man years ago, or that every relationship since has been colored with that lingering fear. But things are better now―she's channeling everything into her career as a horror novelist and true crime podcaster, and her next book may be the breakthrough she needs.

If only her grumpy new neighbor would stop stomping around at all hours of the night.

Former firefighter Hill Dawson can't sleep. After losing part of his leg in a rescue gone wrong, he's now stuck in limbo. He needs to figure out what he's supposed to do with his life, and he can't let himself get distracted by the pretty redhead next door. But when someone breaks into Andi's place, Hill can't stop himself from rushing in to play the hero. Soon, a tentative bond forms between the unlikely pair. But what starts out as a neighborly exchange quickly turns into the chance for so much more...if Andi can learn to put aside her fear and trust in herself―and love―again.


It's the second book in the series and I can say I enjoyed it somewhat more than book 1. Like the first book this one also deals with characters who have mental health issues, the hero has PTSD and depression following an incident where he lost his leg.; the heroine deals with childhood SA trauma that causes her to have trust issues and makes intimacy a challenge for her.

I liked them as a couple, the grumpy / sunshine is my favourite romance trope. I found both Andi and Hill very likeable and relatable. They are dealing with their own issues to the best of their abilities when they meet by chance. They start a tentative friendship over horror movies, gradually cooking is added to the mix and the friendship becomes friends-with-benefits situation.

The intimacy is slow, tentative, it's new and scary for both of them and I liked how talked about their fears and hang-ups, took breaks when needed. At the same time some of the sex scenes felt superfluous, putting focus on the physical side and leaving the emotional connection between the MCs behind. I like how their traumas don't disappear overnight. Hill is directionless, dealing with physical and mental stuff (wished we got to see him on page getting professional help, rather than just being told medical appointment and therapy take up much of his time). His relationship with Andi is tremendous help for him but does not magically cure him.

Andi is getting free counseling/advice from a therapist friend and this was not very good choice in my opinion. There is a blurring of professional/personal boundaries here that didn't feel ok for me.

I hated the third-act break-up that was basically over nothing. And on top of that Andi doesn't get a proper apology from Hill. Her insistence that she knew what he felt despite him saying otherwise really bothered me. I can see he needed that push but also I am not a fan anyone telling the other person how they feel. It's too close to gaslighting for me. He needed to come to that conclusion on his own, not having someone spell it out for him.

There is a cheating ex plotline which I was not a fan of initially but I really like how the author handled it in the end with nuance and things, as most often in real life, are not just black and white.

Like the previous book, this one is very busy plotwise, lots of things going one and some were better developed than others. I did like both Andi and Hill and felt very confident in their romance. Now, I forward to book 3 which is coming out later this year. 

CW: assault, trauma, PTSD, depression, MC with amputated leg, paranoia

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