I ended up powering through Next of Kin in a few days. Talk about a book with pining, heartwarming feels, and a healthy dose of complicated families. Keep reading this book review of Next of Kin for my full thoughts.
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 see her baby sister placed in foster care or participate in CPS’s new initiative, where two prospective guardians join households to qualify.
Enter Warren, a surly mechanic’s apprentice attempting to get custody of his deaf fifteen-year-old brother. From the moment Warren drives up thirty minutes late, blasting music out of his car, Chloe is convinced that this is a very bad idea. The two immediately clash but eventually agree to live together for the sake of their younger siblings.
As their lives intertwine, and Chloe adjusts to caring for her newborn sister, she begins to see a new, softer side of Warren. In fact, they’re far more similar than she 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 is their mutual attraction worth risking everything they’ve fought for?
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
As an adoptee, I knew I had to read Next of Kin. While our experiences don’t perfectly align, I don’t have any experience with domestic adoption, I resonated with the themes of complex parental feels. Next of Kin is tender and full of heart. It’s about sacrifices for family and for love. What we would do to protect the ones we love. I enjoyed the tension between Chloe and Warren. The ways strangers can see through to our secrets, see through our lies, so much better than we think.
For both Warren and Chloe, they have to figure out what kind of person, parent, they want to be. We can allow our traumas, our wounds, our models of parenthood, impact and control us. But what happens when we want to be better? There’s plenty of swooning, chemistry, and slow burns. I loved how you can get a distinct feeling of Chloe and Warren’s individual character journey as well as their relationship trajectory. How Warren feels so deeply that nothing with him would work, even though his actions are screaming.
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How we can yearn for someone to stay even when we think they should leave. Next of Kin is perfect for romance fans and readers who love stories about complicated families. Find Next of Kin on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon, Bookshop.org, & Blackwells.