The thing about Skye Kilaen is that she has so much compassion for her characters and her stories are so full of kindness that when she rips my still beating heart out of my chest in chapter one, I keep reading because I trust my heart in her hands. Skye writes beautiful LGBTQ+ romances, she’s self published, and unless you hang out in the right book circles, you probably don’t know who she is. But you should, because she’s so gooooooooood.
Tell Me Anything is hurt comfort at it’s hurtiest and most comforting. What is hurt comfort? It is what it sounds like. One protagonist is in physical or mental pain and the other protagonist comforts them. I’ve talked about my difficult family before, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I would appreciate a good hurt comfort story. It’s difficult to do well though, because the line between aid and comfort, and a boundary stomping White Knight can be thin. Here again, I trust Skye Kilaen to stay on the right side of that line.
The truth was that for everything there was a season, and right now she was in the season of You Fucked Up, with a remarkably strong weather pattern of Deal With It.
Isabel Christopher is on her way home after 10 days with her family over Thanksgiving. She can’t reach her boyfriend, but that’s not unusual. He’s a medical resident and sometimes gets swamped. Isabelle is concerned, but not worried. Until she gets home. She discovers that her boyfriend has moved out of the apartment she can’t afford on her own and is threatening to tell her parents she is bisexual if she doesn’t keep up the rent payments until the lease is up. Isabel thinks this is all happening because she got drunk at a party and kissed another woman. She feels guilty and she isn’t ready to come out to her conservative family.
Isabel is messy and hurt and her reservoir of cope is running dry. One night she decides to go to a bar and let men buy her drinks. Derek is there waiting to meet up with a friend who doesn’t show. Derek sees Isabel and the warning sirens start going off in his head. She asks him to buy her a drink, but he suggests they dance instead. He can tell she’s hurting and in trouble. Eventually he is able to get her home safely, and they tentatively build a friendship. Derek and Isabel are so kind and careful with one another.
One of the things exacerbating Isabel’s difficult situation is her chronic insomnia. She was starting to get it under control when her ex removed her from his health insurance and she could no longer afford medications. I don’t swoon at every romantic gesture, but I swooned hard when Derek offered to put Isabel on his health insurance. I’m not actually sure that counts as a romantic gesture, but still I swooned.
Skye Kilaen’s romances are love letters to the queer community. Safety, kindness, respect and found family are the cornerstones of her books.
Tell Me Anything is out in early September. If you want to try a new author, I highly recommend Skye Kilaen.
For the best list of content warnings, go to the author’s website and scroll to the bottom.
I received this as an advance reader copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.