After the hot mess express that was Normal People, I decided to switch it up. I’d been wanting to read O’Leary and The Flatshare for awhile and my library hold finally went through so I moved it up the TBR pile. And I am so thankful I did!

Tiffy and Leon share an apartment. Tiffy had a bad break up and needed a life change. But she also had a small budget so sharing a place was the only option. The only glitch? They’ve never met.

Tiffy works a 9-5 job for book publisher that specializes in craft and hobby books. Leon is a nurse who works the night shift and spends weekends with his girlfriend. So while they technically share a bed, they’ve never done so at the same time.

What they have done, in abundance, is communicate via post-it notes. It starts small, groceries, laundry. But it evolves. They learn a little more about each other and start to champion one another. Sharing victories and commiserating during tough times. Then Leon and his girlfriend break up and there’s an accidental shower meeting. The rest, as they say, is history.

I liked the book. The plot seems pretty fluffy (nothing wrong with that) but it actually addresses some pretty serious issues. Leon’s brother is wrongly imprisoned, Tiffy’s ex boyfriend was an emotional abusive, gas lighter. She’s got a little residual PTSD and she has to work through some things before they can properly be together.

I appreciated how O’Leary handled these topics. It felt like a realistic portrayal of how someone has to work through real life issues in order to heal and move on to be with someone. I can see why, if you had experiences that were more traumatic, this would feel like a shallow depiction. But I really think O’Leary balanced the real life elements with a fictional romance well.

My one complaint would be the time we spend in Leon’s head. Not because of his unique voice, that was fine, but more because he didn’t do nearly as much growing as Tiffy. He was kind and understanding when her PTSD flared up, but for a good portion of the novel he’s too afraid to meet Tiffy in real life. Like, actively avoids her when they should have been meeting, and then he believes the worst of her when he sees something out of context.

I know people’s past hurts can taint how they treat people moving forward, but Tiffy was doing most of the heavy lifting in the relationship. I wish it had been a bit more even.

But even that one complaint isn’t enough to keep me from wholeheartedly recommending this book! I can’t wait to see what else O’Leary writes. It was sweet and thoughtful and it delivered what it promised it would. What more could you want?

I hadn’t read a modern romance fiction until about a year ago with The Proposal. While they’re not my new favorite genre of all time, I’m glad that I shed my preconceived notions and picked one up. Not that I thought they were lesser or bad, but I didn’t think I’d like anything that didn’t have a thrilling, mysterious, twisty plot.

So this is me, encouraging y’all to read outside your bubble. Doesn’t have to be all the time, but even the occasional read can broaden your horizons.