In a World Just Right - Jen Brooks

Sometimes Jonathan Aubrey wishes he could just disappear. And as luck—or fate—would have it, he can. Ever since coming out of a coma as a kid, he has been able to create alternate worlds. Worlds where he is a superhero, or a ladies’ man, or simply a better version of himself. That’s the world he’s been escaping to most since sophomore year, a world where he has everything he doesn’t have in real life: friends, a place of honor on the track team, passing grades, and most importantly, Kylie Simms as his girlfriend.
But when Jonathan confuses his worlds senior year and tries to kiss the real Kylie Simms, everything unravels. The real Kylie actually notices Jonathan…and begins obsessing over him. The fantasy version of Kylie struggles to love Jonathan as she was created to do, and the consequences are disastrous. As his worlds collide, Jonathan must confront the truth of his power and figure out where he actually belongs—before he loses both Kylies forever.

 

I am mind blown. I am shocked. I am reeling. My heart is in shreds. This book has left me speechless. This is a gorgeous, gorgeous book. I never five star books, but gosh darn it, this book deserves all the stars.

 

This book felt like a pretty simple romance. It had a new and novel concept, sure, but at heart it was a romance. And then I hit around page 350 and Brooks threw in a curve ball that I had barely suspected and this became so much more than just a romance. This book made me contemplate in a gorgeous way.

 

The best books have characters one can relate to; that's established. But Jonathan exceeded this. In third grade, he lost his family and barely survived a drastic plane crash. He's been affected ever since, even though he doesn't outright talk about it often. The realization he comes to close to the end shows how much that one event has had a lasting impact on him that it might not necessarily have needed to. I want to be this kid's friend. I want to make it better for him. I want him to make a world with me in it so that I can interact with him and just make things better. He's a genuinely good guy.

And then there's the ending. Ugh.

 

I didn't really relate to Kylie, but she was multifaceted and in this regard, very intriguing. I loved seeing how she changed between worlds based on Jonathan's perceptions of her and how she really was, and ultimately, why she stayed a presence with him and why he didn't get bored of her.

 

At the same time, seeing his separate relationships with her made me shiver. In one world, they've been inseparable practically forever, and in another, they barely make eye contact. Seeing one of these relationships deteriorate while the other grows was both wrenching and fascinating.

 

Small details make my whole heart clench with their perfection. Details like Jonathan's uncle. How. Why. So, so perfect. Brooks managed to slip details in without me noticing until they played their roles. The blue-eyed woman and the girl with the pink sweater additionally were set up very authentically.

 

The ending may have made me sob, but it was absolutely perfect.

 

I'm definitely looking out for Brooks's next book. Is it out yet? How about now? You should definitely read this book to gain a little hope for humanity.