The Thing About Tilly – G. Benson

Rating: 5 out of 5.
I haven’t had the opportunity to read a Benson full-length until this one, and I’m really really glad I started here. This has firmly planted itself as one of my top three books of the year. It was slower, deeper and far more powerful than I was expecting. I couldn’t put it down because of how I felt about the book.

Tilly, Evie and Sean have been friends since university. They’ve stayed close for over ten years. Tilly’s a runner, not an actual athlete, someone who runs from her emotions. Evie and Tilly both have unrequited feelings for each other, but never talk about it. When Tilly disappears after a fight between the two of them, Evie unexpectedly falls pregnant. The world Tilly returns to will never quite be the same again.

I loved the narrative and the construction of the storyline. I enjoyed how the change in point of view included Sean, and that it wasn’t just about Tilly and Evie. The additional viewpoint Sean provides on how the pair have grown together over the years and the impacts of each episode of Tilly leaving, adds both empathy and understanding for both Tilly and Evie.

I don’t want to reveal the underlying narrative or the issues the characters face, because a big part of the enjoyment for me was the discovery. I spent a lot of time guessing in my head trying to work this out and I couldn’t, adding to my enjoyment levels further. The book is long, but I never felt bored with the story. Every chapter was needed to paint the picture of day to day life and the impact of Evie being pregnant on her friendship with Tilly.

The diversity in this book is fantastic. I felt at home with this small group of queer friends, one bi, one pan, one genderqueer and aromantic. Evie and Sean aren’t white. One of my favourite parts of the diversity is how it’s just normal in their world. They are descriptors of the characters, but not the most important thing about any of them in the narrative. There are small things dotted throughout the book to illustrate heritage, respectfulness and identity.

The secondary characters are great. I loved Evie’s mother. The people that Evie works with all come alive on the page despite their brief interludes. I also loved that this book was set in Australia. It provided a refreshing setting that just felt right.

It’s safe to say I would highly recommend this to all queer romance fans. You’ll need to put some time aside, but it’ll make every minute worth it.

I received an e-ARC directly from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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