For me, this book was like sinking into a deep, bubble-filled bath: soothing and restful and warming me right through to my soul. I’m a huge fan of this author’s writing, which possesses a humour and sensitivity that never fails to draw me in, and so it was no surprise whatsoever that I found myself instantly engrossed in these characters and their interweaving stories.

One of the aspects I especially enjoyed about this novel, as with much of Debbie McGowan’s work, was its everyday nature. There’s no over-the-top drama or far-fetched plot twists. Everything that happens, from the pressure of university studies to first kisses in the rain, is wholly true to life—so much so that it’s easy to imagine these people really do exist and are leading their lives somewhere out there.

The thing I loved most about this book, however, was the characters. Neither Jesse nor Leigh is what you might call your typical romantic protagonist, both highly individual, and yet each battling their own demons and self-doubt. This made them incredibly human and impossible for me not to relate to, despite never having had to contend with their particular struggles.

First, there’s Jesse—shy, awkward, bit of a geek, and, after years of bullying and snide comments, crippled with low self-esteem over his weight. He has never had a girlfriend, and believing himself to be straight, hasn’t entertained the notion of a boyfriend. When he meets Leigh, Jesse discovers he isn’t as straight as he always assumed, and with the help of this beautiful, vivacious individual, grapples to make peace with his size.

Then there’s Leigh, with their colourful clothes and dyed hair, who despite being outwardly gregarious and confident, has their own insecurities. Leigh is intersex and identifies as genderqueer, as well as having complex health issues, and so has endured many humiliating sessions with medical staff. Still, aided by Jesse’s kindness and obvious desire for them, Leigh grows more comfortable with their body.

This is a heart-warming story about learning to accept yourself for who you are and realising you’re capable of more than you ever dreamed possible. Most of all, it’s about finding your soulmate, that special someone who completes and supports you, giving you the courage to be everything you can be, and who you can do the same for in return. I absolutely adored it!

About the Book

Blurb

TheMakingOfUs

When English Lit. student Jesse Thomas meets Leigh Hunter, he has to reconsider a few assumptions he’s made about himself.

Two years ago, Jesse joined Pride – the uni’s LGBT+ society – to support best friend Noah, and Noah’s boyfriend, Matty. As a straight, cismale ally, Jesse keeps a low profile – not difficult for someone as shy and body-conscious as he is.

Leigh Hunter is Noah and Matty’s new housemate. Born with a life-threatening congenital condition, Leigh is intersex and identifies as queer – none of which alters Jesse’s conviction that they are the most beautiful person in the world.

While Jesse and Leigh get to know each other, a new academic year begins in earnest, bringing with it the usual challenge of balancing work and play. Add in a week’s holiday in Cornwall that Jesse and Leigh half-wish they hadn’t agreed to, Jesse’s unplanned involvement in the election of Pride’s new officers, and some big decisions for Noah and Matty, it’s going to be an interesting semester all round.

Buy Links

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Beaten Track Publishing

Giveaway

I have an e-copy of The Making of Us by Debbie McGowan to give away to one lucky winner. For your chance to win, simply enter via the Rafflecopter below. The contest closes at midnight EST on August 12 and is open to entrants worldwide.

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