When I’m With You by Monica McCallan

When I'm With You
Published: 6/6/21

Brooke Nicholas has gotten under Kennedy Ryan’s skin since the moment they met two and a half years ago. Kennedy became friends with Brooke’s roommates Julia and Hannah their junior year of college and has no idea what the two see in Brooke. When Brooke and Kennedy get stranded in a cabin during a snowstorm without their friends to run interference Kennedy begins to see how wrong she’s been.

Kennedy is responsible, she always has a plan, she’s reserved. Brooke is undependable, unpredictable and never has a plan. Or at least, that’s how Kennedy has always seen her. During the time they have alone at the cabin Kennedy talks about her big family of six brothers and sisters. When Brooke reveals that she’s on her own Kennedy begins to see Brooke in a new light and regrets having judged her so harshly.

After returning home Brooke goes with Kennedy to her parents for Christmas Eve dinner. Kennedy’s family welcomes Brooke and makes her long for what she only had briefly when she lived with her grandparents, a family to love and support her. Brooke and Kennedy’s friendship continues to flourish. Brooke finds an abandoned puppy and they become co-parents. They spend evenings together watching tv cuddling up with Frankie, text each other at work and think about each other when they aren’t together. Brooke realizes first that her feelings have moved beyond friendship but Kennedy isn’t far behind. However, both are scared to lose the friendship that has come to mean so much to both of them and neither wants to be the first to confess their feelings.

I am a big fan of Monica McCallan’s books and this one is now my favorite. I love Brooke and just want to snuggle her and tell her how wonderful she is despite losing big in the mother department. Brooke is one of those people who brightens a room just by entering it, she talks to strangers on the sidewalk, rescues puppies and always puts others before herself. Add that she knows her wine and even knows when Julia’s fish Simon’s food is on sale and she is really the perfect woman. Her childhood looms large in her interactions despite her cheery disposition. She doesn’t let too many people get to know who she is beneath the outgoing, fun persona she projects. She expects people to let her down so when she lets Kennedy in, it means even more.

Kennedy’s outright dismissal of Brooke’s value as a person stems from her own issues and nothing that Brooke is responsible for. Kennedy is the oldest child in her family and has always been overwhelmed with the chaos that is her family. Brooke represented more chaos and she automatically dismissed her as someone she wanted to spend time with. It wasn’t until she realized that Brooke didn’t have a family that she began to see how important Brooke’s relationships with Hannah and Julia are and how they are her chosen family and she wants to be a safe space for Brooke as well.

Kennedy had always thought that her and Brooke were polar opposites but as Hannah states they really aren’t. “You two seem different, but you’re really the same. You keep everyone at arms length, but you’re really a big softie on the inside. And Brooke’s the same, just inverted. She’s open and approachable and always has a kind word for a stranger.”  When Kennedy opens her mind and heart to Brooke she sees how badly she misjudged her and how she was always meant to be her person.

This book has sweetness, angst (because Monica’s books always bring the angst), laughter, love and wonderful supporting characters. I highly recommend it and dare you not to fall in love with Brooke and Kennedy.

Favorite Quotes: “She wanted whatever that thing was that made you search a person’s face for meaning or to find reasons to touch them. A hand of the back through a narrow exit. A quick tap on their wrist to get their attention in a loud space. The gentle brush against each other’s shoulders while you moved to the music.”

“Hey Elsa! You want to help me with these bags, or are you going to spend all day dreamily floating through winter wonderland.”

“The icing on the cake was being stuck with freaking Brooke Nicholas, fairy nymph and sprite of exuberance and extroversion.”

“I’d tell him to get bent, but his head’s already so far up his own ass he’s a perfect circle.”


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