Ginger Holtzman has fought for everything she’s ever had—the success of her tattoo shop, respect in the industry, her upcoming art show. Tough and independent, she has taking-no-crap down to an art form. Good thing too, since keeping her shop afloat, taking care of her friends, and scrambling to finish her paintings doesn’t leave time for anything else. Which … is for the best, because then she doesn’t notice how lonely she is. She’ll get through it all on her own, just like she always does.
Christopher Lucen opened a coffee and sandwich joint in South Philly because he wanted to be part of a community after years of running from place to place, searching for something he could never quite name. Now, he relishes the familiarity of knowing what his customers want, and giving it to them. But what he really wants now is love.
When they meet, Christopher is smitten, but Ginger … isn’t quite so sure. Christopher’s gorgeous, and kind, and their opposites-attract chemistry is off the charts. But hot sex is one thing—truly falling for someone? Terrifying. When her world starts to crumble around her, Ginger has to face the fact that this fight can only be won by being vulnerable—this fight, she can’t win on her own.
(Small Change is the first book in a series that will include M/F and M/M romances.)
*I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review*
I’ve been waiting for Ginger’s book since the first installment of Parrish’s Middle of Somewhere series. Parrish is an absolute must-read author for me. Small Change is yet another example of a book rooted in excellent character work and wonderful prose.
Small Change is structured in a way that reminds me of Parrish’s Where We Left Off: it doesn’t completely follow genre conventions for romance novels. While this difference was very clear in Where We Left Off, it’s more subtle in Small Change, and harder to articulate. Perhaps because while the romance aspect was wonderful, the story felt centered and really focused on Ginger’s growth and journey. I couldn’t call this a coming of age story (due to Ginger’s age), but in many ways it was.
This is something I deeply appreciate: in real life, my experience has been that many people (myself included) did a lot of personal growing in my mid to late twenties. I don’t know that I read novels often where a character has that kind of development, treated honestly and with great care. Parrish does this in her novels, particularly here.
Ginger is messy, firey, driven and vulnerable. Getting to know her internally was a gift, after seeing her through Daniel’s eyes in previous books. Parrish’s treatment of her was intimate and nuanced.
The chemistry between Ginger and Christopher was off the charts. I really, viscerally felt the pull between them. Christopher’s self-assurance and confidence was attractive and well written. The unconventional choice to include his point of view through letters to his brother was both welcome and well done. I spent the first half of the book dying to know what was happening in Christopher’s life, with his brother Jude, and waiting for the moment when Christopher would let Ginger see this aspect of his life. I appreciated that Christopher genuinely seemed comfortable with himself but also had this layer of complexity.
I recommend this book whole-heartedly and am hoping with all fingers and toes crossed for Jude’s story (and not just because he shares a name with me!)
Jude Sierra is a Latinx poet, author, academic and mother who began her writing career at the age of eight when she immortalized her summer vacation with ten entries in a row that read “pool+tv”. Jude began writing long-form fiction by tackling her first National Novel Writing Month project in 2007.
Jude is currently working toward her PhD in Writing and Rhetoric, looking at the intersections of Queer, Feminist and Pop Culture Studies. She also works as an LGBTQAI+ book reviewer for From Top to Bottom Reviews. Her novels include Hush, What it Takes, and Idlewild, a contemporary LGBT romance set in Detroit’s renaissance, which was named a Best Book of 2016 by Kirkus Reviews. Her upcoming novel, A Tiny Piece of Something Greater will be available in May of 2018.